Twelve Days of Bad Occupancy

The holidays are almost here, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right? Right!?  If you’re a hotel owner or operator, maybe not. Now is the best time to think about your holiday strategy, before the holiday season gets away from you. We’ve put together our top twelve tips for the twelve days of Christmas to help you prepare and weather the holiday storm just a little better.

  1. On the first day of bad occupancy, my revenue gave to me: lower rates! It may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many hotels we see that are running their same rate strategy that they’ve had all throughout October through the holidays. Lower your rates, people! You’re not going to be able to sell the same high M/T/W rates when Christmas and New Year’s falls right on a Monday this year.  Get ahead of your comps and get some business OTB.
  2. On the second day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: brand promos! Many brands are offering brand specific promos throughout the new year. Hilton is still running their Long Weekender Sale, extra employee/F&F rates as well as a special Visa Flash sale.  With LQ, Wyndham, Choice, etc. take advantage of stay and save promos. Maybe up the discounts. Fenced and yielded promos allow you to offer great deals without offering super public low rates that your comps can readily see.
  3. On the third day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: TravelAds! Expedia TravelAds are a great way to attract customers. If they’re going to be shopping there anyway, why not draw them away from your comps with an attractive TravelAd that showcases a cozy suite or fireplace. Welcome them with a plush warm bed, hot breakfast and coffee or hot cocoa in your TravelAd copy. Doesn’t that sound nice?
  4. On the fourth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: opaques! Review your market reports from your opaque market managers.  Sometimes it may be pretty easy to steal that business at a rate that’s not too far off your BAR depending on your star level. Remember, you need heads in beds.
  5. On the fifth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: OTA promos! Some brands and all independents should take advantage of the great fenced promos that Expedia, Booking, etc. offer.  Try a member’s only promo (it’s likely those guests would not book direct anyway), or a mobile sale for travelers that are minutes away and looking for a last minute room.
  6. On the sixth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: points packages! Guests love their loyalty points! Consider offering a special deal for discounted or even free points promos. It’s low cost to the hotel and a great way to build loyalty.
  7. On the seventh day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: bundled packages!  If you aren’t in a position to offer discounts, consider how you’re priced through your bundled hotel+air packages. Ask your market manager if you’re priced competitively and how to update your pricing through your package path.
  8. On the eighth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: HotelTonight! HotelTonight now offers rooms available 100 days out.  Load up some inventory over the holidays at BAR, offer GEO rates or encourage people to stay longer over the holiday week with stay and save promos. This far out, you’ll probably rank pretty well over competitors.
  9. On the ninth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: government rooms! Don’t restrict gov’t! This year, many per diem rates went up. Take advantage of the additional few $$ and make sure to make gov’t and military rooms open and bookable over the holidays.  If you have any gov’t or military rates at a % off, consider offering a flat rate over the Thansgiving and Christmas/NYE weeks.
  10. On the tenth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: employee/F&F rates! Similarly to gov’t rooms, make sure your employee and friends and family rates are bookable.  If you offer an allocation, up it.  Especially with F&F rates, the discount won’t be too far off of other higher cost channel rates.
  11. On the eleventh day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: reduced suite upcharges! If you offer your suites at a $30 upcharge, consider lowering that to $20 or even $10 above your regular rooms. Guests will think they’re getting a great deal, and you’ll sell a premium room that you probably would’ve upgraded a guest into for free anyway.
  12. On the twelfth day of bad occupancy, my revenue manager gave to me: power of prayer! If all else fails, begging for a holiday miracle might be your best bet.

What do you and your hotel do to avoid the holiday blues?  Share the article using links below and let us know.

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