One of the harsh truths of the hospitality industry is that your hotel business depends on seasonality. No matter how good your hotel is, or what discounts and schemes you offer, off-season occupancy for hotels will always be lower than that be peak season. As a hotel owner and revenue manager, you need to always take this period into account.
The peak season is considered the be the best time for hotels since you can achieve full occupancy and also gain more revenue compared to the off-season. That’s why hotels try to make the most out of the peak season, as they have the most occupancy in this period.
Does that mean that you cannot increase off-season occupancy for hotels? Of course, you can! However, you need to follow some strategies to make the most out of the low-season period.
What Is Off-Season For Hotels?
Before we get into the topic, we need to understand what is low season for hotels and why should you increase off-season occupancy for hotels. The low season is the period when the hotel gets less business compared to the peak season. The reason for this can be broadly classified into two Cs - Climate and Calender.
Climatic conditions greatly impact the appeal of a holiday destination throughout the year. For example, visiting Delhi during summer is not considered a great idea, but it can be pleasant if visited during winter. Hence, during summers, there will be lower occupancy for hotels in Delhi. Hence, it will be off-season at that time.
Another factor that impacts bookings is the calendar. Off-season occupancy for hotels generally happens when there are no extended holidays. For example, During Diwali break, kids have holidays and offices give extended weekends too, hence, more travel.
Keeping these factors in mind, we can now get to the main topic.
9 Ways To Increase Off-Season Occupancy For Hotels
As a hotelier, you need to make the most even out of the most difficult times to stay ahead of the competitors. Any bookings are better than no bookings, so you should not miss any opportunity that comes your way. Here are some ways to increase off-season occupancy for hotels!
1. Repeat Guests - Your Trumpcard
Repeat guests are your biggest assets - since they can provide you with returns multiple times. Hotels should ignore them at their peril. They are your biggest investment since they have a great ROI, along with increasing off-season occupancy for hotels.
Repeat guests often recommend your property to their social circle, hence gaining you new potential guests. They also know the hotel well. so even if there is some goof-up in services, they will be more willing to forgive it, since they know that you will make up for it.
Repeat guests can be encouraged to book a room at your property during the off-season. You can encourage them through customer loyalty programs, off-season offers and more.
2. Make Your Hotel Multipurpose
Your hotel does not need to be only for rooms, it can be used for many other things as well. For example, you can use your lawn and halls for weddings, parties and other events. If you have a conference hall, then nothing like it! You can approach corporates and get bulk bookings from them.
If you have some extra space, voila! You can make a common room where multiple guests can relax, with chairs, books and more. With this strategy, you can increase off-season occupancy for hotels. Diversifying that has been a sure-shot strategy to increase revenue and profits. Your hotel business will expand as you offer more to the guests.
3. Offer Customer Loyalty Programs
Customer Relationship Management is a two-way street. You cannot expect repeat guests if you don't offer them rewards for repeat bookings. This is where the customer loyalty program comes into play.
These programs will encourage hotel guests to book your hotel when they want to go to a destination. Loyalty programs can involve upgrades, complimentary services and more. It is the best way to increase off-season occupancy for hotels.
4. Organize And Promote Events
We have already discussed the importance of diversification. Organizing events at your hotel is one of the best ways to reduce dependency on room inventory. If you have space, you can host various events such as concerts, music shows, comedy gigs and more.
This strategy has a risk though since they require additional investment, which may or may not pay off - plus you need to promote these events extensively and intensively. However, if you can tap into it, you can create a revenue stream for hotels during the off-season as well.
If fact, if events are happening in your local area, you can capitalize on them too! You can partner up with the sponsors, and also give discounts to those who will be attending these events.
5. Run Discount Offers And Promotions
The off-season is the perfect time for hotels to introduce discounts. Hotel guests love discounts and a great deal on stay will attract guests during the off-season. You can also offer fabulous discounts for corporates, families and business travellers. This increases off-season occupancy for hotels
Think of it this way, off-season hotel occupancy is lower than peak season. So if you don't give discounts, you will not get guests, which means abysmally low revenues. By offering discounts, you do reduce revenue per room on paper, but with more bookings, revenue per room increases with an increase in overall revenue.
You can promote several offers such as “Book this Saturday and get Sunday free!”, “Get 3 glasses of wine complimentary at our restaurant”.
6. Tweak Your Cancellation Policy
Cancellation policies are a major part of the hotel revenue strategy. A faulty cancellation policy can lead to a loss of hotel revenue. To increase off-season occupancy for hotels, you need to tweak them in favour of the guest, slightly. This will encourage them to book your rooms, knowing that they can have an easier refund if they do choose to cancel.
However, one should emphasize the word ‘slightly’ as too much flexibility can tempt guests to be irresponsible and take undue advantage. Devise a cancellation policy keeping revenue management in mind.
7. Make Your Hotel All-Season
The best way to beat low-season blues is to try to make your hotel an all-season one. For example, if your hotel’s location is popular during monsoon, you can offer them a rain dance and various other activities. Pool parties can be a great help for beach resorts that offer revenue loss during monsoon seasons.
You need to club these strategies with discounts and promotions. However, there is a limit to this strategy. For example, not many people will like to come to beach resorts during monsoons to experience a pool party, unless you make it tempting enough.
8. Run Remarketing Campaigns
Remarketing campaigning is a great way to reach out to previous guests, and convert them into repeat guests. With remarketing, you can reduce abandonment rates and convert leads into customers. These ads can be used to direct visitors to your website, which is the best engine for direct bookings.
Your remarketing campaigns should be based on offers, discounts and complimentary amenities to encourage hotel guests to stay at the property during the off-season. You can also offer them membership in loyalty programs.
9. Email Marketing For Target Audience
One of the major changes in marketing has been the shift from mass media marketing toward digital marketing. This has led to a demand for personalized marketing for hotel guests. With the help of email marketing, you can make it more personalized with offers based on the target audience.
You can make separate email marketing campaigns for corporates, families, young professionals and couples. This way, you can tailor your marketing strategy to get maximum conversions rather than spamming the mailboxes.
With the help of effective email marketing, you can increase off-season occupancy for hotels by making it attractive for the guests to book your stay.
With these strategies, you can increase your hotel occupancy during the off-season. A hotelier can make use of any season by adopting the right strategies. Bigfoot Hospitality is the one-stop solution to all your hotel revenue and management needs!
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