Ever wish you could prolong the summer and stay fully booked for a couple more months?

While demand usually decreases after August in summer destinations, there’s still a chance to carry over some of the momentum into the shoulder season.   

As a Booking.com Premier Partner, we have access to exclusive data and insights from one of the world’s largest OTAs – and we always pass that invaluable knowledge onto our customers.

Now, we’d like to share with you the results of Booking.com’s latest summer booking trends analysis so that you can learn from them and adapt your listings to boost your autumn bookings.

Let’s get right into it!

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1. 90% of travellers booked flexible rates

Since the beginning of the pandemic, travellers have been looking for flexible travel options that allow them to change their plans if necessary. 

This trend persists: Booking.com’s findings show that no less than 90% of travellers booking summer holidays chose rentals with flexible policies.

Whether it’s cancellations or date changes, guests want reassurance that they won’t lose their hard-earned money because of travel disruptions due to COVID-19. 

As the delta variant continues to wreak havoc, the uncertainty continues and flexible travel remains the norm. If you want to keep getting bookings in the autumn months and you haven’t adopted flexible policies yet, make sure to do so now.

Action step: Add flexible rates to your listings.

2. There was a higher proportion of bookings for stays of 7 days or more than in 2019

Another trend that Booking.com discovered: this summer, guests booked longer stays than usual – likely to use up their accumulated vacation days.

To be specific, there was a higher proportion of bookings for stays of 7 days or longer than during the same period pre-pandemic. 

Since many people haven’t been able to travel during the summer, extended stays are likely to be around long past August. 

To attract guests who stay longer, it’s crucial to offer weekly – or even monthly – discounts. Adding long-stay rate plans to your listings could help you keep your occupancy high in the shoulder season.

Action step: Give discounts on longer stays.

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3. Property managers who displayed health and safety measures saw 11% more bookings

Despite the rise in vaccination rates, hygiene and safety remain major concerns for travellers.

This trend is reflected in the performance of Booking.com listings: displaying a rental’s or hotel’s safety measures resulted in 11% more bookings

This comes as no surprise after Booking.com found that 70% of travellers say they are more likely to book a property if its health and safety measures are clear.

Keeping your property information up-to-date has, perhaps, never been so important. With OTAs releasing new amenities all the time, it’s essential to keep an eye on your listing and keep adding new health and safety measures.

Action step: Update your health and safety measures. 

Find out how to add new amenities to your listings as soon as they become available.

4. Genius partners saw 29% more bookings

To help their hotelier and vacation rental property manager partners weather the storm, Booking.com has recently expanded its Genius programme to all travellers with a Booking.com account.

Since then, Genius partners have seen 29% more bookings. Furthermore, 3 out of 4 Genius reservations were made by Genius members who visited Booking.com directly, through strategic partners or through Booking.com’s sister brands, which means that Genius partners can expect a further increase in bookings.

Joining the  Booking.com Genius programme allows property managers to stand out from the crowd, increase their visibility on the platform and boost their conversions. 

If you’re not a Genius partner yet, it’s time to check if you meet the eligibility criteria and join the programme in time for the shoulder season. 

Action step: Become a part of Booking.com’s Genius programme.

5. More than two-thirds of bookings were made on mobile devices

Last but not least, Booking.com’s research showed that mobile devices now dominate bookings.

More than two-thirds of summer bookings were made on mobile devices, making mobile Booking.com’s fastest-growing booker segment.

Smartphone usage is unlikely to subside anytime soon. So if you want to capture demand past the summer months, you should think of your listings as mobile-first.

In fact, Booking.com found that partners who had set up a special mobile rate captured 28% more mobile bookings. It would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity to appeal to the majority of travellers booking stays on the platform!

Action step: Add mobile rates to your listings.

The takeaway

There’s still time to lock in some bookings for the autumn season. But with demand decreasing and the competition as high as ever, it’s important to make sure that you’ve optimised your listings for conversions. 

To recap, here’s what to do if you want to keep up the summer momentum:

  • Add flexible rates to your listings.
  • Give discounts on longer stays. 
  • Update your health and safety measures. 
  • Become a part of Booking.com’s Genius programme.
  • Add mobile rates to your listings.

Are you ready to build a tech-based distribution strategy? Discover how our enterprise-level Channel Manager can get you more bookings.