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Hotel Marketing: Creative Ways to Increase Off-Season Bookings.
By Smart eHotels
Thursday, 13th February 2014
 

Exclusive Feature: Every hotel has its occupancy ups and downs; by learning to work with those seasonal slumps (or even shorter-term, mid-week downturns), you can fill more of those rooms that would otherwise stand empty.

Here are a few ideas to get the ideas flowing.

"Group” Think

Whether your facility is a sprawling tourist magnet or an intimate boutique hotel, there’s an organization or business out there looking for a just-right venue to hold a conference, retreat, or annual meeting. Think about what kinds of services are popular during your high season, and enhance those services for the off-season:

  • Spa packages or special meals for a wellness retreat
  • Free access to your business center for the organizer of a business conference
  • Tour discounts to historic landmarks for a writers’ conference
  • On-site space for artists’ workshops
  • Shuttle service to and from a wedding reception venue for the safety of guests
In addition to drawing more conference business to fill rooms in the off-season, take a look around the community to see what kinds of events are scheduled to take place. Combine efforts with other area businesses to offer, for example, discount food at a sports bar in conjunction with a big game or tournament.

Park & Fly

If your hotel is located near a major airport, you already know your fortunes rise and fall with the peaks of high travel season and the valleys in between. Many travelers choose to overnight close to the airport to save some time before an early morning flight – or they would, given the right incentive. Give them a little extra snooze time by offering a park-and-stay package at an attractive rate.

Brainstorm

As a business owner and/or manager, you’re probably a member of the local chamber of commerce. Get together with other businesses affected by seasonal swings, and brainstorm ways to draw visitors in the off-season.

  • Foodies know no season. Organize a gourmet food and wine crawl, and they will come.
  • Socked in for the winter? Hold an ice carving festival to bring visitors out of hibernation.
  • Locked in an urban setting that shuts down after hours? Reach out to people who are hunkered down with their social media gadgets and give them a special event to get excited about.
Raise Your Standards, Don’t Lower Your Rates

Remember, lowering rates alone won’t boost off-season hotel occupancy rates for long. You’re better off raising customers’ expectations of the experience they’re getting for their money.

Smart eHotels is a team of experienced hotel marketing experts that works with small and independent hotels to help make sure they have the Right Rates in the Right Place at the Right Time.

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