How do clients search on Booking.com?
- How do clients search for accommodations on Booking.com and how can you oblige them?
Hotel operators who are able to think like guests are more successful. Sometimes it’s difficult to find an intersection between your own interests, which is the highest possible income, and the client’s intention of finding the best and cheapest accommodations in as interesting a location as possible. How and according to what criteria do clients search for accommodations? What can you do to accommodate their requirements? How can you change the parameters of your profile so that the information it contains matches the wishes of as many clients as possible? These are questions that are good to ponder if you want to be a successful accommodations provider on Booking.com.
Every client of course has their own search method based on their individual preferences and habits, but the most frequent answer to “How do you search for accommodations?” would be the following:
I go to one of the largest accommodations search engines in the world: booking.com. Not because I know it’s the largest, but simply because it jumps out at me on the internet as the first option. It has a table where I fill in basic information about where and when I want to go, and how many of us there will be. I will then see a huge number of hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and so on. I never look through this page. I know that it contains hotels that pay for ads, or perhaps I suspect that it’s not that easy and that the best offer won’t jump out at me just like that – I have to do a bit of digging. On the left side of the screen I’ll set the filter to show me accommodations according to their ranking, the higher the better, ideally above 9. While I’m at it, I’ll set a price filter to show me lower-priced rooms – why spend more than I need to? Finally I’ll also rank then according to distance from the city centre. Only now will I start to look at individual facilities. Usually I’ll click through several pages, look at the name of the facility, photos, reviews, here and there I’ll open a new window with something I like. I will then look at the facilities that I found interesting more closely. I’ll look at recent reviews, especially if the hotel staff is rated as being accommodating, whether the hotel is clean, where there are good restaurants or points of interest nearby, and so on. I’ll look at photos of the rooms and the entire hotel. Sometimes I’ll look at the hotel’s website to see if there is more information, plus the quality of its website will tell me something about the hotel and its management. Usually I’ll end up with a few facilities to choose from – by this time quite practically according to price, distance from where I want to be in that city, or a hard-to-describe feeling that this is the right facility for me.
Now let’s look at what this means for us as accommodation providers. Location isn’t something we can do much about, but even here every advantage has an accompanying disadvantage and vice versa. For example – “far from the city centre” can mean that he client will be somewhat out of the exciting hustle and bustle of the city, but at the same time it can mean more peace and quiet, being closer to nature, or with better access to places off the beaten path.
But perhaps the most important factor for selling on Booking.com (and other channels) are reviews. Even the most remote little hotel can be very attractive due to helpful and nice receptionists who are willing and able to advise and lend a helping hand where the client either doesn’t want to or can’t help himself or herself, be it tickets to the opera, reserving a table at a restaurant, or booking a taxi to the airport.
It’s said that cleanliness is half of keeping healthy. In the case of a hotel, cleanliness is half of good reviews. If a client enters a room and sees faded and dirty drapes, peeling walls, or threadbare bedding, their first impression will certainly not be a positive one. After that it will be quite hard to explain that everything is actually clean. It is necessary to pay attention to and if possible prevent such moments that can have a negative impact on your facility’s reviews.
Equally important are the photos you use to promote your facility and a good description of it and its vicinity. In general, any service that the client will perceive as “something extra” can really pay off for you. In today’s world, when people buy even milk and bread over the internet, how you promote your hotel on your website and on sales channels is key.
Another factor that you can influence is price. It’s good for your facility to have something extra in comparison with others in its class. Most clients are glad to pay an extra five euros a night if there’s something they really like about the accommodations. But if your price is the highest among all facilities of the same class without any added value, a guest who searches carefully will likely not choose you. It is therefore important to calculate the optimum price while thinking about how to entice guests. How are you different from other operators who offer comparable services? Can you offer something they can’t?
In closing, we can summarize the above as follows: Diligence in managing accounts on individual channels and an honest concern for your clients will doubtlessly pay off a hundred times over. So think about whether it’s worth paying Booking.com a larger commission for a higher position in search results if clients basically ignore this.
Summary (What to Focus on When It Comes to Booking.com)
Time spent managing profiles and updating them regularly will pay off, both in the form of making it easier for clients to find you and because guests will really get what they expect.
Often it’s the details that make a client decide between you and your competition. Your facility should have “spirit” – something that will be a pleasant surprise for guests and that not everyone offers.
Give time and attention to guest reviews. They affect selection and provide valuable feedback as to where to focus your attention.
Paying Booking.com for “topping”, meaning paying them a higher commission for higher search ranking for your facility seems like the way to go, but rarely pays off.
Photos are critical. They should be professional and enticing, but shouldn’t elicit false expectations so that guests aren’t then disappointed.
Your facility’s immediate vicinity is part of the “experience” that you’re selling. Think carefully about its advantages and include them in your marketing strategy.