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Using Specials To Increase Your Hotel’s Occupancy

How Can I Get More Direct Bookings for My Hotel? Part .2. | Robert Nienaber

Using Specials to Increase Hotel Occupancy

Every hotelier takes delight in welcoming guests and treating them to unforgettable experiences. So, it’s not only a financial strain when times are quiet, but it also leaves you craving meaningful interactions.

No hotel can honestly say they’re busy every day of the year. Seasonal destinations might experience a lull during the summer or winter, and most establishments have some low-demand nights either during the week or over the weekend, depending on where the hotel is located.

So, you might want to increase occupancy on a specific night of the week or prompt guests to extend a weekend stay to include a Thursday or Monday night, for example. Perhaps you’d like to target that dry spell by encouraging guests to experience the benefits of an out-of-season stay.

Regardless of when or why you’d like to attract more guests, special offers are one of the best ways to offer your guests an irresistible deal and fill up those quiet times.

Things to Consider When Creating a Special Offer

Figuring out what works for your hotel is a matter of trial and error, or rather keeping tabs on analytics to see what works best. Some types of discounts might attract a lot of attention but yield poor results. Others could cause bookings to flood in.

These are some of the ways you can fine-tune your specials to find out the magic formula for filling up quiet times at your hotel.

Geolocation

One of the first things to consider is whether you want to target your specials to guests across the globe or in specific countries only.

For instance, targeting clients from far away won’t work for last minute specials. They simply can’t get to you in time. Rather, spread your local paid marketing net wider.

You can also target markets in new geographical locations or grow existing markets by targeting your specials at these areas.

When Can Customers Book vs When Can Customers Stay

These considerations revolve around the following:

Booking window

You can either allow customers to enjoy a benefit when they make their booking within set dates e.g. from 1 July 2022 to 31 July 2022, or within a specified time frame i.e. 3 months before occupation.

Dates of the Offer

The next thing to think about is whether the special applies to all bookings done during the booking window or only for certain occupation dates, e.g., they receive a discount when booking accommodation for any dates in May as long as they make the booking during April.

Time Frame Limitations

Make sure you exclude busy times in your offer. For instance, if weekend bookings are still busy during the quiet season, you should only target weeknights.

Refundable vs Non-Refundable

It’s best to stick to non-refundable rates for special offers. That’s because last minute cancellations take you right back to square one.

You can also set limitations on your when guests can move, change, or cancel their bookings. These could apply to when they’re allowed to book and how far in advance they can amend their booking.

It’s a good idea to exclude the option for amendments once the client’s paid in full.

Terms and Conditions

Apart from your cancellation policy, remember to include any other exclusions in the terms and conditions of your special offer.

These might include limitations on the number of times a guest can take advantage of a special and must clearly state the time frames that apply to the special rate.

Rates vs Room Types

Do you have some rooms that simply don’t sell? In this case it makes sense to target only these less popular units in your campaigns.

Always look at your occupancy rates for each room type when setting up specials. For example, if family rooms sell better on weekends, you should exclude them at these times and set up super saver weeknight rates on these rooms instead.

Relevant Hotels

If you run a chain of hotels, some are bound to attract more visitors than others.

In this case, you can target all your hotels in the hope of bringing more visitors across the board or aim your specials only at the least popular one.

Applicable Inventory

Depending on your occupancy rates, you can limit the inventory available for your specials. Another option is to restrict the number of specials available. e.g., only the first ten people to book can take advantage of the discount.

The Best Ideas for Accommodation Specials

Based on what you want to achieve, your location, and your amenities, and your guests’ preferences, there’s no end to the type of special offers you could come up with.

Here are some ideas:

Discounted Days or Dates

These are the most straightforward types of specials. They involve applying a discount to a specific day of the week or a range of dates every month.

This type of special works well if you want to attract repeat customers or target people who travel to your area frequently on business.

You can also get creative with these specials by focusing on ‘days of the year’. Every day of every year celebrates something specific. So, you can always find a way to keep your special offers fresh and inviting by theming them on these days e.g., Rhino Day, Ocean Day, or even Taco Day.

Discounts for Extended Stays

Discounted extra nights are a good way to keep guests in your hotel for longer and get rid of some empty weeknights too.

