Let’s talk about last-minute bookings. Sure, they can’t be a pain, but the fact is spontaneity is the name of the game young people who love to travel. And this is good news for the tourism industry, as more and more people book last-minute – filling out any vacancies.
With that said, it is important for tourism operators to invest in good booking software to accommodate these last-minute bookings. This may seem like an extra expense and a little extra work, but it is one aspect of the industry that’s grown in the past few years. And with people locked up in their homes during quarantine, you can expect a surge in last-minute bookings once the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is over.
Here are more reasons why you need to attract and accommodate last-minute bookings.
You maximise your revenue by filling those last seats
Unless it’s peak season, having empty seats on your tours and activities is almost inevitable. Promote those last few spots and make it easy for your guests to book last-minute. Remember, while almost-full tours are good, sold-out tours are always better.
You will set your business apart from competitors
Not all tourism operators can and will accept last minute bookings. Many implement tight and restrictive policies with a minimum of 48– or 72-hour reservation periods. Though there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, you would know firsthand that lots of travellers don’t work like that. Again, more and more millennials are travelling, and a large chunk of them are spontaneous travellers with flexible itineraries. When accepting their last-minute booking, you are separating your company from your competition.
You appeal to the motivated market segments
Millennials don’t just travel as a group. The number of solo travellers around the world is on the rise. Since they travel alone, solo travellers are notoriously spontaneous and expect to walk-up service. You may want to appeal to this market, and if you do, you need to make it easy and convenient for them to make a booking as soon as they arrive at your destination.
Tips to capitalise on last-minute bookings
So how do you make it easy and convenient for people to make their last-minute booking? Here are some great practices you can implement:
- Make sure your website’s design is responsive across all devices. It should be mobile–friendly and accepts mobile bookings through your tour booking system.
- Invest in advertising campaigns (Pay-Per-Click or PPC) that target mobile users that are in the destinations you offer. You can also customise your tours for solo and group travellers. Offer discounts on last-minute bookings, too.
- Connect with distribution agents that offer last-minute bookings, such as hotel concierges, visitor information centres or distribution platforms like LastMinute.
When executed properly, last-minute bookings might be the missing piece of the puzzle for you to skyrocket your profits. It is an effective tactic to fill in vacancies to your tours and improve your bottom line.