As people’s browsing habits shift towards mobile devices, it is important for STR hosts to be aware of Booking.com’s “Mobile-Only Price Rates” feature. This feature allows you to offer a special discounted rate that is only visible when someone uses the Booking.com app or accesses the platform from a mobile browser. By using Mobile Rates, allegedly you as a host can increase bookings from mobile devices by up to 22%.
What is Booking.com mobile-only rates?
Booking.com mobile-only rates are an option for hosts to provide an exclusive discount of 10% or higher for mobile users. This belongs to the so-called targeting promotions on Booking.com, which also includes Country rate:
To activate mobile-only rates, all you have to do is set a discount for mobile users. Be careful! Mobile rates stack upon other discounts you have on your listings, so plan appropriately.
If you feel stuck with vacation rentals pricing strategies, reach out to Your.Rentals customer success managers. They can look into your pricing with a fresh eye and propose a promotion plan for your BNB. If you are already a user of our platform, they can even set up mobile-only rates for you.
By activating Booking.com mobile-only rates, you can tap into the valuable and expanding traveller segment.
Interesting fact: many professional hotel accounts do use mobile discounts.
Once you’ve done this, a special green badge will appear next to your property in search results and on your property page. This helps increase your visibility and can improve your conversion rate for mobile bookers.
Why mobile guest traffic on Booking.com matters?
More and more people are using their smartphones to plan and book their trips. In 2015, 42% of travellers worldwide used a smartphone to book their trip. In 2022 this share grew to 60% (according to Booking.com releases).
70% of mobile searches result in an online action within an hour of the original search.
When it comes to booking travel accommodations, connected travellers (users browsing from mobile devices) care more about reviews and ratings than amenities and promotions. They want to know what other travellers have experienced before making their own decisions.
This means that if you’re running a short-term rental business, it’s important to make sure that your online presence reflects the positive experiences that your guests have had.
High-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and most importantly, great reviews and high ratings will go a long way in attracting new payable travellers.
5 Benefits of using the mobile rates
There are several benefits of using Booking.com mobile-only rates.
When you list your property on Booking.com, you can expect more bookings in total. This is because you become exposed to the new users who browse the platform through their mobile devices. They see mobile-specific search results. In addition, your listing will be distinguished from other listings due to the visible green badge on each item.
Higher mobile ranking and more reviews
Your listing will have a higher mobile ranking as this is different from the desktop ranking. Millenials and even Gen X users are now more engaged on mobile meaning that they are prone to leave reviews and visitor tips. By linking to this mobile traffic you can tap into new niches and filters at Booking.com.
Bookings happen faster when done on mobile
This is because people don’t postpone the booking process by leaving the open website tab in their mobile browser. As a result, you can expect to get booked up quickly during peak periods when many people are looking for accommodations at the same time.
Rates will apply to mobile viewers only
If someone views your listing on their desktop computer, they will see the regular, non-mobile rates. However, if they view your listing on their smartphone or tablet, they will see the special mobile rates next to the crossed-out original price.
Chance to know your guests better
By tracking guests’ preferences, you can better tailor your services to meet their needs and improve your Booking.com host rating. In the Promotions tab look for the insights that can help you make new pricing decisions.
Booking.com app and mobile web: consider users from both
If you’re looking to reach a wider audience with your mobile rate, consider including mobile web viewers in your target market. This way, you’ll not only reach new customers who use mobile to search on Booking.com for accommodations and they are usually the first-time bookers, but also loyal bookers who come back to the Booking.com app time and time again. Reach 30% more phone users on Chrome, Safari and other mobile browsers.
- Mobile web browsers – are more popular among first-time bookers, as they are 7 times more likely to use them than those who download the app.
- Bookng.com app – provides convenience and exclusive deals and bonuses that can be appealing to returning customers.
Plus, if you change your mind later, you can always adjust this setting.
How to set mobile discount rates for your listings?
You can set your mobile discount rate by logging into accounts on all of your OTA platforms. However, you can add your rates from one place if you use the vacation rentals channel manager to control your listings. Your.Rentals tool allows adding a mobile rate for Booking.com, Expedia and Agoda.
Once you’re logged in, go to your listing and click on the ‘Edit’ button. From there, you can scroll down to the ‘Discounts’ section and click on the ‘Add mobile discount ‘ block.
In the opening popup, you can enter your desired discount percentage for mobile users.
Booking.com recommends 15% for ‘the best result’, but it shouldn’t be lower than 10% to be eligible for mobile ranking on Booking.com.
Click ‘Save rule’ when you are done. And that’s it! You’ve successfully set up mobile-only discounts for your listings.
Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the bookings to roll in. From now on guests booking via mobile devices on Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia (if you made them available) will receive a discount.
How to manage mobile rates on the Booking.com extranet?
- Log into the Booking.com extranet and click on Promotions.
- Choose your new or first promotion.
- Click on Add promotion next to Mobile rate.
- Selecting either App and mobile web or App only to define where your rate will appear.
- Enter the percentage discount you want to offer (10-15%) and choose any check-in dates when you don’t want your Mobile Rate to apply.
- Review everything and then click Activate if everything looks correct.
For full instructions on how to set mobile-only rates on Booking.com visit their help page.
Drawbacks of using the mobile discount rates
The main downside of setting mobile rates on Booking.com is that hosts need to be consistent with their other rates. A host should always remember that the rates stack upon each other.
So, in case there is a weekly rate or a last-minute rate in place, you count it in and make sure you’re not losing money on bookings.
Mobile rates as well stack with Genius Booking.com settings, basic deals and secret deals.
Strategic-wise, mobile rates at Booking.com and some other online travel agencies are an instrument to please travellers at the cost of hosts. Guests expect the listings with ‘Mobile-only price’ badge to be 10% cheaper and in many cases prioritise them.
Even though there are some drawbacks to setting mobile rates, many hosts find that the pros outweigh the cons.
With more and more travellers using their smartphones and tablets to book accommodation, it’s worth considering this promotion if you want to reach a wider audience and please your guests at the same time.