Ensuring optimum occupancy rate throughout the year is vital to a hotel’s success.
It refers to the percentage of rooms occupied on any night. The occupancy rate along with revenue per available room (RevPAR) and total profit, indicates the financial health of your hotel business.
Hoteliers love the peak season as it offers maximum occupancy as there is a huge influx of guests due to high demand. However, this is bound to change with shoulder or mid-season, and then the off or the low season. It is a huge struggle to maintain a decent occupancy during the whole year. Such fluctuations can be seasonal or event-based such as during a pandemic, or some local events. In this blog, we will look at a few strategies that you can leverage to increase occupancy rate at your hotel.
How to determine your hotel’s occupancy rate?
The occupancy rate is determined by dividing the number of occupied rooms by the total number of available rooms. This rate can be calculated on any basis - daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly as suitable for your business. A higher occupancy rate defines good business and a busier hotel.
The occupancy rate can help you know the period during which there is a huge demand for rooms in your hotel. This is an integral deciding factor in determining the pricing strategy for your business. You can establish special packages as per the occupancy rate and further make way for smooth revenue management.
It might seem that promoting discounts during the season of low occupancy can attract more guests, but it is not so. You need to introduce a couple of creative strategies to increase the occupancy rate during the low season.
Best strategies to increase hotel occupancy
Irrespective of the hotel size, every small or big hotel faces challenges to fill up occupancy during the off-season. It is extremely important to be aware of the low season and prepare in advance to face it. You need to have a strong marketing strategy to garner guests during this time.
Every skill from planning to creativity to organizing should be on point to make the most of this low business phase. If you have a good strategy at hand, then you will surely succeed in staying ahead of your competitors and boosting revenue even during the low season.
Let us check out some great ideas to enhance the low occupancy of hotels during off seasons.!
Introduce special marketing strategies for the low seasons
Adjust your marketing strategies to meet the seasons of low demand. For instance, if there is low occupancy during the mid-week, then turn your marketing efforts towards guests who engage in traveling during the weekdays. This may include business travelers, guests coming on a real estate visit, or those coming for trade shows, conferences, etc.
On the other hand, to combat low occupancy on a seasonal basis then opt for coming up with ideas that will attract guests during that time. For example, if your hotel is famous for housing a ski resort offering ski rides and an ice skating rink, then it must be a hit among travelers during winter. However, to attract customers during the summer you can offer an alternative like outdoor pool activities.
Improve your staff and services
Invest in good staff training to beat competition whether it is high season or low season. Introduce special guest services programs to impress customers and prevent them from opting for another property in your region. Educate your sales and marketing teams about guest preferences, motivations, and priorities.
Introduce special offers and packages
Something that works better than mindless discounts is value-added packages. These not only aid in boosting revenue but also attract guests both in peak season and the off-season. Customize packages as per the season to stand out from the crowd. For example, if you have a yoga center and luxury dining facility, then opt for curating a package with a therapeutic session with a special dinner for guests staying beyond 3 days.
Enhance high-demand amenities
Check up your hotel reviews and guest feedback and figure out what they want. Engage your sales and marketing communications teams towards amplifying the quality and quantity of those amenities. For example, if there is a demand for fitness facilities in the gym, then you can capture a greater portion of the guest segment that are fitness enthusiasts. Introduce special gym packages to guests and market the lower-demand amenities with discounts to attract a great market segment of customers.
Amplify efforts towards repeat guests
Your repeat guests are your best assets. The more you make an investment in your marketing strategies aimed toward your repeat guests the more ROI you will earn. Take every step to keep your loyal repeat guests happy with your services. Create loyalty programs for such guests during the off-season so that they end up visiting your property. Email or message your repeat guests intimating them about the loyalty programs offering them special discounts, reward points, offers, etc for the low season.
Use under-utilized spaces for various purposes
If it is difficult to maintain a high occupancy of guests during the off-season then opt for renting the less-used spaces for parties, weddings, events, etc to earn a side income. You can start a yoga facility at an extra hall if you have one. You can also rent it for conferences and business meetings on an ad hoc basis. The latest trend these days is to transform the lobby into a co-working business center, a coffee shop, or even a small library. These methods are widely used to secure decent revenue all year round.
Manage your brand value and online image
Your online reputation includes reviews, social media engagements, search engine results, press reviews, awards, etc. All this contributes highly to your brand value and determines your position in the market, further increasing occupancy rates. Focus on investing more efforts towards enhancing your online image. Here are a few measures that you can take:
- Engage social media executives to manage effective communication with online viewers.
- Handle negative comments positively and ensure you work towards improvising the negative highlighted by your customers.
- Maintain personalized communication with your guests.
- Engage in regular social media posts and updates
- Engage with influencers and highlight positive customer experiences
- Enlighten your online audience about your social activities by highlighting corporate events, staff, and service updates.
Run promotions and discounts
Budget travelers scout for good deals during the off-season. It is at this time you should offer exciting discounted rates to attract such guests and earn profits during the low season.
A few ideas for your discount offers are:
- Book for 3 days and get 1 day free!
- Share this Instagram post and tag your 6 friends to get a 20 % discount on booking!
- Book for 2 nights and get dinner at our restaurant free!
Leveraging technology for increasing hotel occupancy
The surfacing of technology in the hospitality industry has brought a sea of revolution in the various sections of the hotel entity. The Property Management System can help greatly in boosting reservations thus, augmenting hotel occupancy. With every data stored in the PMS, it becomes easy to segregate various guest personas and find out repeat guests to send tailored offers and packages for increased bookings.
The Channel Manager is a powerful tool that helps in the easy generation of bookings. With smart adaptability features including quick bookings, cancellations, and real-time data made available to hotel management and staff, it is now easy to strategize pricing and marketing efforts to increase hotel occupancy rates.
The Revenue Management System can evaluate various facets of your hotel and draw insights that can be used for analyzing hotel occupancy rates. It can help in determining price changes for attracting guests during low seasons. It is great for competition analysis further aiding in pricing strategy for boosting reservations and revenue during low times.
All that you need is an excellent strategy, and a creative mind to execute the best methods for bringing in more guests during the low season time. To push up the hotel occupancy, you can materialize a perfect pricing and marketing strategy to attract more customers. Firstly, you need to understand the occupancy rate, analyze different booking patterns and guest behavior, and then you can figure out the best combination of marketing techniques that will work out for you.
While it is important to generate revenue, it is equally essential to maintain your brand image in the process. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses and craft the best plan that works for you.