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Pushing the alternative accommodation industry beyond its boundaries

When it comes to small partners entering the business, they face stiff competition from big hotel chains and property owners that have a strong foothold in the market. There is need for a level playing field for these partners, says Ritu Mehrotra, country manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com

Booking.com today has over 880,000 reported listings in India, of which over 140,000 are in homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. Globally that number stands at 5.7 million reported listings in homes, apartments and unique places to stay, part of 29 million total reported listings which represents the widest selection of accommodation out there.
The alternative accommodation sector is key to Booking.com’s global business and has demonstrated a high potential for growth, with the number of reported listings in this area growing faster than traditional options. Consider this, on average, seven guests per second are checking into a home, apartment or unique place to stay on our platform globally. With travellers increasingly opting for a stay in non-hotel accommodation, the demand and supply of small-time business and property owners that enter the market with their unique offerings and authentic experiences have grown significantly in India.
However, when it comes to these small partners entering the business, they face stiff competition from big hotel chains and property owners that have a strong foothold in the market given their real estate, monetary backing, experience and technology infrastructure at their disposal. We acknowledge the need for a level playing field for our partners and are increasingly working towards designing and introducing new features to enable a seamless interface experience for them.

Ritu Mehrotra

Increased collaboration
With the growth of the global travel ecosystem and traveller demand for unique stay experiences showing no signs of slowing, increased collaboration between digital travel platforms and properties is key. With over 20 years of experience in this space, Booking.com is singularly positioned to work in true partnership with all of its accommodation providers to pioneer new ideas to shape the future of the travel industry with its partners. We recently unveiled new features that were developed by a team of specialists solely dedicated to ensuring professional short-term rental partners can deliver more great stay experiences to the ever-expanding set of travellers booking alternative accommodations.
Our new and enhanced features are specifically designed to address partner pain points and help professional rental partners grow their businesses. As we look to push the alternative accommodation industry beyond its boundaries, the company is continuously looking for ways to innovate its product to drive new business opportunities for its accommodation partners and showcase the one-of-a-kind benefits of each and every property on the platform.
New tools and product enhancements are directly informed by feedback from our partners and specifically designed to simplify day-to-day management and help professional short-term rental partners welcome more guests by leveraging technology to help property managers market their particular offering on our platform, and grow and maintain revenue. The products and features, which can be explored on, include:
Group opportunity centre: Spot opportunities that apply to all, or some, of the partner’s properties and they can save time making updates with this new tool offering relevant, actionable performance tips for their portfolio. New connectivity tools: Cut down on workload with our new Connectivity features which make it easier for the partner property to manage their business, from key collection to damage deposits, through their software provider.
Features to highlight professionally managed properties: Showcase the property’s professional attributes to guests from the start through a range of new features, including a host score, based on the reviews from the rest of their portfolio, and an external review score, based on guest reviews from trusted sites. We’re also spotlighting the unique facilities of your professional properties including 24/7 contact, keyless check-in, and much more.
Quality rating system: Attract travellers and match guest expectations for the partner’s property with the first-of-its-kind objective quality rating system for the short-term rental industry, similar to that of traditional hotel star ratings, based on their property’s location, size and facilities.
Towards the end of last year we also introduced features that allow for a more versatile, personalised, unified platform to enable short-term rental partners to make across-the-board changes, and leverage time-saving mechanisms to fuel a user-friendly experience. Like Group Connect, which includes a templated guest messaging system and an automatic scheduling system, to help streamline operations. Or Bulk Action Tools that apply changes to all properties in their portfolio with just a few clicks. Partners can set cancellation policies or special offers across all properties, at once, including bulk cancellation policies, bulk promotions and bulk house rules. There also other features like Guest Management, that lets the partner control who books their property with tools like guest requirements, which allow for set information like verified phone numbers (currently available only on mdot, desktop coming soon), address details, number of past stays with Booking.com partners and more and Your Profile, the page that allows partners to add a personalised message about themselves, their properties and the neighbourhoods where these properties are, among others. We know that each place is unique and are deeply committed to providing our partners with technology that helps them to reach more customers and grow their business via our platform in the way that works for them.

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