What is Booking.com?
Booking.com is one of the most widely-known travel accommodation sites in the travel industry today. It’s an Online Travel Agency (or OTA) that connects travelers with vacation rental owners through online bookings. Much like the popular listing sites Airbnb, TripAdvisor, AllTheRooms, and VRBO, Booking.com aggregates available vacation rentals homes, apartments, and hotels all around the globe and presents users with thousands of options to book. Users can also book flights, car rentals, and airport taxis all through Booking.com’s user-friendly platform.
Why choose Booking.com?
By listing on Booking.com, you gain access to a massive audience of travelers searching for rental homes every day. The rental site has a growing list of properties in 228 countries and is universally available in 40 different languages. It receives 4.5 million bookings each week and a whopping 1.2 million room nights reserved daily. But there’s even more to gain than their impressive audience of daily users and booking rate:
Autonomy: Property owners and managers have full control over their listings on Booking.com. This means you can set your availability, prices, guest requirements, home rules, check-in and check-out times, and more.
Support: Booking.com offers 24/7 customer support and damage control. Property owners and managers can request damage deposits from guests to ensure their properties are protected. If anything goes wrong, Booking.com has you covered with 24/7 guest misconduct reporting.
Marketing & Promotion: Booking.com has built-in marketing features that help expand your online visibility. Booking.com actively promotes your listing across search engines around the globe, including Google Maps. Booking.com partners with airlines and media influencers to advertise your business and brand all over the web.
Payment Options: You have more than one payment option through Booking.com. Charge per guest, per night, or length of stay. Choose which option works best for your rental properties.
Freedom: There are no long-term contracts with Booking.com. You can leave the site whenever or if ever you choose to do so without the lingering burden of a pesky contract.
Sounds pretty great so far, right? There is a lot to love about Booking.com, but, as with any business decision, it’s worth knowing every angle before diving right in.
What are some things to consider?
Before you start advertising on Booking.com, you need to decide whether or not the listing site is right for you and your properties. Though it is one of the most popular listing sites currently available, there are some things to consider and familiarize yourself with before listing your properties on Booking.com:
Booking.com is an instant booking site. This means you have to accept all bookings made through the site. However, you are able to set certain guest requirements beforehand so as to have some control over who rents out your home.
Booking.com charges you (the property owner, manager, or whoever is the Key Account Manager for the listing) a 10-15% fee per completed booking. This fee is automatically charged at check-out. The plus side is that guests do not encounter additional fees at check-out. Guests pay what they see on the listing. Other major rental platforms, like Airbnb, charge the guests a booking fee at check-out.
Booking.com does not offer a built-in channel manager. A channel manager is a service provider that links your property management system (PMS) to listing sites. This allows for automatic pricing, availability updates, and real-time reservation management across all of your properties. (Check out Booking.com’s step-by-step guide on how to integrate a channel manager with the site).
Booking.com can pay you either through virtual credit card or bank transfer. It also accepts alternative payment solutions like PayPal, Alipay, and WeChat Pay.
After you sign-up with Booking.com, a team assesses your property and listing details. They’re looking for the number of bedrooms (which must have proper bedding in order to be considered legitimate bedrooms), the number of bathrooms, at least ten quality photos (avoid watermarks and logos), a cancellation policy, enough availability, a list of amenities, accurate descriptions, and set check-in and check-out times. You want to make sure your listing gets approved in order to be advertised through the site.
Before your listing goes live on the site, you need to verify your property’s location. The verification process takes about three weeks. Booking.com mails property owners or managers a verification code which account managers then enter into their account.
After you’ve familiarized yourself with Booking.com’s modus operandi, it’s time to start listing your properties and getting your brand out there.
How to start:
Getting started on Booking.com is simpler than ever thanks to their user-friendly guide. Here’s how to get started:
- Create an account.
- Select what kind of property or properties you want to list (i.e. homes, hotels, B&Bs, or alternative spaces). They also offer a quick-start option for listing one entire apartment.
- Choose between listing the entire home or listing private rooms.
- Choose between listing one or multiple rental homes and fill in the necessary addresses.
- Fill in the general settings and provide general information about your business.
After registration, you can set up your properties’ listing page. This includes writing a catchy title, assembling quality photos, listing amenities and attractions, writing concise descriptions, setting up your availability schedule, putting together house rules, and establishing check-in and check-out times. With the site’s aforementioned requirements in mind, make sure your listing site is as accurate as possible and showcases your rental home’s shining qualities.
Marketing tips for Booking.com:
Once your listing is approved and live on the site, you want to maximize your visibility and increase the likelihood of getting booked. Here are some marketing tips to best advertise your space on Booking.com:
– Put Your Best Brand Forward: If you haven’t already, it’s important to build your own brand as a vacation rental owner in the travel industry. This includes defining your brand experience. What do your rental homes have to offer? Do you offer beach resorts perfect for honeymooners or lovebirds? Are you a luxury or an affordable option? Is your home better suited for families, solo travelers, or group partiers? These are all things to consider when establishing your specific presence in the vacation rental market.
– Lighting: Lighting makes a huge difference in photographs. Make sure your home is well-lit when you’re taking the photos for your listing page. (Though make sure the lighting remains consistent for guests arriving). Good lighting makes your home look more open and clean.
– Communicate with Guests: Booking.com offers a built-in communication platform for property owners and managers to directly get in touch with all types of guests. Use this feature! A high response rate is a telling sign that you are an involved, engaged, and accessible host. Keep the communication going throughout your guests’ stay as well; respond to their questions and concerns in real-time and easily recommend local hotspots and hidden gems. Build your relationship with your guests and ensure positive reviews. Reviews and ratings get displayed on your Booking.com listing page, so do what you can to make sure guests leave your place happy and satisfied with their stay.
Booking.com is an excellent resource for getting your rental listings out there for all to see. Increase your online visibility and benefit from Booking.com’s trusted name, quality support, massive viewership, and built-in marketing features.