5 ways to pump up hotel business in the summer
Ski resorts are very familiar with off-season challenges to fill their hotels when the snow is gone. Many of them have had to find other activities, events, or attractions to draw in visitors and keep occupancy up. But you don’t have to be a ski resort to feel this pain: many other areas have their own summer slump, so focus on what makes your location unique and take a look at these strategies for building summer business.
1. Are there any major events in your area?
Become a “preferred hotel” or host for a local event or seminar held by businesses in your area or for an industry that lends itself to your climate or geographic location. Partner with companies that will feature your hotel on their website and offer a link to book reservations at a favorable rate for participants. If you aren’t actually hosting the event at your hotel, promote your convenient location and consider offering complimentary transportation to and from the event.
You’ll begin to attract corporate customers during the off-season and build a reputation for serving event participants as well as being a preferred partner for future events. Offer special packages to attendees to include some interesting off-site activities, exhibits, restaurants or museums that don’t rely on the weather and may entice customers to return on their own in the off-season when crowds have thinned and prices are attractive.
2. Does “season” really matter?
Show your customers some unique ways to enjoy the summer months in your area. If skiing and snow sports are your high season, promote hiking, swimming, mountain-biking and other summer activities and include discounted rental equipment, complimentary breakfasts, and free parking.
In desert areas where it’s very hot in the summer, consider cave tours or lake/water activities such as swimming, boating or fishing. The monsoon summer storms and spectacular lightning shows offer fabulous opportunities for unique photography and storm watching: consider offering a class with a local professional. Cooking classes and wine pairing events that specialize in the local cuisine are another option to draw guests during the off-season.
3. Start promoting your off-season early.
Start marketing your special programs, events, classes, etc. at the beginning of your busy season. Don’t wait. Give your current high-season guests an opportunity to return for a fun, new experience during the summer months with less traffic, fewer crowds, and a great value.
4. Stay in touch with your existing customers.
During your busiest months, gather email and mailing addresses, take a short survey of customer interests and create a strong list of guests who’ve already stayed with you. Invite them to subscribe to your blog to stay on top of coming events and any interesting news or announcements about your surrounding area.
Produce compelling content for your blog that includes your off-season specials and unique activities. Offer recipes, tips for your fishing trip or caving adventure. Discuss what kinds of cameras and accessories you’ll be using in an upcoming photography class this summer and feature the local professional that’s teaching it. Solicit ideas and suggestions that your guests want to learn about during the class.
Keep in touch and top of mind by using social media to share testimonials, reviews and photos of guests having fun in the summer months and maybe even run a contest or two. Stay engaged with your customers and they’ll do some of your marketing for you by sharing those posts with friends, neighbors, and family.
5. Offer a Rewards Program and Some Special Discount Packages.
Offer incentives to return to your property and rewards for referring friends and family. You will multiply your exposure when friends recommend your hotel to their friends and neighbors. A referral that results in a booking might be worth a free dinner in your hotel restaurant or a credit toward their next stay with you and be sure to offer a small reward for your new guest to welcome them for their first stay with you and join the referral program.
And don’t forget the locals. Offer discounts to people who live in and around your area to enjoy your hospitality when they’re not being overrun by tourists. Focusing on your local and regional community is good business for you and a treat for those that support your business throughout the rest of the year.
Why not offer extended happy hours, indoor pool parties, retreats and classes in 2 or 3-day packages that combine fun, learning and relaxation in an affordable, quick get-away that everyone can enjoy.