Hot Tips!

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Hot tips

Accommodating our four legged friends!

Making your pet policy clear before guests book with you is essential. State whether or not your property is 'Pet Friendly' or just 'Dog Friendly' as many animals can be considered pets. Add your pet policy to your website's home or property details page. If you only allow pets in some rooms, state which rooms are pet-friendly in your room descriptions too. Applying policies to specific rooms can be tricky, so consider a flexible pet policy requiring guests to contact you directly if they plan to bring a pet. This approach can increase direct bookings and improve property-guest relationships too. If you're planning on accommodating pets then consider leaving supplies for pet owners, such as water bowls, dry food, and toys. You could even add this as an extra if you're looking to increase profits. You'll stand out in the area as being owner friendly, as well as pet friendly!

16 Jul 2024 - Ellie, freeonlinebooking UK team - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Keeping Guests Cool

During the hot summer months, helping your guests to stay cool and comfortable during the night is a must. Before your guests arrive, keep curtains and blinds closed to block out direct sunlight and prevent the room from heating up. Be sure to open them back up again before showing your guests to their rooms. Put fans in guest rooms to circulate air and create a cooling breeze. For an extra cooling effect, set a bowl of ice in front of the fan. Leave a cooling mist or spray on the bedside table for your guests to use during the night. Combined with the fan's breeze, this will help them quickly fall back to sleep. When it's too hot for a quilt, place a thin sheet and blanket, folded nicely, at the foot of the bed. Your guests will appreciate these thoughtful gestures and are more likely to give positive feedback after a good night's sleep. Going above and beyond to keep them cool and comfortable makes their stay memorable. It's the little extras that count.

9 Jul 2024 - Jane Hill, Freeonlinebooking UK team - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Using ChatGPT to write amazing marketing content!

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has skyrocketed in recent years. You can use tools like ChatGPT for almost anything - email marketing, social media posts, or even to write content for your website. Remember that AI is there to spark your creativity and motivation. You should edit text, personalise with email tags, and format the content you intend to use to match your property's branding and style. Give it a go! Visit to get started. You can be very specific when you ask ChatGPT to write something for you. So for example you could ask ChatGPT to "Write me a marketing email to previous guests telling them that it's not too late to book their summer holiday because we still have availability. Make it summer themed. Use summer themed emojis where appropriate. Create a special offer and add this in too. I would like the email to be informative without many adjectives."

19 Jun 2024 - Cait Buttery, Freeonlinebooking UK team - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Spa pool management

Spa pools/Jacuzzis can be a real asset for your business allowing you to increase your rates. It is, however essential that they are properly managed and kept spotless. If a pool is out of use for whatever reason, it can upset customers who have paid a premium to relax and enjoy a hot tub. You will need to empty the pool more regularly than a home hot tub and ensure that the chemical levels are all up to date. A great idea is to have a whiteboard next to the pool with the date/time it was last sanitized. In addition make sure that you have a sign indicating the pool rules - so include things like usage times, the lid must be closed after use, no glass (maybe supply acrylic glasses specifically for pool use), no intimate relations, no pets etc. Lastly you may wish to recommend guests to not to spend too long in the pool and to drink a large glass of water after use as overheating can make guests feel lightheaded and drowsy.

28 May 2024 - Nick, Freeonlinebooking Managing Director - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Create free floor plans!

Many of the chain hotels, like Four Seasons, include floor plans of their rooms alongside photos. This allows guests to plan whether a space will be big enough, encourage room upgrades, and can ease worries about whether their infant's crib will fit, or where their children will sleep. It's good to have floor plans for each type of accommodation you offer, e.g. a vacation rental, connecting rooms, or a double room. Make sure the floor plans are accurate. If all of your double rooms are different sizes and layouts, include a floorplan for each. Knowing your property or rooms are perfect for their needs will make you stand out against your competition. You can design and create your own floorplans for free using services such as FloorPlanner, and then upload it as a photo to your room type. Why not give it a go?

22 May 2024 - Cait Buttery, freeonlinebooking UK team - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Managing smoking!

Be clear about your smoking policy in your terms and conditions, and use signs and ashtrays to indicate where smoking is allowed. Consider a 'smoking fee' for guests who break your no smoking policy to encourage use of the designated smoking areas only, and be sure to state this clearly in your terms and conditions. Use services such as Minut and Wynd to detect smoking in prohibited areas – make it clear to guests if you use these devices. If a guest does smoke where they shouldn't, try using an aromatherapy oil diffuser or ozone machine to reduce the smell.

