Hot Toddy

Curing Ailing Bookings

Ingredients:

1 oz bourbon
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ c boiling water

If only the recipe for the low season occupancy flu were this simple. Low season presents problems for even the most experienced hospitality marketers. Naturally, it will not ever be as robust as high season, but there are remedies that can make it more profitable.

Boost Mobile Marketing for Last-Minute Bookings

Stay on top of changes in booking trends in your destination based on the season. Last-minute bookings in the low season can be much more common than in high season. It is especially important to be available on mobile devices—last-minute reservations are increasingly made on mobile—with promotions to capture those last-minute prospects.Booking Trends

Adjust Minimums

The typical leisure traveler stays just one night 49% of the time, two nights 27% of the time, and three nights 24% of the time.[1] This is nowhere more evident than in the off-season. Reduce the minimum-length-of-stay as much as possible to encourage bookings then encourage longer stays with tiered promotions. This is generally good advice no matter the season, but especially pertinent when you’re trying to generate revenue in low and shoulder seasons.7 Deadly Sins eBook

Create Value Rather Than Cutting Prices

The notion that you should slash prices to fill rooms is outmoded and unprofitable. Of course, different seasons warrant different prices, but as much as possible ensure that you are in tune with your competitive set and what the marketplace will bear, and if you need to go deeper, then add value through add-ons, amenities, and so forth.

Shift Demand

Expedia’s VP of Market Management notes that for low season suppliers should review their competitive set to identify any audiences they could shift from another property to their own, as generating new demand in the low season is unlikely.[2] Be sure you’re speaking to the right targets with the right promotions, and definitely pay more attention to your drive market.

Publish Seasonally Appropriate Content

Always ensure images and copy reflect the very best of the particular season you’re in. For some destinations, this can be trickier than others, but it pays to invest in showing guests how delightful it is to stay at your property even during low season. Also, take care to distribute this imagery to all channels and to adjust copy to reflect the season. It is confidence building when accommodations are attentive to seasonal shifts in their marketing material and will encourage more visitors to step into what may feel like uncharted territory.

Conclusion

Our recipe calls for bourbon, but brandy and rum are just as common ingredients in a classic Hot Toddy. Crafting a remedy requires a certain amount of experimentation; every person is different, every ailment particular. The greatest takeaway, then, might not be to follow any specific guidelines but to know the potential exists to increase revenue when you use all your available channels in the low season. From there experiment with trying different strategies than you would at other times of the year; find the ones that resonate. It’s what mixology is all about.

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Sources:
[1] Lodging Industry Trends 2015. AH&LA.2015.

[2] Ponchione, Alissa. Seasonality Strategies Key to Driving Demand. HotelNewsNow.com. Feb 2012.

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