Supply Course

Lesson 4: Best practices and actionable advice

The first three lessons introduced you to the supply flow, availability basics and restrictions. In lesson 4, you’ll discover actionable supply advice that can help you and your properties increase visibility and ultimately attract more bookings.

General best practices to improve your supply flow

Make sure all active properties are bookable

Some properties can’t make their status bookable because of seasonality or because, for example, they’re waiting to put licences or contracts in place.

But once a property and its rooms are ready to start receiving guests, you should check that they have availability loaded, Rate Plans attached and policies configured, so that they don’t miss any opportunities to generate bookings. For more details, refer to lesson 2.

Keep restrictions to a minimum

Accommodation partners need restrictions to reflect their business’ operational constraints, and in some cases to get the best revenue out of their property.

But restrictions can also have a significant impact on potential guests’ ability to find and book a stay at the property. That’s why accommodation partners need to apply any restrictions carefully, considering the potential effects on their ability to generate business. For more details, see lesson 3.

Be aware of misconfigurations

Whenever a room is no longer bookable for a certain date, remove it from our inventory – but don’t remove prices or set restrictions as a way to avoid overbookings.

Optimising your Rates & Availability setup to minimise drop-offs

Addressing missing Rates & Availability

  • It’s good practice to refresh the calendar with Rates & Availability information for at least the next two years. Most properties implement their revenue management strategies every three months. In that case, rather than losing potential reservations it’s better to set default prices and inventory for the remainder of the next two years.
  • If your properties have inventory or prices that they don’t offer on Booking.com because our APIs or platform don’t support them, please let your Connectivity partner business manager or the Connectivity Support team know. We’re keen to make sure we’re able to offer all of your properties’ inventory and prices on our platform.

Addressing incorrect room and rate setups

  • It’s good practice to refresh the Rates & Availability calendar at least weekly. This way, if your property has made any changes to the Room-rate setup and these changes haven’t been synced with your system, the Rates & Availability API will generate errors to make you aware of this. You can then take further action to fix these errors. For example, if a property has deactivated a particular room on our platform and you try to update the price for this room, the API will generate an error and you can quickly resolve the issue.
  • Enable the detailed_exceptions_response feature of the Rates & Availability API to make sure you’re immediately aware of any inconsistencies. To find out more, take a look at this article.
  • Regularly use the Room-rates read call to reduce inaccuracies in Room-rate configurations between your system and ours. The Room-rates call is extensive and provides granular details on a property’s Room-rate mapping, policies, meal plans, pricing flags and booking release restrictions.
  • If you’ve implemented the Room and Rate Management APIs, make sure you use the HotelProductNotif endpoint and make it mandatory for your properties to assign a room and a policy to each Rate Plan.

Addressing missing occupancies

  • We recommend all your properties stop using rate level occupancy and instead use Occupancy Based Pricing, length of stay and derived prices to set up occupancy prices.
  • Make sure your properties’ configuration of maximum occupancy of each room is correct on our platform. You can use the RoomsRates endpoint to fetch this data.

Addressing restrictions

  • Revisit the exercise about figuring out which restrictions are applicable when, and carry this out for multiple combinations of rooms, rates and dates for your properties. Overall, we recommend that your properties relax the number of restrictions they use wherever possible.
  • If a property wants to use restrictions in order to help achieve a minimum amount of revenue during a specific period, we recommend they use length of stay pricing in order to avoid restrictions causing supply flow drop-offs. For example, if a property wants to make €1,000 in revenue in a week, instead of setting up complex minimum and maximum length of stay rules they should set a price of €1,000 for any length of stay between one and five nights, regardless of the actual number of nights. This does mean that for a one-night stay the price will still show as €1,000, but more importantly it means that the property will always show up in search results.
  • If it’s difficult for a property to migrate to length of stay pricing, refer to lesson 3 for more detailed information on length of stay restrictions.
Actionable advice for your properties

You’ve learned how to configure Rates & Availability in your system to better optimise your supply flow on our platform. You’ve also found out about the potential impact that restrictions can have on drop-offs. Now we’re going to share some information about the actionable advice available for your properties – we often refer to this advice as opportunities. These opportunities are designed to identify and correct specific availability issues, so that your properties can ensure they remain visible in search results on our platform and can capture upcoming demand.

What are availability opportunities?

We regularly scan the inventory on our platform and check for specific information, such as the latest date a room in the property has bookable Rates & Availability loaded or the number of popular rooms available to sell for upcoming High Demand Dates.

Whether a property is eligible for these opportunities depends on its current inventory. Since we usually run these eligibility checks several times a day, we recommend that your properties act quickly on any opportunities they become eligible for.

