Want to know how you can make the most out of your listing on TakeABreak®? If you want to get more enquiries and be able to convert more enquiries into bookings, then read on…
Step 1 Optimise your listing to maximise enquiries
Approach your listing as if you were a visitor coming to the site.
Your property ranking - Property listings on TakeABreak are ordered mainly based on their conversion rate, that is the number of confirmed stays compared to the number of enquiries. This means that the highest ranked properties are those which are most likely to convert an enquiry to a booking and therefore meet the needs of people wanting to find accommodation through TakeABreak.
New properties get a temporary boost in their rankings to give them a chance to get some enquiries, however, their conversion rate quickly becomes the main factor.
To maximise your conversion rate, make sure you block out dates on your calendar with no vacancies, especially high demand dates. This reduces 'wasted' enquiries for these periods and so improves your conversion rate. Ensuring your rates information is clear and accurate also contributes to higher conversion rates.
Summary - Your summary listing is what shows in the list when people search for properties in your area or under a particular category such as ‘family-friendly’ or ‘pet-friendly’ - you need to be concise and to highlight your ‘points of difference’ to encourage visitors to click and find out more details about your property from the list of properties on offer. Take a look at the summary listings of similar properties, or properties in your local area, to see what works well.
Images - These display both in your summary and detailed listing. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, then a spectacular and professional image will do it every time, so it might be worth the investment. Statistics show that properties with images get 5 times the number of enquiries of properties without images. These can easily be added yourself through the operator administration system by clicking on the 'images' tab - this is particularly important when all your competitors have images. Specific visitor requests include having more photos of the inside of your property, so that they can see in advance what to expect.
Presentation - The way your listing looks counts. Make sure that you have spacing between sentences, paragraphs and sections. This makes the text easier to read. Do not use ALL CAPS when typing as it makes it very difficult for people to read. One of the biggest complaints from visitors is about spelling mistakes and punctuation. Spelling can easily be fixed by using a spell checker. Ensure that you write in full sentences. Use a capital letter to start a new sentence and a full stop to end each sentence. If you need further assistance with this, just ask.
Content - Make sure you mention the full range of accommodation available, as well as the maximum number of people you can accommodate and your detailed sleeping configuration (what size beds are in which rooms), this helps families and groups to easily determine if your property will suit their needs and will therefore minimise 'wasted' enquiries. You might also like to look at the content that others in the same locality include and work out what you should add or what it is about your property that makes it different. Does your content talk about why your property is a better place to stay than anywhere else? Do you actually ask people to make an enquiry or ‘book now’?
Star ratings - If you have an AAA star rating, then make sure it is displayed, as many people make decisions on where to stay based on this fact alone. If you have not been assessed by AAA Tourism then you cannot use a star rating for your property. Contact them on www.aaatourism.com.au <http://www.aaatourism.com.au> for more information.
Customer testimonials - A separate italicised section is available under the ‘descriptions’ section for customer testimonials. If visitors can see that others who stayed there have good things to say, it will help you sell your property. In addition to this, we invite visitors who have booked through TakeABreak to make Guest Comments on your property, so the more bookings you get, the more comments you are likely to have.
Response times - The TakeABreak system monitors your response time to enquiries and displays an average response time to visitors when they make their booking. This gives them a good guide to how long they should expect to wait before receiving a response, and also rewards properties who consistently reply within a few hours, but feel they should set their response time to 24 hours as they realise that they can't get back to people immediately if they enquire at 2am. To encourage visitors to make an enquiry, you should set a realistic response time and keep to it wherever possible.
Availability - If your calendar appears totally blank, this has one of two results, people either assume it is not kept up-to-date and therefore may not enquire as they might not feel they will get a speedy response, or that you are not very popular and so they question the quality of the place; ie why don't they have any bookings already. Probably neither of these is true, but they illustrate the importance of keeping your calendar up-to-date.
To block out dates just go to www.takeabreak.com.au/ologin.htm, log in, click on your property name, go to 'Calendar & Enquiries' tab, select the dates on the calendar and click 'no vacancy'. You can also very simply prevent multiple enquiries for the same dates by just clicking on the 'block these dates' link in the enquiry email.
A good conversion reflects a property that successfully sells itself to visitors and therefore the ranking of properties on TakeABreak.com.au is mainly based on conversion rate. Properties with better conversion are listed at the top and get considerably more enquiries and therefore more bookings.
Location map - Each property has the ability to add a location map to the listing, this can be in an image form that visitors can click on to see more specifically where you are located or you can link to ‘where is’ (check the accuracy of their map before you link). This is key if visitors are looking for accommodation that is in a certain area, or simply they want to make sure they know how to get there. You can add and update your map under the ‘Details’ tab in the operator administration section.
Detailed descriptions and locality information - TakeABreak provides a great deal of space for you to add detailed descriptions and other information about your property - make sure you take advantage of this. It's a good idea to copy existing text from your website or brochure if you have one. You can also customise the ‘headings’ for each section so that they are appropriate for your listing.
Accommodation type - TakeABreak allows you to list your property under multiple property types eg Holiday apartment, Self-contained apartment and Serviced apartment. Different people search using different terms, so making sure you are listed under all appropriate categories will help people to find your listing.
