The rise and rise of third party booking websites

Posted in topic Marketing insights on 19th June 2018

It is fair to say that 2018 has been a strange old year for many in the holiday park industry. Compared to 2017, a large number of parks and campsites have noticed a significant drop in bookings and revenue, mainly due to the appalling weather in Spring and Easter that put so many people off booking an early season break.

Although some of this lost ground may have been recouped thanks to a turnaround in the weather of late, many parks have still reported drops of between 10-30%, year-year-on-year. So, what, if anything, can be done? For most parks it could well now be too late in the season to recover that lost revenue (without heavily discounting their offering). Many of their customers who would’ve booked an early season break may have chosen to spend their money on a cheap deal abroad and will not, now, spend on another UK break.

One avenue that many parks are now trying is to target a new kind of audience; one that wasn’t previously open to them – listing their accommodation on third party sites such as booking.com and TripAdvisor.

This has potentially opened their park up to an entirely new audience; one that perhaps wouldn’t have seen caravans, lodges and glamping pods appear in their search results when searching for a holiday.

Opportunities on AirBnb

And now another huge player in the game has joined the party. Air Bnb is set to allow holiday parks, and other providers who have multiple units at the same address, the chance to list on their site. According to prweb.com “technical limitations” had prevented this from happening previously but a new development from NextPax will allow boutique hotels, B&Bs and holiday parks that offer ‘unique guest experiences’ to be accepted on Airbnb.

The multi-unit solution NextPax developed for Airbnb not only updates rates and availability, also the room type inventory is automatically synchronized. The content API enables property managers to build and distribute their units even faster and with more accuracy.

Robert van der Mast, CTO of NextPax said: “Currently we are one of the first channel managers able to provide a multi-unit / category type solution that synchronizes room type inventory, rates and availability between Airbnb and the reservation system. Our technology can automatically build properties from the PMS onto Airbnb maximizing efficiency and reducing time to market.”

Parks owners may well have seen their holiday homes owners listing their properties for rent on third party sites such as booking.com, HomeAway and AirBnb as way of covering some of the costs of owning a property. But now park owners themselves have the opportunity to add a selection of their own units to the market and aiming their products at an audience who may never have considered a stay on a holiday park before.

The only downside to this is the commission that some of these sites take, which can range from 3% up to 18%. But it could be a small price to pay to fill those empty weeks that many have found to be a real challenge so far this year.

Does your park or campsite use a third party booking channel? Have they worked for you? Do you need help with your marketing and support? Call us on 01726 418118 or drop us an email enquiry.