What are holiday bookings?

‘Holiday bookings’ can mean different things to different hoteliers around the world. 

In North America, the term ‘holiday’ is generally used in reference to the festive season. In places like Australia and the UK, meanwhile, a holiday is synonymous with a vacation and can refer to pretty much any getaway, although these trips are understandably concentrated around the Christmas and school holiday periods.In short then, holiday bookings tend to be reservations that are made during peak periods for the hotel industry, such as Christmas bookings.

A better way to manage your holiday bookings

With the help of Little Hotelier, you can focus less on the admin and busywork, and more on creating an amazing guest experience.

Learn more

Why are holiday bookings important?

Because holiday bookings are reservations during peak periods, it’s critical that your small, independent hotel does all that it can to capitalise on the increased demand for accommodation. Make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes.

Take the summer holidays in Europe as an example. Even in June 2020, when the world was still largely in lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, hotel bookings skyrocketed (though the effect of COVID can be seen in the popularity of rural properties in that data set).

Holiday bookings are your true revenue generators, and will often need to cover for the lack of revenue during low and shoulder seasons.

The popularity of these periods can also help you secure early holiday bookings, which can give your property much-needed financial security. What’s more, if a guest books direct you could be paid some or all of the booking fee upfront, which you can invest back into your property long before the guest arrives.

List of holiday booking types 

Not all holiday bookings are created equal. Here are a few different types of holiday booking that you might consider offering at your hotel.

Package holiday bookings

Holiday booking packages see you bundle a room with other products and services – a massage, a meal or drinks, an experience – at a discounted rate. This is a great way to upsell, as it offers a convenient way for guests to secure unique and luxurious experiences.

Cheap holiday bookings

While you do all that you can to maximise your revenue over holiday periods, cheap holiday bookings can help to create buzz about your new or newly renovated hotel or help you to fill rooms particularly early or particularly late.

Early bird holiday bookings

Speaking of filling rooms early, consider offering great value early bird holiday booking packages for a handful of rooms, perhaps until you reach a breakeven point, then work to maximise the revenue you generate on the remaining rooms.

Christmas holiday bookings

For most hotels, there’s no more popular and profitable period than the Christmas holidays. Use historical and competitor pricing data to set your rates, and consider offering themed Christmas packages to enhance both the guest experience and your bottom line.

New Year holiday bookings

Don’t get too distracted by Christmas, as the New Year period can be every bit as popular. This can be a great time to attract group holiday bookings as friends and families travel together to celebrate the new year.

5 ways to boost holiday bookings online

Every hotel puts a focus on peak periods, so boosting holiday bookings online as an independent hotelier is about rising above the noise. Here’s how.

1. Spruce up your website

Your website is your digital storefront, and just like a physical storefront, a tired look might put a customer off. Employ a professional or use a tool like the Little Hotelier’s website builder to create a stunning site that is capable of taking direct bookings.

2. Offer exclusive holiday deals online

Everyone loves a deal, particularly during heavy-spending holiday periods. Lure guests in with an online-only deal that they can only secure by booking direct with you.

3. Create holiday content

Social media is a powerful tool for hoteliers, as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok encourage escapism and FOMO. Creating holiday-specific content can help serve your hotel up to the most relevant eyeballs.

4. Collaborate with local events

If your area is famous for its holiday events, consider sponsoring, partnering or collaborating with an event. By tying your name to it, your hotel will be promoted to people who are in town for it.

5. Personalise guest experience

Your aim should be to give your holiday guests the most amazing and memorable stay possible, as this will encourage return business. During the booking process ask guests key questions, like why they’re in the area or their favourite foods and drinks, then use this information to personalise their experience.

How to manage incoming holiday bookings

If all goes well, the popularity of holiday periods will mean that the overwhelming majority of your rooms will be occupied.

It’s a fantastic result, but one that can make it tricky to manage all of those incoming bookings, particularly for small, independent hoteliers who have hands-on roles and wear a number of different hats.

The solution to this challenge lies in technology. You need a hotel property management solution (PMS) that simplifies booking channel management and automates the busywork to allow you to focus on delivering a high-end holiday experience to your guests.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).