Everyone knows Booking.com, but do you really make the use of it in the best way and take advantage of it?

NB: This is an article by Maura Marfoglia, Revenue Specialist at Hotelperformance

Almost of properties in the world are live in this channel, and for sure the potential customers which is able to reach is greater than that of the most performing websites: not only the traffic generated directly by booking.com itself, but also that coming from the hotel’s official website thanks to the visibility that B.com offers.

A well-known study of The Cornell University examined online pre-purchase research of consumers and it found that 75% of consumers visited an OTA before booking the hotel directly (Billboard Effect). OTAs visibility has an important effect on direct sales, increasing bookings from the booking engine, e-mail and telephone requests.

Therefore, it is evident the importance to exploit one of the best known and most used channels in the world, but it’ s not enough! It is necessary working to emerge.

Booking.com itself offers some useful tools in this regard. In fact, accessing into his back office, you can activate Programs to increase the ranking in the public page. Higher the ranking, easier is to be found by users in search results.

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The first of these tools is the Preferred Partner Program, which all property can quickly and easily sign up for. Program members receive 65% more views and up to 40% bookings more. To join the Program is necessary to guarantee two quality criteria at least:

– to be part of the 30% of the accommodations that have the best performance on the destination (indicator calculated by Booking.com). The Sales Performance Score is based on several factors including the percentage of commission paid, the availability of the rooms that are loaded on the channel, the ratio of the number of bookings to the number of pages viewed and the percentage of cancellations.

– The review score must be 7 out of 10 at least

Hotels that become Preferred Partner will be marked with a symbol, the famous thumbs up, which will guarantee an extra value and more visibility. Hotels have to pay 18% commission; if the contract already includes this commission, nothing will change.

The second tool that increases ranking is the Visibility Booster. It means an increase of the commission percentage for specific periods or for specific countries. This increase in commission involves an immediate climb in ranking compared to accommodations which have a standard commission. The higher the overcommission, the more you will gain visibility and positioning on Booking.com.

It is always important to check data and know the performance of your accommodation to decide in which period is necessary to increase occupancy and if towards a specific market, without risking to offer a higher commission for a period in which there would still be demand (e.g. high season, during the weekend if you are a leisure accommodation etc.). Use it with great caution and in a very targeted way!

The third tool that improves vertical visibility on Booking.com is Genius Program. Also in this case a minimum quality standard is required: the review score must be 7.5 out of 10 at least. The Program is primarily aimed at loyal customers of the channel: level 1 Genius customers, are those who have booked and stayed with Booking.com at least twice a year and level 2 Genius customers, who have booked and stayed at least 5 times in a year. The condition to join the program is a minimum discount of 10% aimed at this type of customers; Booking in return will guarantee you more visibility in the search results marking with a logo that is clearly visible and recognizable by Genius customers. Properties that become Genius get 40% more views and 18% more bookings.

The Program will automatically activate on the cheapest and best-selling room type and this system preselection cannot be changed. It will be possible to add other room types in according to your needs. It’s necessary to analyze each type of room to identify the room that needs to improve its occupancy rate: for example the more expensive room type during the low season or the room which have usually a low occupancy rate. It will be possible to exclude or include the rooms at any time, while the pre-selected room types remain active for the entire duration of Genius Program, that is, until it is deactivated.

Most hotels and destinations are live on Booking.com; this mean high competition. For this reason, it’s crucial to know and use the tools that the same channel provides in a conscious and reasoned way. The first step is the analysis of their performance data, the choice of room types to sell through the channel. The second step involves the right choose of tools to optimize visibility and occupancy rate.

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