The final topic under the “be compelling” umbrella for the nine ways to stop hotel booking leakage is what we call poor policy leakage.
An often overlooked area of booking leakage and conversion is around your cancellation policy and terms and conditions. Most properties we see sit on two extremes: either they’re overly verbose and have detailed conditions, or their policies are very loose, leaving the property exposed.
The reason we have cancellation policies in place is to protect the property. So, depending on your property’s current demand and occupancy, it’s best to sit somewhere between these two extremes.
But beyond protecting your property, having clear and concise policies offers value to your rates. For example, you might have different policies attached to different rates. Or you might offer a discount because your policies are slightly stricter than most. Customers might also pay more to have slightly more flexible policies.
So, for the policies to benefit you in securing more bookings, you need to be thinking about whether they are enticing bookings or deterring them away.
Another area of policies you can consider is packages. One of the go-to lines that we hear about hoteliers trying to grow their business is considering offering some packages. Developing packages is a great idea, but unfortunately, when the packages become more complex, so do the terms and conditions.
And this is a point of leakage where it becomes too hard for the consumer to wrap their heads around the “if’s and but’s” of the package.
So, I encourage you to keep your packages and the terms and conditions around them simple. For example, if you’re going to give away a free drink, don’t worry about defining whether it’s one free drink on arrival or at dinner – just give one to everyone in the room. Simplify the package and build it into the rate instead of placing too many rules and regulations on the booker.
If you make your cancellation and deposit policy too complicated and penalising, you will get fall out – you’ll create doubt in the booker’s mind and give them a sense of distrust. On the other hand, if you are not clear enough about your terms, you open the door for guest disputes and potentially no leg to stand on.
Ideally, you want something that keeps the booking flow open without over-exposing the business to later fall-out and problems at check-out.
At the end of the day, the booker is coming to have an enjoyable experience; they don’t want to feel like they have to follow school rules.
That rounds out the nine ways to stop hotel booking leakage. We trust that you found this series valuable. But, we are always here and ready to help if you have any questions about any of these areas and how you can stop booking leakage and improve your bookings.