Top 10 Activities for Effective Hotel Autumn Campaign Forward Planning

In our previous article we discussed strategies to try and avoid having to fill your hotel’s rooms at the last minute. A key tactic was planning content, promotions and offers for the year ahead on a rolling 12 month basis. In this article we have compiled our top ten tips to help you drive occupancy and revenue in the Autumn period. 
1. Review Last Year's Performance 
Resist the temptation of jumping straight into this year’s activities – time spent reviewing last autumn’s results will bear great dividends. We love the start, stop continue methodology. Analyse booking patterns, occupancy rates, and revenue from the previous autumn season and try and attribute them to offers, promotions or campaigns you ran. Identify any gaps or periods of lower occupancy compared to expectations. Then for each activity consider its effectiveness and whether you should scrap it, continue it or start afresh with a new approach. 
2. Research & identify your target audience 
The aim of this planning is to get bookings now for 3 or 4 months hence. Consider who is likely to make that kind of commitment. Young professionals tend to make decisions much closer to the time of stay and families* have just had Summer holidays, so these are not ideal segments to target for early Autumn. More suitable segments would be time-rich, affluent retirees and activity-oriented guests. Good examples to target, depending on your location, would be golfers, gardeners, walkers or culture vultures. *Keep these in mind and design packages or promotions and write & optimise content now focussed on midterm break and Halloween. 
3. Early Bird Promotions and Special Offers 
Start an ‘Early Bird’ promotion on your owned direct channels exclusively- website, social and phone. By offering discounts and special packages/experiences for guests who book early and directly with the hotel for their autumn stays, as well as helping secure base bookings for the season ahead, you are also getting those bookings through your most profitable channels. 
Also, having a ‘modify my booking’ option on the booking engine is a clear advantage here so that early bookers can rearrange their stay if their plans change, without having to cancel.  
4. Targeted Marketing Campaigns 
Once created, these exclusive offers can be promoted via email marketing to your loyal past guest database and by retargeting new visitors to your website, as well as to your social followers.  
Segment your target audience and target with segment specific offers, such as Active Retired multi-night packages, golf inclusive offers etc. Spotlight these special autumn promotions and packages on your website now with an Autumn ‘Sale’ offer group and segment specific offer groups. Invest in PPC and raise awareness via social media ads targeting your key demographics, using autumn visuals and emphasising seasonal activities available in your location. 
5. Update and Optimise Your Online Presence 
Refresh your website content with autumn-themed keywords to improve search engine visibility. Publish blog posts or articles about autumn attractions and events in your area. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and has an easy booking process. Update images and descriptions to reflect the autumn season. 
6. Leverage Local Events and Partnerships 
Bear in mind that hotels are not the only businesses looking for seasonal clients. September, October (and even November) see many Autumn themed festivals and markets and even some early Christmas shopping opportunities. Partner with local event organisers to offer exclusive deals for attendees. Promote these partnerships on your website and social media. 
7. Reward Loyalty Offer extra points or special perks for loyalty guest who book 
during the autumn period. Promote these benefits through your marketing channels. 
Encourage current guests to refer friends and family by offering incentives or even a discount code for successful referrals. This also helps to build a community who will likely stay with you again at other times of the year. 
8. Monitor and Adjust Strategies 
Unfortunately, digital strategies are not set and forget. Booking demand, occupancy and rates will need to be monitored and campaigns tweaked in order to get the most effectiveness from them. Google Analytics is your ally here as you will be able to track website visits, bounce rates and conversions when a promotion goes live. If you are running an Instagram ad for example, you can track traffic from that platform – if it’s not cost effective then change the content or the audience type.   
9. Food tie ins 
If you have a strong food and beverage offering, use your menus to create a buzz around Autumn. The season has a strong attraction for many people as the weather cools, the leaves turn and more hearty food starts to appear in restaurants.  Ask your chef to come up with menus reflecting the change, ideally with locally sourced ingredients. Autumn dining and tasting menus can be part of room and dinner offers which may also appeal to more local customers looking for a convenient night away. 
10. Don’t panic! 
The reason for starting to plan and implement your Autumn campaigns now is to allow plenty of time to drive occupancy during your need periods in the Autumn season. Even with the best promotion strategies, rooms are not going to fill within a few days. This is a long game and it will take time to reap rewards and successful tactics can be repeated in future years.  
By starting early, you remain in control as things can be adjusted if they are not working. The ultimate aim is to avoid having to take drastic action to fill rooms at the last minute with flash sales damaging to your brand and often leading to previous bookers cancelling and rebooking at the lower rate. By starting your Autumn Campaign plans now, you’ll be well ahead come 1st August, when your full focus can turn to your Winter Campaigns and so the cycle begins again!  
If you would like to understand more about how Aró Digital Strategy can support your hotel’s consistent and consecutive growth, please feel free to set up a Discovery Call