The OnRes Blog

Smart Strategies to Fill Your Hotel Rooms in the Low Season

By: Steve Behrisch , President & CEO

The occupancy rate of hotels is one of the most important performance indicators. A high occupancy rate is desirable for hoteliers as it directly translates to increased revenue and profitability. 

However, during the low season, hotels often struggle with low occupancy rates, which can lead to decreased revenue and financial crisis. In this article, we will discuss strategies to increase low-season hotel occupancy.

1. Target the right audience

The first step towards increasing low-season occupancy is to identify and target the right audience. Hotels need to conduct market research to understand the demographics and psychographics of potential guests. 

This information can then be used to tailor marketing efforts towards the right audience. For example, if a hotel is located near an amusement park, it can target families with children by offering special packages and promotions during the low season.

2. Offer special packages and promotions

Special packages and promotions can be an effective way to encourage your guests to visit you. There are many creative ways to make your hotel stand out and provide additional value to your guests.

You can offer discounts on room rates, complimentary meals or drinks, spa treatments, and other amenities to entice guests to book their stay. 

These promotions can be advertised through various channels, including social media, email marketing, online travel agencies, or partnering with local agents.

Another effective approach is to create seasonal promotions that coincide with local events or activities. For example, if your hotel is located near a ski resort, you could offer a special ski package that includes discounted lift tickets, equipment rentals, and accommodations.

3. Optimize your online presence

With the hype of digitalization, it has become more than essential for hotels to have a strong online presence. This includes having an optimized website, active social media accounts, and positive reviews on online travel agencies. 

Hoteliers should ensure that their website is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and has high-quality images and descriptions of the hotel’s amenities and services. 

Besides, your social media accounts should be updated regularly with engaging content that showcases the hotel’s unique features to attract more guests.

4. Leverage online travel agencies

Online travel agencies (OTAs) can be a powerful tool for hotels to increase their visibility and attract guests during the low season. 

Hotels can partner with OTAs to offer exclusive packages and promotions, which can help to increase bookings. 

Additionally, hotels should ensure that their OTA listings are optimized with accurate and up-to-date information, high-quality images, and good guest reviews.

5. Collaborate with local agents 

Collaborating with local businesses can help guests book during the low season. Hotels can partner with nearby attractions, restaurants, spas, and other businesses to offer joint promotions and packages. 

Additionally, hotels can provide free tickets or discounts to nearby attractions such as museums, theme parks, and other popular destinations.

Make sure you advertise these through the right channels to increase your visibility and attract more guests during the low season.

6. Participate in industry events

Attending industry events can be an effective way for you to network with other hoteliers, learn about industry trends, and promote their property to potential guests. 

By attending events such as trade shows and conferences, hotels can build relationships with travel agents, tour operators, and other industry professionals who can help to drive bookings during the low season.

In addition to networking opportunities, industry events also provide valuable education and training opportunities for hotel staff. 

7. Focus on guest experience

Guest experience is one of the key factors for your business to grow and stand apart. Offering exceptional guest experience can help increase repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. 

During the low season, hotels should focus on providing personalized service, attention to detail, and unique experiences to guests. 

This can include offering customized welcome drinks, recommendations for local attractions and restaurants, and other thoughtful touches that show guests that they are valued.

8. Offer flexible cancellation policies

Flexible cancellation policies can help to increase guest confidence and encourage bookings even during the low season. 

Offer free cancellations up to a certain date or an option to reschedule without penalty. This can help to alleviate guest concerns about potential changes in travel plans and increase bookings.

9. Implement revenue management strategies

Revenue management can help hotels make profits during the low season. This includes adjusting room rates based on demand, forecasting occupancy levels, and offering dynamic pricing based on market conditions. 

There are various revenue management software available in the market that enables hotels to automate these processes and make data-driven decisions to optimize revenue.

10. Invest in property improvements

Another effective way to increase low-season hotel occupancy is to invest in property improvements (if you have the budget). Guests are more likely to book a hotel that looks fresh, modern, and well-maintained. Here are some improvements you can consider:

  1. Update decor: One of the most visible aspects of a hotel is its decor. Outdated or worn decor can turn off potential guests. Consider updating furniture, bedding, curtains, and lighting fixtures. Choose neutral colors and simple designs that will appeal to a wide range of guests.
  1. Improve amenities: Guests expect certain amenities from hotels, such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and fitness centers. Make sure your hotel offers these, and consider adding additional ones, such as a pool or spa.
  1. Enhance the curb appeal: The exterior of the hotel is the first thing guests see, so make sure it looks welcoming. Consider adding landscaping, repainting the exterior, or updating the signage.
  1. Upgrade technology: In today’s evolving era, guests expect hotels to have modern technology. Make sure your hotel has high-speed Wi-Fi, smart TVs, and charging stations.

By investing in property improvements, you can make your hotel look more attractive to guests, leading to increased occupancy during the low season.

Final Words

Low-season hotel occupancy can be challenging, but it requires creativity, adaptability, and a willingness to try new things. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can boost your bookings and revenue during the slower months. 

However, it’s important to remember that these efforts should always be geared towards creating an exceptional guest experience. 

By providing outstanding service, amenities, and promotions, you can build a loyal customer base that will continue to support your business year-round. With dedication and persistence, you can turn the low season into a lucrative period for your hotel.

Steve Behrisch, President & CEO

Steve joined the OnRes Team as an account rep in 2008 and was promoted to VP of Operations a short time later. In 2011, Steve agreed to purchase OnRes and became President and CEO, and has been steering the ship since; achieving significant milestones such as rebuilding the reservation software from the bottom up, forging new partnerships, doubling the revenue, and much more…
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