Tips to increase direct bookings to your campsite or glamping site

Tips to increase direct bookings to your campsite or glamping site

Do you want to take more direct online bookings and cut down on the commission you’re giving away?

 

Online travel agencies (OTAs) can be very useful for upping your occupancy in the shoulder months. They can take the sweat out of your marketing efforts, dressing you up in their shop windows and showing you off to thousands of potential visitors without you having to put in too much effort. But with that, you give away fistfuls of cash every time you take a booking from them.

 

While Anytime connects campsites, glamping sites and holiday cottages to a whole host of industry-relevant OTAs and portal sites to give you the choice of where you want to sell your offerings, you may want to concentrate on taking more direct online bookings.

 

Tips

 

  1. We’ve just said that OTAs eat up a chunk of commission every time they push a booking your way, but listing with them can increase the number of people who visit your website direct after hearing about you through them. So, list with them. But you don’t need to put every pitch, pod, room or property up (wink).
  2. Make your website really appealing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or pages and pages long. You just need to succinctly tell potential visitors what you have on offer, why you’re different from the rest and show them some gorgeous (but truthful) photography – it’s always worth investing in a professional photographer as quality images really do sell the dream.
  3. Two little words: Book Now. Make sure you have a prominent Book Now button on every page of your website, it’s the most powerful call to action you have. Don’t make people dig around trying to find it, they’ll turn away and you’ll lose business. Install one of these and your direct online bookings will sky rocket.
  4. Use videos. Footage from your smartphone will do. Talk to camera about what someone can expect from a holiday with you, give them a little tour. Better still, ask a departing guest to leave you a quick video testimonial about their experience. You can offer them a free night on their next stay for their trouble – but the extra business it will push your way will more than make up for the giveaway. Instant video reviews result in more direct online bookings.
  5. Your accommodation is your bread and butter, no question, but today’s discerning guest expects more. Whether it’s a free box of eggs for your camper to cook over a campfire or a personalised welcome hamper on arrival at their glamping pod – think of the little extras that might encourage more direct return business or recommendation to friends. Customer loyalty can only mean good things for you!
  6. Build up a community on social media and email marketing. Share your news and anything anecdotal you might find about the space you occupy. It’s fun to do once you get into it, you’ll find your style and followers help to create a buzz around your business. Encourage your visitors to post their holiday pics and say nice things about you. It works. Engaging with your existing customers is a powerful tool on your road to increasing direct online bookings.
  7. Improving your customer experience includes improving their booking journey. Ignore this at your peril. You need a good online booking and management system at the heart of your business. Your booking process must be responsive to any size mobile device (ours is). It must be intuitive (tick). It must be able to calculate all those extras like dogs and awning hire (check). It must be able to take live payments (like ours) and send out confirmations automatically (yep).

We do have loads more tips but if you’re ready to act on at least tip number 7, contact us now!

Glamping: going somewhere, fast

Glamping: going somewhere, fast

The outdoor market did once wonder if the glamping phenomenon would fall away just as quickly as it had risen. A simple analysis of the term camping in google searches shows that this is very much a fluctuating seasonal search term, but the term glamping is on the steep incline, all over google, all year round.

The outdoor movement has grown massively, but glamping has enjoyed a notable surge in growth as it appeals to camping and hotel lovers alike. It’s the winning of the hotel lover that is boosting this sector so much, attracting a whole new affluent clientele to the outdoor market, securing the glamping industry well into the future.

There have also been questions about the future security of the staycation. Worries withdrawn. World economy, the threat of terror strikes, Brexit, displaced societies and the refugee crisis and political unrest in the UK have all lent themselves to a strengthening of the staycation trend.

The key to staycation success is really about the value and quality of the experience on offer. What seems to be playing right into the hands of glamping business owners is that the holiday destination itself seems to be becoming less important to the glamping demographic than the actual experience itself, giving them the opportunity to constantly evolve and adapt to win the business.

What should you be thinking about if you are launching a new glamping business?

