On the whole, hotel occupancy rates have been increasing from a U.S rate of 54.7% in 2009 to 72.6% (2014 YTD) according to analysis by STR Global, UNWTO, & IBISWorld over January to May 2014.
Other financial institutions reported the same trend with Scotiabank’s Industry Trends Report of July 2014 stating “Stronger private sector demand and limited growth in hotel room supply are set to bolster travel and hotel demand. U.S. hotel occupancy rates are expected to reach an eight-year high in 2014, with RevPAR rising 6½% to $73”
With the economic outlook working in hoteliers’ favor, now is a good time to capitalize further by working towards filling your rooms every week. This article discusses 2 valuable methods that will allow you fill more rooms to increase your room sales.
Method #1 – Mystery Rooms
You’re no doubt familiar with this concept as it’s well advertised on the larger travel comparison sites like Hotwire and Travelocity and it can provide a win-win for the hotel and the consumer.
The problem with empty rooms is that once it’s gone unfilled there’s no way to get that revenue back. Some hotels get used to offering deeply discounted rates which leave a slim margin, however, the “Groupon generation” of consumers are fast-becoming accustomed to never paying full price.
They are also skillful at waiting for the hotel to advertise the reduce rates and they’ll only book during that time. You don’t want your guests to become frustrated that they paid full price nor do you want to train your prospects to become resistant to a fair price.
The solution is to sell off your unfilled rooms without marketing the name of your hotel, that way you maintain your pricing integrity and fill your empty rooms whilst still generating some revenue.
A true win-win.
Method #2 – Event Led Bookings
The other method which works particularly well is to focus on the experience someone can partake in locally and make your hotel the obvious place to stay during the experience.
Are there sporting or music events locally? Any attractions visitors would love? Market an experience which includes accommodation, transport/tickets to the event or anything which makes the guests life easier so they can fully enjoy the event.
If you don’t have these kind of events where you are, could you use a large room as a conference location? Could you hold small seminars or fairs? Could you let people hold their weekend courses at your hotel?
Any of these events are perfect because the people at the events will be there all day and they’ll form cliques and communities and they’ll want to spend more time together in the evening to discuss the days’ events.
Make your hotel the centerpiece of that and you’ll naturally attract more bookings and fill more of your rooms.
These two strategies may appear to be simple but don’t overlook their effectiveness to generate revenue for rooms that otherwise would have been vacant and even increase your revenues during quieter months.
They are well worth trying as they cost very little to implement and if successful you’ll have a far stronger business as you’ll be able to increase overall occupancy year-round