The most common way to apply this rate is with a free night’s accommodation or a discounted rate if guests extend their stay.

You’re bound to make your money back on extras like meals, tours, or spa treatments.

Package and Combo Deals

Adding something extra to your accommodation is a good way to add value to your stays and attract more customers. A free breakfast included in the rate will save your guests money on eating out and add convenience to their stay.

This can work as a major drawcard when they’re working out their holiday budget.

Seasonal Specials

Seasonal specials are self-explanatory, but you can also add extra interest to them. For instance, you can center your specials around a natural event, such as a meteor shower or special events taking place near your town.

For example, if you know of a mountain biking race in a neighboring town, set up a discount for those taking part that makes the extra travel time worthwhile for them.

Late and Early Booking Bonuses

Late booking discounts work well to fill up those pesky rooms that are still available at the last minute, or to make up for a last-minute cancellation.

It’s best to target these specials for stays within 48 hours.

On the other end of the scale, offering a discount for bookings made well in advance encourages people to book early and assists you with planning your specials and marketing.

Flash Sales

Flash sales last for a limited time frame but they focus on future bookings. As such, they’re a great way to attract advance bookings too.

You run the sale for a specified time and get payment at the time of booking. This can bring in some much-needed cash flow and help you with planning for the year.

Mobile-Only Specials

The benefit of mobile bookings is that people can book from their phone right away. You don’t run the risk of them returning home and then forgetting to book. Mobile-only specials are a great way to increase your conversion rate and get more direct bookings.

Discounts for bookings done via mobile phone can also help you gain valuable insights from these bookings, such as time, date, and location information to help you target your ads.

Promo Codes

Promo codes are an easy and effective way to keep track of which promotions are working best.

You can offer these promo codes as part of a magazine or online advertising campaign, or as prizes, or loyalty rewards.

With these specials, the user must enter the promo code while completing their online booking, so it’s easy to keep track of where they got the information from.

Increase Hotel Occupancy All Year Round

No matter how great your specials are, they won’t work if nobody knows about them.

Browse our blog for more great ideas on how to promote and manage your special offers and your occupancy. Then, get in touch for assistance with marketing your accommodation establishment to the max.

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Get More Bookings For Your Establishment With Team Robert Nienaber

Using Specials to Increase Hotel Occupancy

Every hotelier takes delight in welcoming guests and treating them to unforgettable experiences. So, it’s not only a financial strain when times are quiet, but it also leaves you craving meaningful interactions.

No hotel can honestly say they’re busy every day of the year. Seasonal destinations might experience a lull during the summer or winter, and most establishments have some low-demand nights either during the week or over the weekend, depending on where the hotel is located.

So, you might want to increase occupancy on a specific night of the week or prompt guests to extend a weekend stay to include a Thursday or Monday night, for example. Perhaps you’d like to target that dry spell by encouraging guests to experience the benefits of an out-of-season stay.

Regardless of when or why you’d like to attract more guests, special offers are one of the best ways to offer your guests an irresistible deal and fill up those quiet times.

Things to Consider When Creating a Special Offer

Figuring out what works for your hotel is a matter of trial and error, or rather keeping tabs on analytics to see what works best. Some types of discounts might attract a lot of attention but yield poor results. Others could cause bookings to flood in.

These are some of the ways you can fine-tune your specials to find out the magic formula for filling up quiet times at your hotel.

Geolocation

One of the first things to consider is whether you want to target your specials to guests across the globe or in specific countries only.

For instance, targeting clients from far away won’t work for last minute specials. They simply can’t get to you in time. Rather, spread your local paid marketing net wider.

You can also target markets in new geographical locations or grow existing markets by targeting your specials at these areas.

When Can Customers Book vs When Can Customers Stay

These considerations revolve around the following:

Booking window

You can either allow customers to enjoy a benefit when they make their booking within set dates e.g. from 1 July 2022 to 31 July 2022, or within a specified time frame i.e. 3 months before occupation.

Dates of the Offer

The next thing to think about is whether the special applies to all bookings done during the booking window or only for certain occupation dates, e.g., they receive a discount when booking accommodation for any dates in May as long as they make the booking during April.

Time Frame Limitations

Make sure you exclude busy times in your offer. For instance, if weekend bookings are still busy during the quiet season, you should only target weeknights.

