How to make the most of your property’s off-peak periods? (PART 2)
During low season or during the temporary closure of your establishment, some employees are still working to ensure a presence or to get ready for a busier period. Therefore, the question regarding the occupancy rate and profitability occurs. Is it really necessary to keep your employees working despite the fact that they are not working at their full potential?
Here are few actions organised by department that will allow you to keep your staff busy during this low period.
Front desk and lodging department
The quieter periods is also a great opportunity to review your internal procedures. Whether it is your check in procedures, your internal communication or communication with your customers, these can always be improved. For example, ask yourself the following questions: Are the items or packages correctly setted up to reflect in the correct department? How does it reflect? Do other departments know exactly what to do with this information? Thereby, your property management software becomes your link between all these interdepartmental communications since it holds all the guests’ stay information.
Also, these calm periods could also be a good time to review your tools in order to improve them, to add elements that can help you in your daily tasks or to avoid manual actions. For the front desk or for the entire property, the off-peak season is always an excellent time for the implementation of new processes or new technologies, giving to your staff, time to accept, adapt and get into the habit of using them. Therefore, when the first customers will comeback to your property, your hotel staff will not be caught off guard.
Moreover, upgrading tools involves clearing up existing tools. Cleaning up your customer database could be possible. This will help you to get accurate statistics per customer and will avoid you to have duplicated statistics for the same guest.
Enhancing your database can also be done by selecting new tools that will complete the technological aspect of your property. These tools have to be estimated by department in order to choose only the departments required. By tool, we mean softwares but also all the solutions that will help your staff to be more efficient.
The marketing department of a property is often the busiest department during an off-peak period. It must take several actions during this time but also prepare for the upcoming season. It can start with actions that requires low resources such as updating your website especially with photos, information about your establishment, packages and their components, types of room and services offered, while remaining uniform overall. Thus, a complete review of your website can be an undeniable advantage for the high season.
In addition, your online booking engine must also be up to date, while ensuring that images and descriptions used are similar to those of your website. Optimizing your online presence can go further than simply updating information. The optimization of the online browsing and optimization for conversion purposes are also to be taken into account. The final goal of your website is that the visitor can easily access to your online booking engine and that he ends up making his reservation. It is important that your website is efficient and that buttons, also called “call to action”, are visible and accessible. Furthermore, it would be relevant for you to test or have your website tested by several people in order to know if your browsing path is clear and well perceived by your visitors. Its efficiency can really make a difference, if your visitors can’t find the button to book quickly, then there are only few chances that they make a booking at your property. They will prefer to make their reservations via a distributor site, called online travel agency or to choose your competitor.
Since we are talking about your property’s appearance on OTAs, keep in mind that the competition is rough on these platforms since they gather the majority of properties and those of your competitors. To do so, if your appearance isn’t more attractive and your description is not well detailed and complete than your competitors, you will not always be successful.
Marketing is all about data analyzing whether it is previous actions or past seasons, these allow you to accumulate real but also visible data. The off-peak season is an ideal opportunity to take a step back on these actions and to compare the results. The information to be analyzed can be large but if you start with the data taken in your property management software or the analytical data of your website or your booking engine, you will already have a relevant set of data. For example, you could look that the most popular room type in your establishment. This data could lead you to do less marketing actions on this type of room and focus your budget on those less reserved. Moreover, this data could lead you to increase the price of this popular room type in order to improve your performance indicators. You will also have the possibility to create a special package with this room and obtain a larger REVPAC thanks to its popularity. Your property management software can inform you of the down periods allowing you to carry out a marketing action calendar and anticipate periods where the occupancy rate is lower. It also shows you which are the most popular and least popular packages, it would be relevant to improve popular packages and highlight them in your offers and communication strategies. For less popular packages, you can renew or test them by changing their name or by making them more accessible either by choosing cheaper rooms or by removing expensive items that have no real added value for the package.
There are other possible actions that you can do during the off-peak season such as setting up a loyalty program, redesigning your website, implementing electronic kiosks and renovating rooms. There are many possibilities but all these upgrades or offers changes should allow you to increase the occupancy rate of your establishment.
As any hotelier, it is difficult to see your establishment empty and without customers. Yet these moments are often beneficial for performing several tasks and will also allow you to improve your future performance, especially when guests will be back and in a large number.
In addition, all the actions performed in various departments of your establishment represents a real asset for you, for your employees and for your property. Indeed, these actions will help your staff to understand the value of their contribution and work. It will also allow you to avoid several major risks that could have impacted your occupancy rate and therefore your profitability.