Determine exactly what low season is and means for your property
The definition of low season can vary however it’s important to understand what actually defines the seasons in your accommodation building.
We can all define high season; this is typically the Christmas holiday period. An easier explanation is high demand and a full house, sometimes even having to turn guest away due to lack of occupancy. – How great is that! The unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t happen all year round.
That’s when we come back to this thing called “low or shoulder season”. This is a tricky definition. Your getting bookings, they aren’t consistent, you have lots of rooms available close to the expiry date and the customers don’t seem to be flowing through the door, I’m sure you can all relate to that?
The Next step is to pin this time period to a date range! You are able to do this based on previous years, the weather etc. The important thing is that you have a date range in mind. Remember that demand can change in Low season, Weekends tend to remain busy, it’s the mid week bookings that seem to be the issue.
Similarly, you should also remember that some days/weekends within the low season could actually be in high demand e.g. the marathon weekend, just something to keep in mind when Yield Managing prices in low season.
Determine who your ideal low season guests will be
This step is pretty simple!
Firstly, think to yourself who is going to visit my property in low season? You can almost always eliminate families as the kids are at school. So that basically leaves you with Couples, retires and potentially business executives getting away in the quieter periods.
Secondly, Don’t guess! Rely on the data that you’ve saved from previous years, if you have not saved any historical information now is a great time to start!
Drop the price to incentivise guests
It’s the unfortunate truth you MUST lower your prices in low season. The more appealing your price the more likely you are to receive more bookings. Having said that, its imperative to do you research and find out what a desirable price is to your desired low season guest.
Lower your minimum stay
We all want our guest to stay a minimum of seven nights however, that’s just not realistic in low season. A simple and effective way to increase bookings in low season is to make more length of stay combinations available to guests, open up your one and two night rate plans to incentivise guests to come for a quick get away.
Another way to avoid reducing your nightly rate in low season is to add value, offering more for the same price.
For instance, throw in a free meal at a local restaurant or buy one get one free at the local restaurants; this is a very effective way to stimulate business for you and your local restaurants. I guarantee they will be more then happy to accommodate your guests and promotion as its business for both parties!
Ask for referrals but make it worthwhile!
Accommodation providers should aim to achieve the highest number of repeat guest as possible. But, what if you should not only get repeat business but also get your repeat guests to tell their friends!
When completing email campaigns to previous guests (which you should already be doing) ask your guests about their friends. E.g. have you thought about sharing this secret with some of your selected friends? Then you can go on to offer a promotion e.g. 10% off when you refer a friend and next time the guest stays remember it, give them a small thank you gift, it can be as simple as a box of chocolates… it’s remembering that counts!
So there you have it, some simple tips and tricks to help boost those low season sales!