What are the different availability opportunities available for your properties?

We’re always adding to and refining the performance advice we give to our accommodation partners. However, we’ve identified particular opportunities that are most relevant for properties in markets where we see demand beginning to recover. These opportunities are important because they’re designed to help accommodation partners ensure business continuity and optimise their performance on our platform.  

1. Supply sourcing – these opportunities are based on the availability of the property as a whole, regardless of specific rooms, rates ordates. As a result, not implementing them can have an impact on the property’s overall visibility on our platform. There are three different supply sourcing opportunities:

Opportunity

Description

Potential impact

Action required

Auto-closed due to availability (av_autoclose)

This opportunity is for properties that don’t have Rates & Availability loaded for any dates within the next 365 days.

These properties can’t be booked by travellers on our platform, and they won’t show up in any search results, so we consider them ‘closed’.

Unless the property is in fact fully closed for at least the next 365 days, add Rates & Availability for the next 365 days so the property remains bookable and appears in search results.

Bookable Until - Critical (bookable_until_crtitcal)

This opportunity is for properties that don’t have Rates & Availability loaded for the whole of the next 30 days.

These properties may be missing out on short-term demand for the next 30 days, and they’re not visible in results for searches beyond this period.

Add Rates & Availability for at least 30 days from today – and ideally for the next 365 days.

Bookable Until - Urgent (bookable_until_urgent)

This opportunity is for properties that don’t have any Rates & Availability loaded for the period from 31 to 90 days from now.

These properties may be missing out on mid-term demand for the next three months, and they’re not visible in results for searches beyond 90 days.

Add Rates & Availability for at least 90 days from today – and ideally for the next 365 days.

2. Supply optimisation – these opportunities are designed to help properties maximise their chances of capturing recovering demand. They do this by helping properties ensure they have sufficient availability and are visible in the results of the most relevant searches on our platform. These opportunities aren’t generated for a property as a whole, but rather for specific rooms, rates and dates, or a combination of them. By implementing any of these opportunities that they become eligible for, properties can ensure that their inventory is always optimised to capture upcoming demand and generate more bookings. There are two different supply optimisation opportunities:

 

Opportunity

Description

Potential Impact

Action required

High demand dates: Inventory (high_demand_dates_inventory)

This opportunity is for properties that don’t have any inventory for their most popular rooms on upcoming High Demand Dates in the short- and mid-term, for which we see demand rising in their market. We check eligibility for this opportunity every three hours, so eligibility can change quickly and we recommend that properties act on this opportunity as soon as they can.

Having availability loaded for High Demand Dates increases a property’s visibility on our platform, and this improves the likelihood of them generating bookings. Receiving bookings for High Demand Dates is also a good way to improve a property’s ranking on our platform.

Add at least one available room for the Room Type we’ve highlighted on the specified date(s).

Blocked by Minimum Length of Stay (blocked_by_min_length_of_stay)

We calculate this opportunity at both the Room Type and date level, and it’s for properties that have a room that is completely blocked by minimum length of stay restrictions. Eligibility for this opportunity can also change quickly, so we recommend that properties implement it as soon as they can.

If a room is completely blocked, it won’t be visible in search results and so these properties may miss out on potential bookings.

Reduce or remove the minimum length of stay restrictions for at least one active rate for the Room Type we’ve highlighted on the specified date(s). 

Where can your properties find this advice?

On our platform

In the Booking.com extranet, eligible properties can find these opportunities highlighted in the Opportunity Centre and on the ‘Availability Optimisation’ page.

On your platform

These opportunities are also available via the Opportunities API. If you use this API, you can notify your properties directly on your platform whenever they become eligible for these opportunities. We recommend you highlight the opportunities for your properties in your notification centre or on your calendar or dashboard pages.

If you’re a property management company and you manage your properties’ inventory directly, you can also use the Opportunities API to fetch a list of eligible properties for each of these opportunities. You can then use the Rates & Availability API to update your properties’ inventory in bulk to take advantage of the opportunities they’re eligible for.

Where should your properties act on this advice?

As effectively implementing these opportunities requires taking inventory-related actions, we recommend that you encourage your properties to take the required action on your platform.

To make sure your properties are able to do this easily, use the Opportunities API to deliver the advice on your platform and then guide your properties to the right platform to take the required action – either their channel manager or property management system.

For tips and best practices about doing this effectively when it comes to our more complex supply optimisation opportunities, take a look at these implementation guidelines. Those more complex opportunities are available via the additional date-level inventory opportunities feature of the Opportunities API.

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