Last year one booking every minute was processed through SuperControl, providing holidays for more than two million guests. At the end of March 2018, this year’s booking total is already more than £192m.
We constantly check our data to monitor booking behaviour and identify self-catering trends, so we can share advice and best practice tips with the SuperControl community and the wider industry. Here’s what has caught our attention recently.
1. Booking patterns
We know that the majority of guests leave it till last-minute to book; year-after-year almost a third of all bookings have a lead time of 28 days or less (approx 30% every year since 2014). But, last year 11% had a lead-time of nine months or more. So if you aren’t already in the habit of adding your prices in advance, you’re missing out. If guests are booking nine months or more ahead, remember they are doing their research before that. Your properties will not show in searches if you haven’t entered your prices for the date range that someone is looking for. Take a look at our smarter pricing article for some tips to get your started.
Over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of bookings received at least 12 months before the holiday start date. The first quarter of 2018 is continuing that trend:
2. Short breaks
The number of holiday rental bookings for short-breaks continues to increase. In 2017 two-thirds of bookings (64%) were for stays of between one and six nights and the average length of stay last year was 5.2 nights. Year after year, this is following the same pattern. It’s a trend that isn’t going away. In SuperControl you can even automatically schedule short breaks for late availablity
3. Start days
The popularity of short breaks naturally leads to increasing demand for flexible start days. In 2017, 59% of bookings started on a Friday or Saturday – a slight drop from 61% the previous year. This means that almost half of the bookings that came through SuperControl last year didn’t begin on the traditional start day. We always advise clients to open up more start days and be as flexible as possible, even that’s just for some months of the year.
4. Upselling with options and extras
In 2017 just one-third of bookings included an option or extra; so there is a massive opportunity to boost your profits whilst going the extra mile to enhance your guests’ experience.
I’m not talking cots and high chairs – if your guests are predominantly young families, these essentials should be factored into the price of the holiday anyway. Be creative. From a private chef to boat hire, to dance classes, spa packages or a vintage tea party – the list is endless. Profile your guests, who stays in your holiday rental? What does that group of people typically like to do? Then liaise with local businesses to offer your guests everything they want and more. What discounts or commissions can those businesses offer you? You could sell admission tickets, bike hire etc. All of these suggestions can be added as a Booking option, so everything your guests need to put together their perfect holiday is in one place. Here’s how to do it.
It’s an encouraging start to 2018. Almost half (48.5%) of the bookings received to date have included extras or options. Fingers crossed, this figure will continue to grow.
5. Optimised pricing
The good news is that last year less than one in ten of the holiday rental bookings that came through SuperControl were sold at discounted prices. The first quarter of 2018 is exactly the same, 91% of holidays have been sold at full price.
Price optimisation is all about getting the best price possible for each and every booking, not having to resort to slashing prices to fill your availability calendars. Similarly, if your calendars are consistently filling up quickly your prices may be too low. As well as researching your competitors – by region, like-for-like etc., there are tools available to help you get your prices right.
SuperControl links with Price Labs whose data-driven pricing approach provides you with the best rate possible for every night. Plus, with Google Analytics you can track booking and enquiry activity to identify when demand is high (and when people are searching for those dates) to help you set your pricing.