14 May 2024 - Cait Buttery - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Build a social media strategy!

Promoting your accommodation business on websites/apps like Facebook, Instagram and Tik-Tok really does work and takes a lot less time than you might think. Define your goals, know your audience, choose platforms wisely, and create engaging content. It's important to interact with your followers and reply to comments. Regularly evaluate how successful your posts are, and note what's working and what isn't. Don't be afraid to adapt your approach if it isn't working!

7 May 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Show off your points of difference!

Are you the only vacation rental in the area with a hot tub? Or the only B&B with a beer garden? Show it off! Tell potential guests why staying with you is better than your competition. List out the most loved and unique aspects of your accommodation. Being able to relax in the garden in summer can be a huge draw for browsing guests! Even better if you're the only one to offer this in your area..

1 May 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Boost longer stays!

Getting customers to stay longer with you is great, even if you have good occupancy levels as it reduces the number of full room change cleans required. Reducing price and increasing minimum stays aren’t the only ways to increase length of stay. Offer multi-night and weekly rates to encourage longer stays or consider giving a discount or special offer on an extra night. Upgrading amenities and highlighting must-see sites, restaurants, or events nearby can encourage your guests to extend their stay too. If your accommodation feels like a second home, they’re more likely to extend their stay or stay longer the next time they visit.

17 Apr 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Use email marketing!

Encourage repeat stays by sending twice weekly or monthly marketing emails to past guests. Sending email is free, is quick to do and gives a good return on your investment of time.  Show off upgrades you've made, tell them about upcoming events over the next few months in your area, or draw their attention to new extra products and services you have to offer. To make your email more enticing, include an exclusive discount or promotion linked to the theme of your email. For example, when telling guests about the upcoming carnival a great promotion could be to offer free glowsticks or a free carnival bundle with the code CARNIVAL24. Make sure to include photos to really capture your readers attention!

3 Apr 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Build a book direct strategy!

Given the high commissions that Online Travel Agents (OTAs) charge, it is essential to build a book direct strategy to maximise your profits. Start with ensuring you have a great looking and well performing website that is optimised for search engine positioning. Next make sure that you are encouraging guests to book direct by rewarding them to do so, either with a slightly reduced rate or some other incentive. Finally, fine-tune your operations so that the book direct message is effectively communicated to your guests eg by giving guests a small discount if they book direct with you next time. If you need help with your book direct strategy then freeonlinebooking is more than happy to help!

21 Mar 2024 - Nick - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Offer a non-refundable option!

Whilst offering non-refundable rates at a small discount may cost you money, it will be money in the bank which you will not ever have to refund. Many properties offering non-refundable rates report occupancy rates exceeding 100% in busy periods due to the effect of cancellations. You may wish to recommend to customers to take travel insurance to mitigate the effect of customers being frustrated by not being able to cancel their booking.

13 Mar 2024 - Nick - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Tell your customers about your local area!

Include a local area guide on your website and in folders in your rooms. Tell your guests how wonderful your town and region is, where the best places to eat are (for all budgets), the best activities (for all age groups), what to do on a rainy day etc. For your adventerous guests, include information about local trails, where to mountain bike, where to take their dogs, where to go fishing, best sunrise and sunset spots, and restaurants, the difficulty of each trail and how long the trail takes to walk. if your guests have an amazing time, they will thank you for giving them the ideas, and hopefully will return!

27 Feb 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Upsell effectively!

It is important to always give guests the option to book your extra products and services at the time of booking. Combining multiple approaches to upselling is more effective though, so add these into your pre-stay email, in your general marketing emails, and post photos of them on your website and social media. If you want to go a step further, ask your guests at check-in whether they'd like any extras - if you have quite a few, create an extras menu and put it in your welcome pack!

23 Feb 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Manage TripAdvisor intelligently!

Always respond to TripAdvisor reviews good and bad. Always thank guests for taking the time to leave a review and if a review is negative then make sure you appear sympathetic and keen to resolve any problems. Make sure you mention in your reply that your best rates can only be booked direct. A high proportion of guests will check TripAdvisor before booking and using this simple tip can greatly impact your direct bookings.

14 Feb 2024 - Nick - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Update your photos!

Make sure you have up to date, high quality photos of your property as they are ESSENTIAL when customers are selecting where to stay. Pick a day with no clouds and blue, sunny skies. Include photos of the food and extras you offer, creating an immersive experience the guest simply cannot wait to dive into. Make sure your photos are reflective of your accommodation to build trust and be seen as authentic. Know your limits and hire a photographer if required.

8 Feb 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

Hot tips

Test your website!

A website full of glitches, bugs, and pages that won't load will no doubt put guests off booking diretly with you. Catch issues early by regularly testing your website. Make sure it works well on a mobile device and check your photos are high quality and up to date. Consider how visible your 'book now' buttons are too. If a guest can't see how to book, they may go somewhere else!

13 Jan 2024 - Cait - Link to this hot tip

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