We were very fortunate to have Harriet Christie from LateRooms come down to eviivo headquarters to give us some top tips on how to scoop up those last minute bookings and to catch us up on what’s new with them.
What do you think is most important to attract last minute guests?
Firstly it would be rates. 30% of our customers book on the day for the day, so with 30% of people on our site arriving that night there is a massive opportunity. And across the board 60% are arriving within 7 days. This really complements the other competitors like Expedia and Booking.com that properties also work with, because they’re great at getting those longer leads in, and we can fill those last minute gaps. So your rates needs to be in line with the market for that week to make sure that you you stand out. Obviously you need to cover your costs but you can’t fill that room once that nights gone, so you need to ensure that it has enough incentive that customers want to book it. They’ll make their decision whether or not they are going to book that property quickly from the search result, so look at your rates and try and get as in line as possible for that evening within the market.
The next one is minimum length of stay. A lot of properties have restrictions, particularly across weekends, which is fair enough but if there is one evening that you’re absolutely not going to fill, you should absolutely reduce the minimum length of stay. We do have the demand for these one-night bookers.
And finally our advice is cancellations. If there are quite restrictive policies, deposits and tiered cancellations, that can be a deal breaker for some customers. Also if they have to pay in advance as if they are booking for that week they are pretty much guaranteed to tun up, so maybe try and relax that if you can.
Additionally, your content need to be great, have tip top images, informative descriptions including information on what to do in the area.
What can you tell us about what’s new at LateRooms?
Well we are always busy doing various research to make sure that we get the best bookers in for our properties. But the most recent stuff we’ve done is reached out to 3,000 users of travel websites to get their feedback on what they thought of travel websites, what they thought was missing and what they wanted more of from us. The overwhelming feedback was that after booking they felt a little bit left on their own and they needed more information on the destinations. They have booked a stay somewhere, and we’ve booked it for them, they’ve got their property, but then we say good luck and enjoy your stay, when actually now we need to gather more information on what to do there. So now we’re launching the first phase of it in Manchester, because we’ve got a lot of experience there mostly due to the fact that LateRooms is based there. So we’ve gone out to our employees and asked them ‘what is so great about Manchester, what would you recommend, where is a bit different?’ We’ve collated all of that information and we’ve created a static page, so now when customers come through to our website and booked, we send them a link telling them what they can do in that destination.