During high season, it is easier to ensure that your hotel is fully booked and has a constant flow of guests. However, keeping visitors interested during the low season might prove more difficult. As a hotel manager, it’s important to find ways to increase direct bookings all year long. It is imperative to create a successful marketing plan and incorporating these five top marketing tips to keep your hotel fully booked throughout the entire year:
1. Run promotions
Provide special offers and package deals that are active during the low season. Offers could include reduced rates for mid-season bookings, or discounts for food and drinks. Package deals should contain location-relevant activities such as spa services, local sightseeing, or on-site entertainment. These deals are highly attractive to potential guests looking for a low-season break.
When marketing your promotions, make sure to create an individual landing page for each special offer. Each landing page should focus on a single special offer, giving the reader only the information they require and nothing else. Make sure visitors to your landing pages can easily complete their bookings online, with a variety of online payment solutions to suit their payment preferences.
2. Host events
Another way to increase occupancy rates all year is to host events such as weddings, retreats, and conferences. Maximize bookings in the low season by offering discounts or other special offers to event organizers and attendees. You can also upsell services, such as catering and entertainment, to increase profits. Create a satisfying experience for attendees and they may even return to your hotel as a guest, in the future. Satisfied businesses are also likely to return for future conferences.
An added benefit of hosting these events is that renting out parts of your hotel and offering additional services provides an additional source of income during the low season (and high season, if you host multiple events throughout the year). Also, if an event is covered in the media, this can be a great source of publicity to attract even more guests as well as other conference organizers.
3. Use data to target off-season guests
Analyze data from your customer database to find out what similarities off-season visitors share. Create individual profiles for customers that are most likely to visit at specific times of year. Relevant data may include spending habits, where they live, party sizes and room choices. For each profile, build a picture of the typical off-season guest. This is a potential gold mine, so it is recommended to invest about 16% of your online marketing budget in researching your ideal low-season guest personas and developing marketing campaigns to target them. Create mailing lists and online advertising campaigns with special offers and advertisements tailored specifically for your low-season target audience.
4. Use social media to engage with potential guests
Social media can be used in a variety of ways to provide publicity for your hotel and encourage more bookings. Use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to form two-way conversations with potential customers. This establishes a connection which creates trust, a driving factor in increasing conversion rates. It also provides a platform where guests can share positive reviews of your hotel with their friends.
Another effective use of social media is engaging customers through exciting contests. Encourage people to share your posts in return for a chance to win a stay at your hotel. This will increase your hotel’s online visibility and popularity, which in turn will increase booking rates.
5. Retarget site visitors
According to Wishpond, the click-through rate for retargeted ads is 10x higher than the click-through rate for regular display ads. This shows how valuable it is to run retargeting campaigns and target previous visitors to your website. These visitors already have interest in your hotel (or have stayed at your hotel in the past) and therefore are the more likely to make a booking. Provide these visitors with a gentle reminder through relevant adverts. You can also send run an email marketing campaign for visitors who began the booking process but never completed it, as well as for past guests.
While running retargeting campaigns should be done all year long, it can reap especially huge rewards during off-season months by increasing bookings during these times.
It’s time to stop worrying about occupancy rates during the low season. Use these five marketing tips to ensure your hotel has maximum booking rates all year long.