The Booking.com Extranet (back end manager for accommodation) is a management platform associated with Booking.com, which is one of the most popular online travel agencies (OTA) in the world. In this article, you can find out about more about Booking.com and its extranet, along with strategies and tips that will help you to generate more bookings through the service.
What is Booking.com?
An OTA like Booking.com, for example, allows users to search for travel products, including hotels, flights, and airport transfers, while the Booking Extranet allows hotels to manage their own listing on the platform, in order to attract guests. When a booking is made, the online travel agency then takes a commission fee for facilitating the sale.
Booking.com is an online travel agency, with its headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The platform is primarily marketed as a website and mobile app for booking hotel rooms and other lodgings, although it also offers customers the opportunity to book flights, hotel + flight combination packages, car rentals, and airport taxis.
The platform itself is owned by Booking Holdings, Inc. and this parent company also owns a number of other major travel-related brands, including Priceline.com, Agoda.com, and Kayak.com.
Booking.com is available in almost 50 different languages and can boast more than 25 million listings. The platform was originally launched in 1996 and serves as a third-party, linking customers to hotels and travel businesses. Those businesses can utilise the Booking Extranet to manage their listings and access important information.
About the Booking.com Extranet?
The Booking.com Extranet, or Booking Extranet, is a management platform that is connected to the Booking.com service. It allows those in hotel management positions – or management positions with other travel businesses – to oversee reservations and handle almost all aspects related to their listing on the online travel agency website.
For hotels, this includes options to add your hotel description, upload high-quality photographs of your hotel, outline the services available within your hotel, and manage important information that can affect bookings, such as updating current room availability and managing your room rates.
The Booking Extranet also includes a search engine, which makes it much easier to find specific information, along with a variety of tools for monitoring and analysing performance. Finally, the Booking Extranet provides hotels with options to participate in promotional offers and partner programmes.
5 Main Extranet Strategies to Optimise Your Booking.com Listing
The Booking Extranet provides managers and those involved with hotel marketing with the ability to capitalise on a variety of different options and strategies. Below, you can learn about some of the strategies that are most effective, so that you can optimise your Booking.com listing and attract more guests to your hotel.
Compelling Property Description
One of the most important parts of managing your listing through the Booking.com Extranet is creating a property description for your hotel. This description needs to be compelling and highlight the best qualities of your hotel, but there are a number of other things that you need to give consideration to as well.
Ideally, you should carry out keyword research and include strategic keywords for search engine optimisation purposes. Doing so will then help to increase your visibility on search engines like Google. Your description should also be kept up-to-date if your property changes over time, or if you add new hotel facilities or services.
High-Resolution Images and Videos
Another good tip to increase the revenue earned through the Booking.com platform is to add high-resolution images and video content to your hotel listing. This can be achieved via the Booking Extranet, and the addition of images and videos can help to showcase what your hotel looks like and what it has to offer guests.
Photographs should not only be high resolution but should also be taken by professional photographers with an understanding of lighting and angles. Video content, meanwhile, should be used to highlight what your hotel looks like over the course of a typical day. Try to showcase different parts of the hotel, including guest rooms, the reception area, any bars and restaurants, the pool area, function rooms, and the exterior of your property.
Availability Calendar and Channel Manager
To maximise bookings and avoid situations where double bookings occur, you need to use the Booking Extranet to ensure that your hotel’s availability calendar is always fully up-to-date and accurate.
By far the best way to achieve this is to use a hotel channel manager, and this should be connected to your property management system. When this is the case, availability information will be automatically updated as and when new bookings are completed, and this will apply not only on Booking.com but across all distribution channels you use.
Reputation and Review Management
Modern travellers rely heavily on customer feedback and will often read online reviews before making a booking. This makes it crucial to place a strong focus on customer service and then encourage customers to leave reviews after their stay. However, you must also take steps to manage your hotel’s online reputation carefully.
Through the Booking Extranet, you can manage your reviews on the platform, and you should take the time to do this. Positive reviews should be responded to with a thank you message, but you should also respond calmly and politely to any negative reviews posted in good faith too. For example, you might thank them for their review and for drawing your attention to a problem, and explain what you will do to resolve it.
In the event that malicious reviews are being left, you should contact the Booking.com staff so that these reviews can be removed from the platform. Reputation management software and other similar hotel technology can also assist with your review management efforts, making it easier to manage reviews across multiple channels.