  • Less location, more experience – while the South West still comes in at number one for glamping destinations, make the most of your offering, provenance and experience. Research the type of glamping that is reaching saturation point in your area and go against the grain. Offer the little extras: thought about bush-crafting, bread-making, wine-tasting, weddings?
  • Pricing – hit the right mark; your prospective visitors should already be fumbling for their debit card as they peruse your gorgeous website.
  • Service and facilities – quality all the way. Look at the finer details of everything. MMFS! Make me feel special!
  • Customer expectations – ignore these at your peril. Glamping customers are ‘seekers’, they all want to ‘find’ something. Make sure they don’t leave your site still looking!
  • Connectivity & accessibility – a top class website with an integrated online booking management system to capitalise on online booking behaviours. Part of your success matrix must be a good PMS (property management software).

Anytime Booking will be your perfect PMS; we have put years into becoming specialists in this market. We work in an agile methodology, constantly inspecting and adapting what the development priorities are, keeping in tune with the nuances and fluctuations of the glamping market.

 

Do you want to control access to your park using a barrier system?

Do you want to control access to your park using a barrier system?

Anytime Booking integrates with IDS Group for seamless access control

We are pleased to announce that Anytime Booking is now integrated with IDS Group’s barrier and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) solution. Working with multi-award winning Padstow Touring Park and IDS Group, we have developed a simple access control solution from within the booking system for holiday park and campsite owners who want to fully control who is on site.

Tas Kyriacou, Head of Business Development IDS Group said, “The Anytime Booking software is an excellent tool which is widely accepted in the industry, so it extends the scope of our offer. Together we now provide a one-stop solution for customers who want to increase their business efficiencies. Holiday parks who utilise Anytime software can commission our barrier and ANPR system to seamlessly work in tandem. This first project with Padstow Touring Park gave us the opportunity to work together and take advantage of the benefits of both systems, making life easier for staff and customers.”

Philip Barnes, Padstow Touring Park Director said, “We feel the barrier system is invaluable to our business and having the link between the Anytime platform and the IDS barrier makes booking in faster and cuts out some of the human errors. We are always looking to improve existing systems and to stay ahead of other caravan sites where we can; we feel that we can work with Anytime and IDS Group over the coming years to keep moving with the times and give customers what they want whilst making things easier for the staff to use.”

Vanessa Glossop, Communications Director, Anytime, adds “It is fantastic to be working with IDS Group to give customers like Padstow Touring Park more benefit to the technologies they’ve invested in. While IDS Group can efficiently restrict and manage vehicular access to our customers’ premises with their barrier system, a car registration entered at the point of booking in our system is automatically recognised by the ANPR camera as visitors approach for their holiday, giving them immediate access. The partnership gives further edge to our offering as a booking management platform for holiday parks and larger campsites. ”

If you are interested in a quote for this solution let us know and we will put you in touch with our friends at IDS Group.

Bosinver scoops top award for Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year 2017

Bosinver scoops top award for Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year 2017

Anytime Booking customer Bosinver has just won the Family Friendly Accommodation of the Year category at the 2017 VisitEngland Awards hosted at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in central London. We are delighted for them – this national award is such an achievement, and it is wonderful to have their efforts recognised in this way.

Owner Pat says, “We have previously won the top national award for self-catering, but ‘Family Friendly’ is a new category and it is particularly thrilling to win this award as families are at the heart of our business. We strive to combine luxurious accommodation and facilities for parents with the creation of magical childhood memories for children on our farm.”

The congratulations have been flooding in on social media from guests, many of whom have been holidaying with at Bosinver for years. Check out what a wonderful place to stay it really is at www.bosinver.co.uk.

What Bosinver says about Anytime Booking

“The quality of our booking system is an essential part of our success – it is one of the first experiences our guests have of us so it must be as ‘award winning’ as the other experiences we offer – which it is! We are proud to use a Cornish firm that is going from strength to strength and building and improving the service that offered to us. Thank you, Anytime, for helping us to win this prestigious award.”

How Anytime can help you

1 Install a Book Now button on your website, the most effective call to action there is

2 Share live availability with global third parties like Booking.com, Airbnb and Tripadvisor

3 Increase your visibility on the web to take advantage of the spike in staycations and short-breaks

4 Maximise your booking process to capitalise on mobile browsing

5 Minimise the risk of double bookings

6 Flexible management tools to run your business your way, eg. categorising your inventory, setting your pricing, fixing discounts and occupancy rules, moving bookings

7 Up-sell welcome hampers, logs, activities, dogs, you name it – quickly and easily

8 Improve and automate the way you communicate with your visitors

9 Carve through your admin giving you more time to spend ensuring your guests have a fantastic stay

10 Detailed reception reports (arrivals/departures), housekeeping and financial reports, and owner statements

11 Backed up data and a great team of people behind the product to assist you every step of the way

Are you ready to increase your bookings, streamline your admin and stay ahead?

