How to Handle Repeat Guests Using Beyond Pricing
We are often asked how to deal with repeat guests after starting with Beyond Pricing.
Guests who look to book your listing for the same time period next year will see that rates have jumped quite a bit now that your pricing is driven off of supply and demand rather than your historical bookings. This will generally come as a shock to those guests and this article will explain how you can avoid that.
We understand the value in accepting repeat guests - you build your brand and relationships with your guests. It's an easy way to guarantee occupancy and generate referrals, however, it comes with a cost.
The Opportunity Cost
From a revenue management perspective repeat guests actually limit your potential revenue, especially if these guests are booking during high season. Beyond Pricing automatically takes into consideration the relevant market factors to ensure you get booked at the highest possible price. This means prices year over year will increase and those who book far in advance should also pay a premium.
Therefore by offering a discounted rate, the same rate, or limited surcharge for repeat guests you are actually leaving money on the table for you and your owners. For that reason we recommend only encouraging repeat bookings for low or mid-season where the impact of an arbitrary rate is reduced. Additionally, not increasing pricing year over year already leaves you at a disadvantage due to natural inflation.
Creating a Policy
However, if you do want to continue building a book of repeat guests then we recommend coming up with a Repeat Guest Policy that clearly outlines the requirements for a better rate. Below are a few important items to consider when coming up with a policy of your own:
- Setting a timeframe of when repeat guests need to book by in order to take advantage of a Repeat Guest Rate
- For example: Guests must book two weeks from their departure date
- Requiring Guests to book with you directly
- Thus avoiding the OTA fees and reducing the opportunity cost of the Repeat Guest Rate
- Different rate for different seasons
- High season Repeat Guest Rates should be an increase of 10-20% year over year
- Low to mid-season Repeat Guest Rates should be an increase of 5-10% year over year
- Using the deposit or right-to-reserve method
- Guests can reserve the right to book certain days by putting down a deposit but the dates must be booked by a set date in the future
- For example, a guest has 2 weeks to put down a deposit on a percentage of the expected total cost for next year. They have the right to fully book those days within the next three months before those dates are made available to the public. After the 3 month mark the dates are made available to the public but the deposit still applies to the reservation if booked by the repeat guest. In this scenario you can make the deposit refundable if cancelled before 3 months.
Property managers who find a lot of success with this will have their Guest Relations team proactively reach out to known or potential repeat guests explaining this policy. This way the shift to dynamic pricing is upfront and isn't perceived as greedy or a lack of value in building a relationship. This also helps to drive those guests away from the OTA's so they don't see a much higher price than they paid for this year.