Those who manage tourism businesses often refer to the dependence on online sales channels as a negative thing, and they usually present the following arguments:
"I lose control of my sales"
"They are always offering discounts"
"I pay too much in commissions"
The truth is that these channels also represent a large part of the volume of reservations that most hotels receive...
That said, the question arises: "if I need these online channels to receive more bookings, how can I make the most of them? Since we know that managing sales from online channels is not always easy, we decided to add a new section to the blog, where we will explore the different channels, the advantages and disadvantages and demystify some issues.
We will begin with Booking.com's Genius program.
Who is a Genius customer?
Customers who have made more than 2 reservations in the same year on Booking.com.
What properties are eligible for the Genius program?
Properties that meet the eligibility criteria (feedback metrics and confirmed reservations).
There are several advantages to being a Genius client and they vary according to the existing Genius levels - level 1 and 2 (attribution linked to the number of reservations per year of the client) - and they can include: having a discount in the unit that has this active program, receiving breakfast or a room upgrade for free or having the possibility of leaving the unit later (late check-out).
We know that the probability of a Genius customer choosing a property with an active program is high. So it is important to know how you can attract this audience and position yourself so that they are the ones chosen at the time of booking.
Main notes to take about the Genius Program for the units:
Disclaimer: before you go any further, keep in mind that before you apply any discount or visibility program to your unit, you should rethink the entire pricing structure of your unit to ensure that you still have a margin of profitability.
You can activate this program (if you meet the criteria) at any time and there is no binding period: just be aware that when you leave the program you will have to wait 6 months (and meet the criteria again) to reactivate the program.
The discount is applied to the cheapest room and the best-selling room: often the best-selling room coincides with the cheapest (for obvious reasons). In this case, the discount is only applied to one room type, but you will always be informed on the page which room type is the cheapest, so that you will not have any surprises before activating the program.
You have the possibility to block 30 days a year: that is, when you activate the program you can block 30 days of the year when you do not want the Genius discount to be applied. For example, on dates when you already have a high occupancy rate or on dates when there are festivals or large events at the destination where you are. Avoid giving discounts on dates where it will not bring any advantage and where occupancy at good prices is more likely.
Tip: if your unit works with a two-night minimum stay, you can use this block in your favor. Imagine that in August you don't want to apply the Genius discount, you can apply this block alternately (every other day) because the customer will also not be able to book just one night due to the restrictions.
Use the free room upgrade to your advantage: since most units only use Genius to apply the discount to the price, you can work on differentiating yourself using the extra features of the program. Offer an upgrade to a typology that has fewer conversions and adapt this offer so that it only comes up X days before the check-in date (i.e., this possibility only comes up in last minute. If these typologies are not sold by then, offering the upgrade will increase your last-minute customer satisfaction and increase your page score).
In units with their own F&B service (food of beverages), the possibility to offer breakfast for free may be interesting if the goal is to increase the volume of bookings: taking into account that the cost price will be that of the products.
Having trouble managing the accumulation of Genius and your flexible and non-refundable fares? On dates when you have the program active, lock your non-refundable fare so that the discount is only applied to the flexible fare, for example. Do this exercise with all fares that you are not sure whether they accrue the discount or not.
Need help properly implementing the Genius program at your property?
Article written by Le Peach, all rights reserved.