Christmas bookings … in August

With just 19 weeks to go, over half of the self-catering properties using SuperControl have a booking for the festive season (53%). This is up from 32% at the same time last year. It’s now that the number of bookings for Christmas and New Year start to really climb. As guests up their game in the search for the perfect yuletide break,  here are three quick wins that will help you maximise revenue this Christmas (and next).

1. Add your booking prices for Christmas and New Year

If you haven’t already added your prices for bookings over Christmas and New Year 2019, there’s still time.  The initial peak for bookings for the festive season happens around one year ahead (length of stay is often one or two full weeks). However a second climb in bookings begins around 20 weeks before Christmas, peaking between 4-8 weeks before arrival date, these are often for shorter breaks of 4 to 5 days. If you haven’t added your prices, guests won’t be able to book – this includes any listings you have on Booking.com, Airbnb and any other OTAs.

SuperControl stats: self-catering festive booking lead times

In SuperControl you can use Special pricing (this includes creating custom arrival and departure days) for a specific length of time without the need to amend the main settings of your price planner.

Tip: Create an alert to add in prices for Christmas and New Year 2020 towards the end of November this year (2019) in readiness for the first peak of festive bookings that come in one year in advance.

2. Be flexible

Christmas Eve falls on a Tuesday this year, so people booking shorter stays might want to arrive on Monday or even Tuesday. If you have the resources to open up your start days and be more flexible with length of stays – even if it’s just for the festive season – this will remove a potential booking barrier. (See the Special prices link above).

Whilst a full week is the most popular length of stay for bookings over Christmas and New Year, three to four nights are also in demand. Looking at festive bookings received in previous years, we can expect to see more bookings for short breaks come through in the lead up to Christmas.

SuperControl's self-catering booking patterns over the festive season

3. Tell everyone how you exceed expectations

When guests are looking for a self-catering property to book for Christmas and New Year, they will want to know what you have got covered. So communicate how staying at your cottage/apartment/barge etc will help make their celebrations extra special – on social media, by email or a blog on your website.

  • How do you decorate your holiday let? Use lots of photos to show guests how your holiday rental will look.
  • Can guests bring their own decorations?
  • Will you take delivery of parcels on your guests’ behalf ahead of the booking? Guests can then order presents for each other online.
  • Provide contact information for local suppliers so they can pre-order a turkey, veg box etc.
  • What about tableware? What do you provide that makes a stay at Christmas extra special?
  • Promote local restaurants, pubs, bistros that are open over the festive season. What are their opening hours and contact details? Is there an opportunity for some reciprocal marketing?
  • What festivities are happening in your area? Midnight mass? Boxing Day swim? Christmas markets?
  • What productions are your local theatre putting on? Families love a good panto.

So it’s time to get festive! Put on some carols, have a mince pie and get your Christmas vibe on … even though it’s only August.

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