Off-season sales have plagued the hospitality business for ages. Now, economic recession and unexpected events such as the pandemic are causing hotels to rethink their entire business model.
Similar to several industries that quickly shifted to a work-from-home strategy during lockdowns, hotels need to have a system that keeps them operational and in the green all year round.
One significant benefit of formulating a plan that changes with the seasons, so to speak, is that it allows the hotels to increase revenue by not just banking on high-season sales.
An essential aspect of increasing hotel bookings during off-season or recession is to take an all-inclusive approach. Of course, a hotel must implement changes at the ground level.
However, they should simultaneously work with their hotel marketing agency to stay visible and relevant online through website development, social media, SEO, and advertising.
Let us now discuss some fundamental ideas through which you can increase hotel bookings during the off-season;
Low-season discounts are an industry standard. Many travelers holiday during this time to save money. So, a hotel can keep its revenue stream active by offering enticing deals, even if the profit margins are a little low.
It is, nevertheless, essential to keep a few pointers in mind when using discounts to increase hotel bookings during the off-season;
- Rate parity – Keep a watch on rate parity, especially if you have any contracts with OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). If not, it is still crucial not to give excessive discounts, or else customers will expect them all the time.
- Combo packages – An excellent way to avoid giving direct discounts is to offer combo packages that include hotel features. So, you can advertise deals with extras such as a third night free, a 30-minute complimentary massage, free dinner at the in-house restaurant, or free airport pick-up and drop.
Maintain Service Standards
Hotels can take one of two approaches when catering to fewer guests. Some places take on a lax attitude, reducing staff, limiting in-house offerings, and often providing average service. Being in the hospitality industry, you cannot take a break and do this.
Remember, a poor or unremarkable guest experience can result in bad reviews. Whatever your limitations at the time, prospective guests reading those reviews remain indifferent to whether it was left in-season or off-season.
In fact, use this occasion to drum up more positive reviews. Since there are a limited number of guests, go over and beyond with your service. Surprise your customers with add-ons, a room upgrade, or a free dinner to make their stay memorable and praiseworthy.
Continue Hotel Marketing
The worst mistake a hotel can make during trying times is to cut back on marketing. On the contrary, one must thoughtfully invest more into promoting themselves and their online presence during the off-season.
Building your hotel brand is a constant endeavor, as is maintaining your website. Therefore, to stay relevant, it is essential to work with your hotel marketing agency on SEO content, social media, and other website developmental aspects.
In simple terms, the more customers are aware of your presence, be it on Page 1 of Google search results or on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, the more chances there are of increasing your hotel bookings.
Furthermore, the low season is an ideal time to work on Email Marketing. You can reach out to loyal customers and entice them with bargain stay deals.
A vital aspect to remember about facing a recession or the off-season is that you are not the only one suffering a decline in business. Everyone is in the same boat, whether it is nearby restaurants, retail stores, excursion planners, or local artisans.
Thus, collaborating with local businesses can prove to have a three-fold advantage.
First, it creates a sense of community wherein different establishments work together, helping each other succeed.
Secondly, partnerships with nearby businesses can lead to a more comprehensive and diverse reach as they promote your business while you promote theirs.
Lastly, it can bring in revenue through multiple avenues. One example can be agreeing to receive a commission every time your guests book a tour with a specific travel agency. Or you can mutually work on offering discounts. For instance, hotel guests might get a free dessert or a flat 10% off if they dine at a particular local restaurant.
Typically, the global hotel industry earns maximum revenue from outsiders during their high season. These are travelers from different cities and countries. However, when it comes to increasing hotel bookings during the recession or off-season, you need to go local!
Thus, it is paramount to pre-plan an advertising strategy that focuses on residents with your hotel marketing agency. Staycations are an excellent example of this technique that entices locals with exclusive limited-time deals to take a pampering break from their hectic lives.
Furthermore, the off-season is a wonderful time to work on social media marketing. Invite local influencers, host blogger familiarization stays, and plan collaborations to build upon your brand and gain online coverage.
Focus on Hotel Features
One of the reasons for having a hotel website is that you can use it to inform guests about various season-related features. If facing a recession, shifting the focus from room bookings to multiple hotel facilities and events can encourage people to visit the property.
Some features that can be a part of your hotel marketing plan are;
- A heated swimming pool, especially if your hotel sees a decline during the winter season. You can also open the pool to locals for a limited-time membership during these months.
- Special offers at the hotel’s wellness center for resident guests and locals looking for a spa date.
- Organizing festive dinners at the in-house restaurant.
- Pop-ups on festivals like Christmas, where you can sell confectionaries.
- Hosting events ranging from musical performances by local bands to artisanal fairs.
To increase hotel bookings during the recession or off-season, it is vital to have a website for promotions and a solid online presence. ADIGITAL is an all-inclusive hotel marketing agency that can help strategize your Branding, Social Media, and Website SEO while managing Email Marketing and Metasearch Advertising. Contact us and find out how we can help you succeed even during challenging times.