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How to Get More Last-Minute Bookings & the Best Channels to Get Listed On

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September 17, 2020

How to Get More Last-Minute Bookings & the Best Channels to Get Listed On

Travellers are waiting until the last minute to book their stays. Find out how to sell your unsold nights and increase your occupancy by getting listed on these channels specialising in last-minute stays.

Last-minute stays have always been popular among spontaneous travellers and cost-conscious guests looking for exclusive deals.

But now that COVID-19 travel restrictions have made it impossible to plan ahead, most travellers wait as long as they can to book their accommodation. The average booking window has reduced drastically. Last-minute bookings have become the norm across the board.

Our internal statistics show that in August 2020, 26.59% of all travellers booked 1-6 days out, compared to 21.07% in August 2019. Nearly 76% booked within 30 days of travel, which is a 9% increase from last year.

Booking window August 2019August 2020
Day of check-in 17.78% 18.99%
1-6 days out 21.07% 26.59%
7-13 days out11.68%14.27%
14-29 days out16.46% 16.10%
30-59 days out17.51%11.72%
> 60 days out15.93%12.34%

The trend is clear – but how can property managers ride the wave and increase their occupancy with last-minute bookings?

Let’s explore the most effective marketing tactics that you can use to attract last-minute bookings, monetise expiring inventory and make up for cancellations.

We’ll give you tips on how to set last-minute discounts and get you acquainted with the best last-minute channels to get listed on.

How to increase your last-minute bookings

Get listed on channels that specialise in last-minute stays

Our last and perhaps most effective tip is to get listed on channels that specialise in last-minute stays. These bookings sites can get your listings in front of travellers who are specifically looking for last-minute stays. The listings that stand out to them will be the ones that offer the best discounts and tick some other boxes too – like the amenities they’re looking for.

Last-minute booking sites to get listed on

Whimstay

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Whimstay specalises in helping property managers liquidate expiring inventory, providing them with access to a last-minute value-based traveller.

“Whimstay is a complementary channel in a complete distribution strategy,” says Brad Solso , CEO at Whimstay. “It helps maximize your unit revenue, without adversely impacting your brand or your premium pricing for advanced bookings.”

Recently, Brad and his team have seen an increase in last-minute bookings as a result of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

However, as he points out, last-minute travel as a category “continues to expand as the pandemic shifts travel to a more local model and different use cases (e.g. work from home, just not your home) emerge.”

The best way to prepare for last-minute stays, according to Brad, is to focus on your rentals’ cleanliness, as this is currently the most important concern expressed by travellers.

It’s also important to know your customer – and consider their unique needs.

“For instance, the needs of a remote worker may be considerably different than a family on a weekend getaway. At Whimstay, we reach out to every traveler to gather information about the trip and the traveler,” Brad says.

We’re proud to say that Whimstay will soon be among the 60+ channels that Rentals United users can connect to, so you can manage your listings on Whimstay directly from our channel management platform.

“Our integration to Rentals United allows you to set your pricing in your property management system without any maintenance on the Whimstay site,” says Brad.

Do you know any other last-minute channels that we missed?

If you want more distribution tips that work, download the Getting Bookings in 2020-2021 ebook!