Every accommodation provider has to deal with occupancy dynamics. Doesn't matter if it's a big chain hotel or small independent family-run BnB, at some point occupancy drops. There are a few things, that can help to reduce the dramatic change in demand. Keep reading the post and learn how to increase a hotel occupancy.
Hotel occupancy dynamics
Most of the times, the biggest drop in demand is influenced by seasonality. Hotels, that usually run at full capacity during the summer, can suffer quite a bit during the off-season. Properties, located around the seaside or mountain areas are the first ones to feel the decrease of guests.
Another visible occupancy drop is on the weekdays. Weekends usually are fully booked, especially if those are high-season weekends. However, when the weekend is over, the occupancy drops and hotel is left with empty rooms.
Sudden and dramatic change in occupancy can be influenced by the happenings in the city/country. Various strikes, political unrests, terror attacks and similar actions will influence the hotel occupancy with no doubt. But these factors are something, that you can't prepare in advance or you can't really do anything about them.
However, you can do something about the low occupancy during the weekdays and in low-season.
How to increase hotel occupancy during weekdays?
- First of all - find out who would be your weekday audience. It might be families, senior travellers, business travellers, backpackers and etc. If you are using Property Management System, then the data is at your fingertips. You must be able to get preliminary information about your guest types and their travelling habits.
➼ You might notice, that on weekdays you receive more guests from a particular country. Then it's time to partner up with some travel agency specialising in that region and ensure that number of guests would increase.
➼ If you see that during the weekdays your main guest audience is business travellers, then make sure to have a special price offer for them and partner-up with some companies that would offer your hotel as the stay option for their employees.
- Special offers. Make sure to have various packages that you can offer for your guests during the weekdays. It might include theatre tickets, city tour, or dinner at the local restaurant. Encourage people to visit your city during the weekdays as then there are less tourists and it is easier to visit the most famous places.
- Create and offer long stay discounts. This will tempt your guests to book for a longer time and stay during the week. Once the guest booked just a weekend-long stay, send them an e-mail and encourage to prolong the stay by offering a nice discount or a value adding service.
- Use gamification technique and create a contest on social media. The prize for the winner is stay at your place, but only during the weekdays. You just need to find a smart way to advertise the whole idea so people would be tempted to win the mid-week break and stay at your hotel.
- Mid-week weddings. Some people would like to get married during the week. Most of the times, it is cheaper than weekend wedding. And it's also easier to pick the date, location and suppliers that would be available. If your hotel has a nice garden or overall design is impressive, then it would be very easy to host mid-week weddings.
Fighting the low season is a little bit more complicated than filling up your hotel during the weekdays. However, it's still possible when the correct strategy is being applied.
How to increase hotel occupancy during low season?
- Make your property "visible" all year around. Host events, rent spaces for conferences, organise exhibitions and etc. These venues will create a buzz around your place doesn't matter what time of the year. Plus, participants of those events might stay at your hotel as well.
- Work together with local restaurants. This way, you can offer a great package which includes not only the accommodation but also a dinner in one of the famous restaurants. This will help to keep the business alive off-season not only for you, but also for the catering places.
- Have special pricing packages for corporate partners. Business trips are happening all year around. So if you partner-up with some companies, you can be ensure to receive guests any time of the year.
- Is there any big event happening in your city? Make sure to have pricing strategy ready in advance. If it's a big event (Formula 1, festivals, concerts...), people will need a place to stay. Yes, it will be a short visit, but with the good pricing and a bit of advertising, you can have 100% occupancy for those few days.
It is challenging to come up with the right strategy and fight the occupancy drop. But it's possible. Golden rule is: don't lower your rates just to attract more guests. That's not a solution, because you will create a wrong impression about your hotel and people will have low expectations. This will harm your business and in time the occupancy will drop even during the busy seasons. You need to have a Pricing strategy in place and be aware on what is going on around, so you can quickly adjust and keep your hotel occupancy rates high at all times.