This is the second installment in our boot camp re-cap. Today’s article is about the benefits of using third-party channels to boost your self-catering bookings and get your name out there!
What are channels?
Channels are third-party websites that allow you to advertise your properties and take bookings on a larger scale. Some of the more well known channels are Booking.com, HomeAway and Airbnb.
These channels are global companies who bring in holiday makers from all over the world. Nearly half of the bookings taken through SuperControl in 2016 came from international guests (45%); using the big channels will increase the visibility of your self-catering property.
In 2016 100 million guests booked their holiday on Airbnb. Many of the channels out there provide free listings, only charging commission if they get you bookings – so why not take advantage of this?
Here are some top tips from SuperControl to help you get the most from the channels you use.
1. Write the best listing
In our experience, the self-caterers who get the most bookings from channels are the ones who spend time on their listings.
Most channels offer a lot of advice and guidance about creating great listing – make sure you follow the channels guidelines: details such as the length of your description and the number and size of your photo’s can affect your ranking on that site.
Look at high-ranking listings to see what they are doing and keep experimenting with your own. Getting the right main photo is crucial for conversion – have professional photos taken and use these pictures everywhere: channels, your own website, social media and any other advertising you do for your property.
2. List on multiple channels
By listing your self-catering property on multiple channels you are dramatically increasing your properties’ exposure and potential demand. The majority of our self-caterers list on every channel that is appropriate for them. Different channels attract different audiences and by listing on as many as you can, there is no limit to the exposure you can achieve, helping you get more online bookings.
3. Keep your listings consistent across channels
Advertising on a variety of channels gives you the chance to get your name known – from there you can encourage direct bookings through repeat business to avoid commission charges. Be consistence, using the same descriptions and photos across all channels will increase recognition from potential guests during their research. A business which is widely recognisable builds confidence and will increase the chances of the guest booking their holiday with you.
4. Use a channel manager
A channel manager allows you to keep your calendars and information up to date from one reliable point of data entry. While you work, sleep, take the kids to school – you get to live your life without worrying about duplicate bookings. A channel manager is often a separate product from your booking system. SuperControl provides your booking system AND channel manager in one package. The data you can share between channels ranges from basic availability updates right through to listing details – descriptions, photo’s and facilities. SuperControl integrates with over fifty channels – that’s 50+ chances for you to get more bookings!