Constantly changing lockdown restrictions have created uncertainty relating to advance travel planning. This is driving a trend of shorter reservation lead times and a flurry of last minute bookings across all travel and hospitality sectors. Social media contributes to this last-minute booking phenomenon, as it inspires people to see new places and do new things, often on impulse. It is also easier than ever to make travel bookings using a mobile phone, as the pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital across all industries.
What is driving this trend?
An industry report by HotelTonight suggests that many last-minute bookings are drawn in by what they term ‘ impulse rates’. This is when companies advertise a steep drop in prices of hotel rooms or activities for a short period of time – usually between 24-48 hours – to attract more business and boost revenue.
How to make this work for your business
There are various ways in which last-minute bookings can benefit your business and increase your revenue. To make the most of this trend, you need a user-friendly booking application that appeals to customers. It needs to look (and be) easy to book online with your business. This means ensuring your online presence is good and your booking system can handle the load.
As last-minute bookings move from being a trend to a norm, here are some things you can do to attract impulse travellers.
Enticing travellers by creating scarcity and need.
Entice last-minute travellers to book at your establishment by creating campaigns specifically targeted towards them. Advertise discounts and deals in a way that develops a feeling of scarcity and time sensitivity. Choose your words and visuals accordingly. For example, describe your offer as ‘limited’ or ‘exclusive’ to make it seem like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Adding a visual of a clock counting down to the end of your price drop is another way to create a sense of urgency.
Promote short trips and activities
Many people don’t have time to go on lengthy trips or are nervous that lockdown restrictions may change while they are away impacting their travel arrangements. Promote trips, activities and excursions that are shorter in length to inspire confidence. This will entice travellers who want to do something short and fun for a few nights – or even a day. Your website and social media should highlight the fact that you offer weekend getaways and other short escapes that are perfect for locals and last-minute travellers.
Embracing last-minute bookings can bring new business and boost revenue. However, making the most of this phenomenon requires a solid social media presence, a user-friendly website and an effective booking system. If this is something you need help with, Providence Hospitality can assist you with our digital marketing service.