Booking.com introduces weekly and monthly rate plans

Worldwide: Booking.com is introducing two new rate plans to satisfy evolving customer demand for longer stays and help its partners to drive occupancy: weekly rates and monthly rates.

According to the platform, the weekly rate plan requires a minimum length of stay of seven nights, and for the monthly rate plan, a length of stay of 28 nights is the minimum requirement. Its partners can set them as foundational rate plans with the flexibility to provide them based on their business needs, time of the year and cancellation policy of choice.

In addition, Booking is also launching a pilot programme in select cities around the world to enable guests to book stays that are longer than 30 nights in the same reservation.

As various traveller segments such as traditional business travellers, digital nomads, expatriates and students increasingly seek out longer stays in times of such turbulence, and asset classes such as vacation hotels and hotels are seemingly set up to capitalise on the extended stay segment.

That is the view of Gianbattista Vespucci, commercial director at Booking.com, when quoting a report from Kalibri Labs and The Highland Group.

The report highlights how guests staying seven consecutive nights or longer are spending 57 per cent more at traditional hotels than guests at serviced apartments / extended-stay hotels. Additionally, its findings show that traditional hotels are hosting 28 per cent more extended-stay room nights than serviced apartments, further demonstrating consumer appetite for long-stay product offerings.

Vespucci believes that the trend can realistically extend to vacation rentals, given that 40 per cent of Booking.com’s new bookings in the second quarter of this year were for alternative accommodations. Though the figure may have been higher due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, travellers are now more than ever prioritising their privacy, space and self-service which come with such property types, especially if they are to stay there longer from now on.

Vespucci said in a company blog: “The reality is, in today’s travel landscape accommodation providers should explore every growing segment possible in order to fill rooms. The rise in long-stay demand offers partners an opportunity to reach and capture new markets – such as domestic vacationers, families, remote workers and expatriates, to name a few – while boosting occupancy and increasing revenue.

“Along with helping partners secure revenue for a longer horizon, long-staying guests can defray labour costs associated with constant room turnover and decrease operational hassle. From reservation management and check-ins to cleaning, operations are a big part of guest management. With long-stay guests, that operational pressure is decreased while maintaining occupancy,” he added.

Booking.com’s research revealed that one of the main factors why leisure travellers are opting for longer length stays is because they want to relax and enjoy piece of mind in one place, rather than having to move from place to place on a regular basis. Equally, this suits more of a work-from-home [WFH] or digitally nomadic lifestyle that growing numbers of professionals are now craving after months out of their offices.

Furthermore, it has brought attention to how traveller preferences between vacation home bookers and hotel bookers.

While home bookers supposedly put more emphasis on privacy and their ability to be self-sustainable with included equipment,  hotel bookers are believed to generally expect professional services which enable them to switch off from their everyday life.

In Booking.com’s words, partners can utilise weekly rates throughout the year depending on their occupancy needs. Monthly stays can be adjusted to individual business models, seasonality, location of the property and revenue goals.

In related news for the online travel agency, Booking.com announced an extensive round of layoffs at the start of August, with 25 per cent [roughly 4000 employees] believed to have been affected.