Take me to church: the rise of champing

Take me to church: the rise of champing

Camping is always marching on, always diversifying, always presenting something new. But who would have thought of putting camping and churches together?

The Churches Conservation Trust, that’s who.

Take a disused church steeped in history. Take friends and families who are always looking for the next adventure, something different, something to feed the soul. Put them together and you have champing. Church camping. A juxtaposed stay as down to earth yet as close to heaven as you’ll ever get.

The Champing churches can sleep from 2 to 16 people. The hire of a church is completely exclusive; you won’t be rubbing shoulders with any strangers, apart from maybe the odd spider or two. Child-friendly, dog-friendly, group-friendly, picnic-friendly, alcohol-friendly, the experience is surely one to consider if you’re looking for an authentic, unforgettable mini-break experience.

Facilities are basic with camping beds, rugs, cushions and camping chairs supplied but you will have to rely on your own bedding and blankets to keep warm. It isn’t fancy yet there is a certain magic and humour about having the free run of a church for a night or two that makes it seem actually quite spoily. Think of it as a massive tent filled with history. Imagine lying there with the moonlight coming through the stained glass windows, pondering awhile on all the people who have paced the flagstones over hundreds of years. Imagine the kids playing hide and seek in the churchyard and swapping spooky stories by torchlight. That is quite something. And to top the Blytonesque experience, a steaming breakfast butty will be delivered to you by a friendly local in the morning. Sold.

Brainchild of Peter Aires, director of the Churches Conservation Trust in the south east, the scheme was piloted in 2014 and launched officially in 2015 with three churches. More than 150 holidaymakers stayed at a champing church that year, including Andrew Flintoff, the former England cricket captain, who documented his overnight stay in Aldwincle on Sky One after England won the Ashes series.

In 2016 the trust opened a further four more churches for their champing experience and nearly 700 guests came through their doors. The movement (for it certainly feels like a movement) is increasing to twelve churches in 2017. It is an imaginative way to generate income to maintain these congregation-less churches while offering a new phenomenon in camping.

Champing is certainly making the press sit up and take notice. It has been featured in the likes of The Times, The National Geographic, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and even on national TV. It really feels like there is a wave to catch here. With a new website launched today at www.champing.co.uk and our online booking facility in place to support them, the Churches Conservation Trust is already ramping up the bookings, even from as far afield as America.

So, are you going to frequent church anytime soon? We most certainly are. Champing. It’s the one to watch.

Will you be providing mild camping next season?

Will you be providing mild camping next season?

A new camping industry trend has been identified by VisitScotland and is set to roll down the length and breadth of the British Isles over the next few seasons.

Dubbed ‘mild camping’, it is a type of camping for people who want to experience the wild outdoors but in a safer environment. It sits somewhere between wild camping and the kind of experience you’d get on a traditional family campsite. So rather than hanging off a cliff edge somewhere by yourself hoping for the best, you might be pitched in a wild field with the landowner within reach for greater security. It provides a down-to-earth, exhilarating experience without the worry.

It is almost anti-glamping, the other end of the scale. No marked-out pitches will be necessary, electrical hook-up will be a no-no, campfires a must. Mud won’t be frowned on, facilities can be dressed down and basic. The phenomenon opens a new world to landowners, holiday parks and campsites already in business or those starting out. It lends an opportunity to re-evaluate land stock, rebrand, or launch a business in a more environmentally sustainable way.

In an age of increased digital immersion and fast-paced living, the desire among consumers to escape to the simplicity of the great outdoors is staggering. Some are turning their backs on holidays abroad completely in favour of camping among the undulating hills and hedgerows of our fair isle. This gives the camping industry both the need and the opportunity to continually diversify, which is good news for camping businesses and good news for us. Mild camping is a new craze within the industry but it most certainly won’t be the last.

If you are a camping business looking for an online booking system to get you connected to the right marketplace and with the functionality to keep your business up with the changes, sign up to Anytime Booking now. We are the camping people.