Published on
January 17, 2024

Temporary Decline in Market Demand: How Do You Deal With It as an Accommodation Provider in Flanders?

In the realm of Flanders, a shifting tide in COVID-19 figures has cast a shadow over market dynamics, particularly impacting the hospitality sector's market demand. A closer look at data from Market Insight reveals a recent decline in market demand within Flanders over the past week. A comparison to the figures from four weeks ago paints a stark picture of this substantial downturn. Looking ahead, the next four weeks project that a notable 80% of accommodations in Flanders are still open for reservations, signaling an unsettling underutilization.

Additionally, a dip of 4% in lead time for upcoming travel within the next 30 days further emphasizes this trend. Comparing this scenario to the volume of Google searches for lodgings showcases a current level that remains below pre-pandemic standards (presently at 41/100, contrasting with 55/100 in November 2019). The graph's red line symbolizes the demand for hotels, while the blue line reflects the demand for B&Bs. This reiterates that the market demand is once again facing a notable downturn.

However, amidst this challenging landscape, it's essential to understand that this doesn't signify a dead end. Lodgings still have the power to take meaningful actions that can help maintain or even elevate their revenue. Here are four avenues to explore:

1. Fine-Tuning Your Pricing Strategy

Crafting an effective pricing strategy presents itself in two distinctive approaches. For smaller lodgings, a manual method involves consistent data analysis and monitoring, allowing for daily price adjustments. The outdated notion of a standard seasonal price becomes irrelevant. Alternatively, the adoption of a price intelligence software opens doors to aligning room prices with market fluctuations. This empowers you to intervene promptly when circumstances shift. Such data can also guide in setting realistic benchmarks, enabling you to track and compare your lodging's performance.

2. Amplify Direct Bookings

The allure of direct bookings lies in their economic benefits, devoid of commissions paid to online travel agencies (OTAs). Elevating direct bookings hinges on one's online visibility, which encompasses both a robust website and a Google My Business account. A robust website and a well-executed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy become the backbone of generating increased bookings. For a short-term SEO boost, the implementation of a Google Ads campaign could be a prudent choice.

3. Embrace Upselling Opportunities

A potential avenue for bolstering revenue lies in maximizing the value of existing customers. A comprehensive upselling approach can play a pivotal role in this endeavor. Many guests are amenable to investing in extra amenities to enhance their experience. From late check-ins and early check-ins to parking, champagne, romantic settings, and local products – the possibilities are diverse.

4. Decoding Booking Engine Optimization (BEO)

BEO introduces a novel way to heighten your lodging's visibility on booking engines through an innovative algorithm. One of the most prevalent misconceptions among accommodation proprietors revolves around the belief that their position on booking platforms hinges solely on customer ratings. Consequently, many operators concentrate solely on garnering impeccable service-driven high scores. However, this obsession with scores can lead to a digital blind spot, causing owners to overlook vital aspects of owning a hotel or B&B.

In the past year, our journey led us to develop an algorithm designed to optimize accommodations within booking websites. This breakthrough came to fruition while collaborating with a charming B&B nestled in Bruges. Surprisingly, amidst the backdrop of a full-blown corona crisis and a second Belgian lockdown, the B&B experienced a remarkable surge in revenue, bookings, occupancy rates, and daily rates throughout 2021 compared to the previous year (2019).

With the advent of Otamiser algorithm, the prospects of elevating your accommodation's ranking become a reality. This translates to an enhanced likelihood of your establishment appearing higher in search results compared to competitors when potential customers search for accommodations in your region. This, in turn, significantly influences monthly revenue, occupancy rates, daily rates, and booking numbers. BEO offers accommodations the means to tap into their fullest potential.

Today, exceptional service alone isn't the sole differentiating factor in the competitive landscape. Embracing a thoughtfully crafted BEO strategy emerges as the contemporary pathway to securing higher bookings and daily rates, thereby carving your unique niche in the hospitality arena.

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