The rise of last minute booking sites in the accommodation industry has been both a boon and a bust for some accommodation businesses. While there are certain sectors of the industry that may get an increase in revenue from these sites, that isn’t the case for the entire industry. In the same way that discounting your rooms or sites can cheapen your business and damage your brand over time, so too can jumping onto fads that sweep the industry. Last minute booking sites might not be an effective permanent strategy to adopt unless you have a specific clientele that already comes to your business or is a worthy investment to increase revenue.
So, who do these types of sites benefit, and which clients can you attract?
The main benefactor from these sites are clients. But they only benefit a certain type of client. The reality for most accommodation businesses is that they are destination-based, meaning that you will be attracting clients who are going on a holiday. This group of clients, who make up most of your revenue, don’t plan things at the last minute. Sure, there will be some instances when double booking occurs or a when a client needs to find something close and fast, but focusing your business model on these types of clients is not a great financial decision for most accommodation owners. The nature of a vacationing client is that they would have planned their stay and shopped around for their accommodation long in advance. If these are your bread and butter, then you’ll want to avoid last-minute booking sites.
If you have an accommodation business that is closer to a city and you attract a mixture of short and medium-term stays, last minute booking websites may be something that you want to consider. Checking your past occupancy volumes and mapping your peak and off-peak times, you may find you can increase overnight stays by listing your business in and around periods that coincide with public holidays or school holidays. This could lead to an increase in bookings due to people making last-minute decisions on a quick holiday away. If your occupancy rates weren’t where you wanted to lead into these periods, then listing on last minute booking sites could be a handy booster to your revenue.
The largest users of last minute booking sites are business travellers. If you currently receive a fair amount of business clients and want a way to increase them, then last minute booking sites may just be for you. Of course, doing your research with the current client base and seeing how they find your accommodation business would be wise before taking the plunge.
Last minute booking sites are far more oriented towards the last minute or emergency based traveller than anything else. Picking these clients up will bring in revenue, though it would only be a trickle and should just be used on an ad-hoc basis for most accommodation business owners.