The festive period is one of the busiest for holiday cottage owners, but sometimes a late cancellation can leave your cottage potentially unoccupied over Christmas and New Year. Thankfully, last minute bookings are popular and common among holiday-makers, making it easy for you to secure a new booking. If you’re searching for last minute bookings at the moment, these five tips will help you maximise your chances.
Go the extra mile – little extras can really appeal to people looking for a special treat over the festive period. Make the most of your cottage’s unique selling points and consider including something extra special to attract custom. For example, open fires are very popular over Christmas – they fit in with the festive occasion and provide a real ‘home away from home’ comfort. Why not chuck in a bundle of firewood on last minute bookings? Families will love the ‘ye olde’ appeal. Or, if you are renting to couples, include champagne and chocolates on arrival. There are many different ways to go the extra mile.
Reduce the price – last minute bookings typically offer discounts on standard rates to entice holiday-makers. Bear in mind that this is standard practice over the festive season so if you’re not prepared to offer a discount, you may find your cottage passed over in favour of cheaper breaks. The discount doesn’t have to substantial but should incentivise the deal. If you really can’t offer a discount, then freebies will help sell your cottage, such as champagne or a fully-stocked fridge.
Flexibility is key – holiday-makers looking for a last minute cottage bargain may have specific needs, and you may lose out on business if your terms and conditions are too strict. For example, if you have a three bedroom cottage you are unlikely to rent to couples most of the year as this would be uneconomical for both parties. However, during the festive season you may wish to offer a discount to couples if you are struggling to find bookings for all three bedrooms, opening up your target market and increasing the chance of taking a booking. Perhaps you’d also like to explicitly state you allow New Year’s Eve fireworks, as uncertainty over these may turn off potential customers.
Optimise your site for late availability bookings – holiday-makers searching for last minute cottage bookings are likely to type very specific searches into Google, and by not optimising your site for these searches you could be missing out on relevant traffic. In addition, being listed on holiday cottage booking sites is beneficial throughout the year, but dedicated late availability sites will be more useful during the festive season as potential customers are likely to visit these sites ahead of general booking portals. Make sure you are listed on these sites to take advantage of last minute holiday cottage rentals.
Help with festive arrangements – many people who get away for Christmas or New Year are looking for a break away from home, but others want to experience the festive season in a new part of the country. As such, they need to find somewhere that can cater to their needs i.e. provide Christmas or New Year’s events and perhaps local transport to get them back to the cottage if they don’t drive, or aren’t hiring a car. As an expert on the local area, you can provide this information in detail on your cottage site, as reassurance that your property is a good choice for the festive period. Consider what information your potential customers may want and provide this, such as which supermarkets will deliver over Christmas.
FREE ADVERTISING OFFER:
Holiday cottage owners looking to get the most of last minute cottage bookings over the festive period can now sign up for FREE advertising on our new online portal, Late Availability Cottages. Enter code xmasspecial at the checkout to take advantage of this limited offer, which expires on December 25.