How to Succeed as a Booking.com Host: Key Tips and Strategies

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 20, 2024

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How to Succeed as a Booking.com Host: Key Tips and Strategies

Airbnb Management Services by Houst | Short-Term Rental Experts

About Houst

Houst is a leading property management company specialising in short-term and medium-term bookings in eight countries. With over 7 years of experience and managing over 300,000 bookings, we help homeowners make the most of their properties.

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Established back in 1996, Booking.com started out in Amsterdam with a focus on hotels. Over time, it's grown into a global platform offering various vacation rentals.

When you list your vacation rental on Booking.com, you tap into a massive global audience, potentially reaching thousands or even millions of travellers. However, competition in the vacation rental market is fierce, so standing out is crucial to attract guests.

Wondering how to thrive on this popular platform? In this article, we’ll share some tips for Booking.com hosts to expand their vacation rental business.

Table of Contents

Why List Your Property on Booking.com

Today, Booking.com is one of the largest platforms for booking accommodations worldwide, with over 28 million listings across 226 countries and territories. It's incredibly popular among travellers, with more than 1.5 million nights booked daily.

Listing your property on Booking.com offers several advantages for hosts. Booking.com presents a valuable opportunity for hosts in the short-term rental business. Compared to Airbnb, Booking.com lists fewer short-term rental properties, which means greater exposure with less competition.

Here are some key features that make Booking.com appealing to hosts:

Free Listing

It costs nothing to list any type of accommodation on the platform.

Control Over Terms 

Hosts can set their own terms and conditions, which guests must agree to before booking.

24/7 Multilingual Support

A support team is available round-the-clock in over 43 languages, ensuring assistance whenever needed.

Guest Vetting

Hosts can establish criteria for guest vetting, allowing them to be selective about who stays at their property.

How Booking.com Works and Its Benefits for You

Joining Booking.com is easy, especially if you're familiar with sites like Airbnb.

  • Listing any type of property is free.
  • You can import details from existing listings, saving time.
  • Setting your own guest rules is possible, as well as ensuring agreement before bookings.
  • Enjoy 24/7 support in over 43 languages.
  • Secure your property with a damage deposit for peace of mind.
  • Guests can message you via Booking.com before booking.
  • Vet guests by setting criteria like verified phone numbers.
  • Report misconduct and block problematic guests.
  • Access Extranet for property management.
  • Use the Pulse mobile app for on-the-go management.
  • Connect your Booking.com account with your channel manager for seamless integration.

How Much Does it Cost to Host on Booking.com?

Listing your property on Booking.com is free, but the platform earns its revenue through a commission from your bookings. They charge a 15% commission on each reservation you receive, deducted from your earnings.

While this commission may seem significant, it's essential to factor it into your pricing strategy. When determining your nightly rate, consider the 15% commission as part of your costs to ensure you still achieve your desired profit margin.

Also, as a host, you're responsible for covering card transaction fees, as Booking.com does not charge these to guests. It's crucial to include these expenses when calculating your overall costs.

To set your listing price effectively, use the formula: Take home rate ÷ (1 - 0.15). For example, if your goal is to earn £100 per night after fees, you should list your property at approximately £118 to accommodate the commission and ensure you cover your costs.

Common Issues with Booking.com and How to Avoid Them

When starting as a Booking.com host, using the platform may be challenging and frustrating. With familiarity, these issues can be effectively managed. Some common problems host face:

Managing Double-Bookings 

Booking.com helps with bookings but does not stop your property from being booked on other sites. To avoid double bookings, it's important to keep an eye on your bookings and update your availability on the platform regularly. Property management companies can make this process easier to manage reservations across different platforms.

Dealing with Last-Minute Cancellations

Hosts should set clear and firm cancellation policies to protect themselves from unexpected guest cancellations when listing their property on Booking.com. Customising cancellation policies, including implementing strict no-refund policies when necessary, can help prevent unnecessary financial loss. 

To provide flexibility, consider offering 'non-refundable' booking options, where guests are charged whether they show up or cancel at the last minute. In cases of no-shows, hosts will still receive full compensation for reservations made through Booking.com, and guests agree to these terms upfront. 

Handling Price Differences

Booking.com frequently runs promotions and offers discounts to its Genius members, such as a 10% discount on selected bookings. These promotions can sometimes affect the advertised price of your listing, which may differ from what you initially set.

To avoid surprises, monitor how promotions align with your set rates. Booking.com offers different promotions, like Mobile and Country Promotions, that can stack with Genius discounts. However, promotions like Deep Deals and Flash Sales may or may not combine with these discounts, so review the platform's notes when setting up new promos.

Hosts are not required to participate in the Genius loyalty program. They can opt-out if they prefer not to offer discounts to guests.

Manage your listings and prices daily to control which rates are advertised. Stay vigilant about incoming revenue to understand how promotions impact your earnings.

How to Manage Guest Payments on Booking.com

When listing on Booking.com, managing guest payments is important. Unlike Airbnb, where guests are usually charged through the platform, hosts on Booking.com often handle payments directly.

Here's how you can handle guest payments:

Payment Options

You can choose your payment policies and offers. If you don't accept credit cards, guests will pay in your local currency upon arrival or departure.

Credit Card Payments

If you accept credit cards, you have the flexibility to charge guests either before arrival or during check-in/check-out, based on the booking policy. You can set up prepayment options in the Policies section of your property's Extranet tab.

Payment Processors

Payment processors like Stripe or Square can be used to facilitate secure credit card payments.

Prepayment Deposits

Even without accepting credit cards, you can arrange prepayment deposits by setting payment deadlines and communicating directly with guests.

Booking.com Payment Solutions

Booking.com offers a payment service for a small fee in select locations. This service guarantees payouts according to your policies and helps prevent fraudulent bookings. They support alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Alipay, and WeChat Pay.

Conclusion 

Booking.com is a top name in the vacation and short-term rental industry, providing a wide range of services to its clients. The platform attracts over 1.5 million paying customers each night, making it a prime choice for property owners looking to consistently host guests.

To maximise reservations, it's essential to list your properties on multiple channels. List your rental property on Booking.com to increase visibility and generate extra revenue.

Hire a property manager from Houst, to manage your rental property easily. Get everything from guest communication and bookings to housekeeping and maintenance handled, allowing you to confidently focus on other aspects of your life or business.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

Commission-Based
Pricing From

12%
of your
rental revenue
The commission depends on
the property profile and location

Complete property management services

We streamline the process of short-term lets and assist in maximising your rental revenue in London.

Listing Management

  • Multi-platform listings
  • Professional photography
  • Listing creation
  • Price optimisation

Guest Management

  • Guest vetting
  • Guest check-ins
  • Linen and toiletries
  • Guest communications

Property Management

  • Cleaning and housekeeping
  • Property maintenance
  • Property insurance
  • Property management software
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