It is very tempting to think that slashing rates will sell more hotel rooms and improve direct bookings.
This may work as a very short-term measure but never in the long run. Guests quickly grow accustomed to the lower prices, which become the new normal, and it is extremely difficult to increase them again.
It's important to know which days, weeks, months and seasons have low occupancy. You can find important insights into those periods by reviewing your hotel's historical data and the annual occupancy forecast.
Understanding the booking behaviour of your guests around these quiet periods will help you to understand what you need to do to boost bookings, and how far in advance. It's advisable to partner with a hotel digital marketing company (such as Aró) which offers services and insights to provide statistics and aggregated information for your independent hotel.
These will help you to forecast what demand conditions are likely to be based on past and current trading circumstances.
1. Target the right audience group
There is a huge difference between a shot in the dark approach and a targeted one.
You need the following information:
- The demographic you cater to
- The type of traveler you appeal to
- Which part of the world your guests are from
- What activities they like to do while staying at your hotel
These insights will help you to identify their search behaviour, demands, channel preferences, rate sensitivity and the reason why your property is a good fit with them.
2. Create promotional packages
Once you have the profile of your target market, you can start designing packages and promotions which will resonate with this specific group.
As you know different guests expect different experiences, and these will vary depending on age, culture background, profession, income, and so on.
Be sure you know everything about your target audience and make them an offer they cannot refuse!
Special packages are perfect for offering added-value to a stay at your hotel and are far more preferable than cutting room rates.
If you offer popular services such as spa treatments, package them with a room for an unforgettable deal which incentivizes guests to book with you.
If there is something happening in your locality which may attract potential guests, again create a package around it which targets a period of low demand.
Providing value in this way is a great strategy for differentiating your luxury brand since you are competing on service and value rather than price.
3. Keep your current guests in the loop
The best way to build a marketing database is through using your online hotel booking engine.
Vouchers are an excellent way to attract new guests and business travelers if you're looking to drive midweek business.
Gathering information from your database helps you to create some insights based on business intelligence.
Stay two nights and get the second one free or at a discount, bundled dining discounts and two for one meal rates are just some possibilities.
In order to customize your packages and vouchers, you can segment the emails in your database. It's better to look at segmenting by ‘reason for travel’ to remind each customer of the bespoke guest experience awaiting them.
4. Promote midweek weddings
With more people working flexible hours, it's becoming more popular to hold weddings, anniversaries, and other events midweek rather than at weekends.
This provides a great opportunity to fill rooms which might otherwise be empty.
A package to get guests to stay overnight after the event, or to stay an extra night if they have already booked, is likely to convert very well.
Having a user-friendly booking engine and an off-peak marketing strategy based on your target audience will generate more revenue and profit by selling hard-to-shift rooms, reducing booking costs, and generating repeat business.