Themes and activities - Are you listed under all the ‘themes’ that apply to your property? Go and take a look at what ‘themes’ are available under the ‘Themes & Facilities’ tab. There is no charge for listing under multiple themes and it makes it much easier for visitors looking for a particular type of experience to find just the right place to stay. For tips on listing under themes, check out our 'theme checklists'.
Facilities - Have you made certain that all the facilities that your property offers are listed? Visitors are able to search for particular facilities eg wheelchair or childrens playground, so make sure you go to the ‘Themes & Facilities’ tab and check all the facilities that you have.
Rates - Make sure you have clear and detailed pricing for each season, is the price per night, per week, per person, per room? How many people can you accommodate in each room? Is it clear on which dates your high, low and mid season pricing operates, do you have weekend packages or special mid-week offers? Ask a third party (someone not working in your business) to take a look at your pricing and ensure that it makes sense. Having detailed pricing can increase the number of qualified enquiries as people can see that they can afford to stay with you before making an enquiry. Please ensure your rates are accurate - that is why we have allowed you to enter them in free-form. Our visitors don't complain about much, but what does make them angry is rates provided by properties that are out-of-date or differ from subsequent emails.
Best Deal Guarantee - The 'Best Deal Guarantee' icon means for that particular property, no better retail price for the package offered is available anywhere else at the time (whether on the web, through a real estate or travel agent or over the phone). Visitors can book through TakeABreak confident that they will get the cheapest price available for your particular property. Properties which show the 'Best Deal Guarantee' icon formally guarantee that their property cannot be found advertised for a cheaper rate anywhere else for the same room, timeframe and number of people. Last minute prices advertised elsewhere are only matched if visitors are making a last minute booking through TakeABreak. To activate ‘Best Deal Guarantee’ for your property go to the ‘Rates & Specials’ tab and make your selection then scroll to the bottom and click on OK to save.
Deals - Make your specials time limited and really specific ie 2 nights for the price of 1 ($100) only until 31 July or 25% discount per night of bookings of 3 nights or more until xxx. Perhaps indicate what level of discount this equates to and reiterate how many people could be accommodated for that amount. Ensure the information is detailed but not confusing - keep it simple. Deals are different to ‘last minute’ discounts (see below).
To add a special, log in, click on your property name and then click on the 'Rates & Deals' tab. Enter a description of your deal, which needs to be up-to-date and specific, for example "10% off cabin accommodation for the month of June" or 'Book two nights, stay a third night free'. You then enter a date in the 'deals valid to' box and click OK at the bottom of the page.
To offer a last minute discount (and therefore show on our last minute pages) you enter a last minute discount percentage (minimum 15%) and a cut-off date, then click OK.
Last Minute - If you are prepared to offer a discount to fill unused rooms at short notice, then don’t forget to put your last minute offer in, this is something that some visitors specifically search for and can really impact your occupancy. Research also shows that conversion rates for last minute stays are higher. Add this to your listing via the 'Rates & Specials' tab.
Step 2 Maximise your conversion of enquiries into bookings
Responding to enquiries - make sure you respond as quickly as possible, and most certainly within the response timeframe you have set. The single largest complaint we receive from visitors is that operators do not reply in a timely fashion. Perhaps follow an email by a phone call the next day to ensure they received your email and find out if they have any questions, require more information or have made a decision about where to stay (at this point, if they have chosen elsewhere, you have nothing to lose by asking what helped them make the decision).
For more information see our how to respond to enquiries page.
Next step - Make sure that you make it clear to potential guests what the next step is, ie how do they confirm their booking? Do they need to pay a deposit, what are payment options etc. See Online Payment System below for some more suggestions.
Customise your response - Use the free text area in the 'body' of your response to answer any specific questions the enquirer asked. Even if they didn't ask for anything specific, add a personal touch that shows you're interested in their holiday. For example mention the weather or an interesting activity that would suit their group or requested dates.
Adding personal touches is a very powerful way to create a connection with potential guests, which leads naturally to confirmed bookings.
Clinching the deal - Perhaps the best thing is not to give everything away in advance, but save something, like the welcome hamper or a bottle of champagne to offer as a 'clincher' once someone enquires... a 'sweetener' to convert them. This could be anything from whatever special you currently have to a late check out, or whatever you feel is appropriate.
Incorrect contact details - Sometimes the person who is enquiring will incorrectly type their email address. Unless it is an obvious typo, such as Bigpong rather than Bigpond, then there is nothing that we can do, we have exactly the same information that you do.
We do also recommend that you give the enquirer a courtesy phone call to follow up, about 24 hours after your initial response if you haven't already heard back from them. This will highlight those cases where your email didn't get through (eg blocked by enquirer's spam filter). You may also learn the reasons the enquirer chose not to proceed. However, please make sure this call is brief and unintrusive.
Taking a deposit - wherever possible we suggest you take a deposit to confirm the booking. For short notice bookings you may prefer to request full payment in advance. Our Online Payment System makes it easy to do this (but you fully control the system and the deposit request is only sent when you decide to).
Availability - You can’t convert an enquiry if you are full. Keep your calendar up-to-date on the 'Calendar & Enquiries' tab - there is no point receiving enquiries for dates that you are already full, as this will annoy the person making the enquiry (and effectively rob other properties listed on the site of the potential to make bookings). To help with this, the default when you make a ‘not available’ response to an enquiry is to block out your calendar.