Booking.com Listing Optimisation Strategy

For Hotels and Travel Companies around the world.

Increase Visibility and Ranking & get more Bookings on Booking.com

In this article, I’m going to reveal my secret method of getting Higher Hotel Rankings and more Bookings on Booking.com. You will also be able to increase your direct bookings at the same time.

I’ve successfully implemented this strategy for independent hotels to chain hotels. It is proven to be the best method for long term OTA and Direct booking growth.

This revenue management performance strategy relates directly to Booking.com and is from my personal experience. Practical experience working with the platform as well as key insights from active partners in the hotel industry.

Win-Win! Fact! Increased OTA Performance drives direct bookings!

In case you didn’t know, it’s a known fact that better performance on the internets largest Online Travel Agents websites, like Booking.com, have amazing billboard effects for your direct bookings.

I see this in action, time and time again, when properties push optimisation strategies on Online Travel Agents, direct bookings start increasing.

You give Booking.com the best you can with regards to optimisation strategies and the platform rewards you with more marketing exposure.

Inadvertently positively impacting your direct bookings! Win-Win!

Top 10 Ranking and Booking Strategy Steps, you can follow right now!

Let’s take a look at the ten steps you can follow today to make a significant difference to your rankings and bookings on booking.com.

This process takes advantage of all of the tools and methods, along with some exclusive insights just for you!

To get maximum benefit, stick around to the end of this article.

1. Join the Preferred Hotel Programme

Make sure you’re part of the Preferred Hotel Programme. Critical, yes, the commission is a bit more, but so is the level of exposure.

Booking.com place more marketing budget behind hotels that are part of the preferred program. Another +5% commission, but it’s worth it in terms of exposure.

2. Join the Genius Programme

Become part of the Genius Program. Accept as soon as you become eligible.

Genius program is usually a fixed 10% discount on the lowest available rate and is cumulative with all offers.

Genius bookers are known as Repeat bookers and can log in and filter all the genius offers.

3. Open for one night (No restrictions).

I know, it’s easy to say. Most hotels would prefer longer stays, but that’s not the nature of the internet distribution business.

I know that it might be difficult, but opening for 1 night means you are available more and the ranking algorithm will boost your ranking. If you can, try and do it with a more expensive room type, rather than all room types?

4. Competitive Rates

Having competitive rates in the market is very important. They can’t be too high or too low when you look at comparable hotels.

5. Constant Availability

Having limited availability, you’re not going to see very much visibility improvement.

I realise this can be challenging for seasonal hotels vs all-year-round properties.

However, for the period you are open, make sure you have maximum availability.

Try and avoid stop sales as much as possible, rather, go for increasing rates and the minimum length of stay.

Of course, if you’re full, you’re full, no further action needed.

Have in mind that having limited or no availability, tells the booking.com system to boost other properties instead, hence, you will lose ranking and visibility.

6. Payments Paid Up to Date

It’s essential that you have no outstanding payments. If you do, you run the risk of booking.com taking your property offline.

This has a devastating effect on your visibility and your ranking.

Keep in mind that this is all algorithm-based, so the system is set to take properties offline automatically. There are no emotional decisions made by the Booking.com accounts department.

The system decides based on predetermined rules.

So, if your accounts are not in order, the system is recognising this and acting accordingly, i.e. your ranking starts to suffer.

Having your payments in order, making sure they get paid on time helps avoid potential ranking loss due to Payment Issues.

Keep in mind that it can also take some time to recover your visibility and ranking after suffering a disconnection.

Having your payments in order tells booking.com that you’re a very conscientious client and you are rewarded with positive factors when it comes to payments.

7. Content Score

Your listing content score needs to be at least 100% =). Anything lower means, your ranking will suffer.

Make sure that absolutely everything is filled in.

For example, when a hotel has a photo that contains a swimming pool, apply the ‘swimming pool’ tag.

The same method applies to any other facilities, amenities or services that appear in your photos.

So, when a guest uses the booking.com search criteria.

Whenever you tag a photo, you are helping Booking.com help its visitors, who are your valued guests!

8. Freebies Campaigns

Freebies are another crucial factor.

These are things like, late checkout, free transfers from the airport.

All the different added values that will help you stick out from the competition.

9. Reviews

Reviews and reputation have a significant positive or negative impact on your revenue performance.

Responding to guests shows booking.com that your property cares about your guests because it is taking the time to reply to the feedback it receives.

When I say “shows booking.com” I’m talking about showing the algorithm, not a person, the algorithm decides your ranking and getting this ranking factor right will make a world of difference.

10. Rate Parity

One of the most important ranking factors when it comes to ranking and visibility on booking.com is rate parity.

There is always lots of talk about, direct booking strategies, to individually controlled rates per channel based on cost and showing preference to your website, the list goes on.

Now, to succeed on booking.com, there is no other factor, other than content that plays such a significant role in ranking and visibility as Rate Parity does and they take it very seriously.

Being fair is rewarded, Unfair is penalised!

The system penalises when it finds differences between booking.com competitors.

They feel that they don’t get treated fairly, so as such adjust ranking and visibility accordingly. Booking.com don’t mind slight differences around 2%, but anything more can typically cause issues.

They can range from penalisation to complicated relationships with market managers.

If your property gets continuous parity issues when compared to your competitors, then you will lose your position.

Transparency is the way forward.

I know there are many recommendations, information, floating around on the internet.

Don’t bother with rate parity!”

Rate parity doesn’t exist anymore!”

You should always look at it through the most profitable channel and adjust rates accordingly!”

Different Rates, Different Channels, it doesn’t matter!”

If the same property has different prices on different channels, does it confuse the customer, if so, how and why and can it be proven, and they book somewhere else, or does it force them to book through the cheapest channel? Does ranking matter in this case?
Regardless of this, Booking.com views this practises as unfair, not transparent and then penalises accordingly.

A balanced approach is best!

The profitability of any hotel is crucial, but a fair, balanced approach is strongly recommended to avoid getting penalised.

Working outside parity means, you will end up having different selling prices on different channels, which doesn’t just result in getting penalised by those channels but also results in confusing your staff and guests!

Be mindful of your partners!

At the end of the day, partners like booking.com work hard to deliver reservations to your property, so it’s only right that they are treated fairly and respectfully to aid long term growth.
Booking.com respects those hotels that align themselves on the side of Rate Parity or at least employ a reasonably balanced approach, rather than a self-focused approach.

11. Participate in Promotions (Bonus)

A big thank you for sticking with this article to this point. here’s a bonus tip! Make sure you have active campaigns running, check out the promotions tab. Try using Basic Deals to get your hotel highlighted in constant newsletter, remarketing and various other marketing campaigns. Also, check out the Getaway deals section to get your hotel tagged that it’s running a campaign.

Quick Summary

  1. You participate in the Preferred Hotel Programme (once available).
  2. You participate in the Genius Program (once available).
  3. Your open for one night as much as possible (No Restrictions).
  4. You have Competitive rates when compared to your competition set.
  5. You have constant availability.
  6. No outstanding invoices, payments are up to date.
  7. 100% Content Score, every detail completed.
  8. Participate in Freebies.
  9. Respond to all guest reviews.
  10. Have Rate Parity (controversial).
  11. Participate in Promotions.

Conclusion

There you have it an online distribution strategy that genuinely turbochargers your overall revenue performance by increasing visibility and ranking on one of the world’s largest travel sites booking.com. Plus it increases your direct bookings through the billboard effect.
Until next time, I’m bringing you the best tools, tips and strategies to turbocharge your overall internet sales efficiency and take your hotel revenue performance to new heights.

Remember, Distribution starts with you.
Happy distributing!