Room Rates and Cancellation Fees
Your room rates are going to have a significant influence on demand and the level of bookings you can attract, so you need to come up with a robust pricing strategy, which factors in everything from current levels of demand or anticipated future levels of demand, through to competitors’ pricing and availability.
Beyond this, one of the most significant competitive differentiators on the Booking.com platform is related to cancellation fees. Users of the platform are able to filter hotels based on whether or not they have a no-refunds policy, and a majority of users do opt for this. With this in mind, it is best to try to avoid cancellation fees, and to adopt a more generous cancellation policy, where you refund what customers have paid and offer them an alternate date.
5 Tips to Increase Bookings on the Booking.com Extranet
Below, you can find a number of additional tips related to the Booking Extranet, which will allow you to boost interest in your property and increase the number of bookings you are able to generate from the service.
Make Use of Country Rates
A great option included within the Booking.com platform and Booking Extranet is the ability to use country-specific room rates. This can be especially beneficial in situations where you are trying to attract customers from a particular location, either as part of your marketing strategy or because of events or holidays.
Essentially, this works by providing discounts to users in specific parts of the world. This can also be used to provide a discount to users in the same country as your hotel, which can be great if you are adopting a local-first strategy. In all cases, you can set the duration of the promotional discount and access performance data.
Introduce Mobile Rates
One of the major hotel trends of recent years has been the upturn in bookings that are completed entirely on mobile devices. With this in mind, it can be strategically beneficial for hotels to target mobile users and try to boost visibility on the Booking.com mobile app, and mobile rates are a great way to achieve this.
This option within the Booking Extranet allows hotels to automatically apply a 10 per cent discount to all bookings made by mobile users. This not only increases visibility across the mobile app and mobile browsers, but it can also be a clever way of targeting younger customers, which may have strategic advantages for some hotels.
Use the Focus Finder Tool
Focus Finder is a tool within the Booking.com Extranet, which breaks down the customer journey for users looking to book a room with your hotel. Using this breakdown, the feature then compares your performance to other similar properties and identifies the point or points in the booking journey where you are seeing a drop-off.
This tool is an excellent way to identify precisely where customers are getting to in the booking journey before backing out. Focus Finder also provides tailored advice on how you may improve this, based on the specific challenges your hotel is facing. As a result, you can see things through customers’ eyes and ultimately boost your performance.
Offer Discounts / run promotion campaigns
During times of low demand or other points where it may be strategically advantageous to do so, you should capitalise on the various discounts and freebies to tempt more customers into bookings. The options here can include last-minute deals, which are great when you need to fill rooms, or early bird discounts, which can help you to sell rooms in advance.
Alternatively, you might opt to provide discounts on additional services, like food and drink within your hotel, or throw in freebies. Regardless of the precise discounts or special offers, you opt for, the option to run these promotional deals can also help to boost your overall visibility on the OTA too.
Capitalise on the Visibility Booster
The last tip that can help hotels to increase bookings via the Booking Extranet is to make use of the built-in Visibility Booster function. Essentially, this is a mutually beneficial tool, which can be extremely helpful for new hotels, hotels that need to boost their online visibility or hotels that have rooms to fill quickly.
The way the Visibility Booster works is as follows: you agree to increase the amount of commission that Booking.com take, and in exchange, the Booking.com platform boosts your placement on hotel search results pages. Hotels can also opt-in and out of the Visibility Booster at any time, meaning it can be used to deliver short or long-term results.
What Are Exclusive Booking.com Partner Programmes?
In addition to having access to the Booking Extranet, those involved with hotel marketing strategies can also take part in some exclusive Booking.com partner programmes. More information can be found below:
The Genius partner programme combines with the Genius customer loyalty programme, providing hotels with greater exposure and Genius loyalty programme members with exclusive discounts. This option can be especially useful for targeting high-value customers, who travel and make bookings through the platform frequently.
The Preferred Partner programme is aimed at the top performers on the Booking.com platform. Hotels must meet set criteria, including being within the top 30% of hotels on the OTA, in terms of bookings. Once a hotel becomes a Preferred Partner, it will receive a significant visibility boost in exchange for an increase in commission fees. This option is ideal for highlighting your hotel as a popular property and ensuring it stands out from rivals.
Through intelligent use of the Booking.com platform and the Booking Extranet, hotels can boost visibility on the platform, keep their hotel information up-to-date, access performance data, and generate more bookings.
While the Booking Extranet is a great tool for generating more hotel bookings, it is important to stress that Booking.com is not the only online travel agency that is worth exploring. Some of the other major options include Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline.com and Trip Advisor, and each platform has its own unique qualities and benefits.