Very few properties are spared the periods when vacancies outnumber occupancy. Here are some tips to increase occupancy and boost revenue during your low demand period – be it a longer seasonal emptiness or a short-term mid-week downturn.
Define your low period
First and foremost, know the ebb and flow of your occupancy. Your booking management system reports will help you understand trends and enable forecasting of days, weeks and months when occupancy is likely to be low.
Now that you know the dates of the low period, build a strategy to tackle it – whether it is tips
to increase bookings during this time or manage revenue flow.
Offer hot deals
For budget travellers and the transient backpacker audience, price is a huge factor. Make off-peak attractive for this audience by offering hot deals that will have them reaching for their credit cards.
We’re not suggesting creating your own events; that could be a costly affair. But you can ride on the traffic and exposure of local events.
You can offer discounts to the attendees of these events. Perhaps even create special packages targeted at visitors to these events. Check with the organisers if there is possibility of placement on their marketing materials or advertising at a discounted rate. The exposure through such co-marketing efforts can be very beneficial.
Target your loyal customers
Call on your existing database and fan following on social networks to visit you during off-peak times. You’ll need to incentivise them, but at least they’re aware of your accommodation standards and services. Rewards programs work very well in attracting previous customers.
Incentivise previous guests to recommend you
This is an Airbnb tactic that has worked very well for them. The trick lies in finding the right incentive. In Airbnb’s case they offer credit to the original user for recommending them.
What do you think will work for your audience? If you’re a hostel with a very transient backpacking audience, discount coupons to local attractions that can be immediately redeemed may work well. If you’re a small motel, perhaps the credit system could work for you. Just ensure that you have black-out periods for redemption as you want these guests to also return during the low demand period.
Introduce value-adds & lower your minimum nights
Make booking terms more attractive for the customer by offering more value for their money and lowering the minimum night requirement. Besides a drop in rates (the most common low-season tactic to attract customers), create packages that make the deal more attractive. This could be a complimentary breakfast, free shuttle service to local attractions, free wi-fi or similar popular services sought by your customers.