Refundable vs Non-Refundable

It’s best to stick to non-refundable rates for special offers. That’s because last minute cancellations take you right back to square one.

You can also set limitations on your when guests can move, change, or cancel their bookings. These could apply to when they’re allowed to book and how far in advance they can amend their booking.

It’s a good idea to exclude the option for amendments once the client’s paid in full.

Terms and Conditions

Apart from your cancellation policy, remember to include any other exclusions in the terms and conditions of your special offer.

These might include limitations on the number of times a guest can take advantage of a special and must clearly state the time frames that apply to the special rate.

Rates vs Room Types

Do you have some rooms that simply don’t sell? In this case it makes sense to target only these less popular units in your campaigns.

Always look at your occupancy rates for each room type when setting up specials. For example, if family rooms sell better on weekends, you should exclude them at these times and set up super saver weeknight rates on these rooms instead.

Relevant Hotels

If you run a chain of hotels, some are bound to attract more visitors than others.

In this case, you can target all your hotels in the hope of bringing more visitors across the board or aim your specials only at the least popular one.

Applicable Inventory

Depending on your occupancy rates, you can limit the inventory available for your specials. Another option is to restrict the number of specials available. e.g., only the first ten people to book can take advantage of the discount.

The Best Ideas for Accommodation Specials

Based on what you want to achieve, your location, and your amenities, and your guests’ preferences, there’s no end to the type of special offers you could come up with.

Here are some ideas:

Discounted Days or Dates

These are the most straightforward types of specials. They involve applying a discount to a specific day of the week or a range of dates every month.

This type of special works well if you want to attract repeat customers or target people who travel to your area frequently on business.

You can also get creative with these specials by focusing on ‘days of the year’. Every day of every year celebrates something specific. So, you can always find a way to keep your special offers fresh and inviting by theming them on these days e.g., Rhino Day, Ocean Day, or even Taco Day.

Discounts for Extended Stays

Discounted extra nights are a good way to keep guests in your hotel for longer and get rid of some empty weeknights too.

The most common way to apply this rate is with a free night’s accommodation or a discounted rate if guests extend their stay.

You’re bound to make your money back on extras like meals, tours, or spa treatments.

Package and Combo Deals

Adding something extra to your accommodation is a good way to add value to your stays and attract more customers. A free breakfast included in the rate will save your guests money on eating out and add convenience to their stay.

This can work as a major drawcard when they’re working out their holiday budget.

Seasonal Specials

Seasonal specials are self-explanatory, but you can also add extra interest to them. For instance, you can center your specials around a natural event, such as a meteor shower or special events taking place near your town.

For example, if you know of a mountain biking race in a neighboring town, set up a discount for those taking part that makes the extra travel time worthwhile for them.

Late and Early Booking Bonuses

Late booking discounts work well to fill up those pesky rooms that are still available at the last minute, or to make up for a last-minute cancellation.

It’s best to target these specials for stays within 48 hours.

On the other end of the scale, offering a discount for bookings made well in advance encourages people to book early and assists you with planning your specials and marketing.

Flash Sales

Flash sales last for a limited time frame but they focus on future bookings. As such, they’re a great way to attract advance bookings too.

You run the sale for a specified time and get payment at the time of booking. This can bring in some much-needed cash flow and help you with planning for the year.

Mobile-Only Specials

The benefit of mobile bookings is that people can book from their phone right away. You don’t run the risk of them returning home and then forgetting to book. Mobile-only specials are a great way to increase your conversion rate and get more direct bookings.

Discounts for bookings done via mobile phone can also help you gain valuable insights from these bookings, such as time, date, and location information to help you target your ads.

Promo Codes

Promo codes are an easy and effective way to keep track of which promotions are working best.

You can offer these promo codes as part of a magazine or online advertising campaign, or as prizes, or loyalty rewards.

With these specials, the user must enter the promo code while completing their online booking, so it’s easy to keep track of where they got the information from.

Increase Hotel Occupancy All Year Round

No matter how great your specials are, they won’t work if nobody knows about them.

Browse our blog for more great ideas on how to promote and manage your special offers and your occupancy. Then, get in touch for assistance with marketing your accommodation establishment to the max.

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Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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