Hospitality management : 7 tips to boost your occupancy

Occupancy is one of the most important indicators of how your hotel is doing. Therefore, boosting the occupancy rate should be a primary objective of a hotel manager. While this data point is provided by your hotel management software is essential and relevant, you should not focus all your time and energy on it. In fact, improving one indicator could potentially negatively impact another indicator. Here are some tips which could come in handy if you want to boost your occupancy without adversely affecting other indicators such as your ADR (Average Daily Rate).

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Tip 1 – Make the most of your online booking engine’s features

It goes without saying that this tip implies you have already set up your online booking engine. If you haven’t done so yet, we strongly recommend you to do so.
Your online booking engine’s features are optimized so that a potential client ends up making a reservation. Amongst the different features, you can find pricing features such as special rates, promotional codes and “exclusive” rates along with the stress marking feature which helps boosting your occupancy. This feature indicates how many rooms are left in your hotel at a certain price. This will quickly convert a client who might have originally taken more time before booking. Additionally, it will convince the client that they have made the right choice, as your hotel will appear as popular, which can be reassuring.
A booking engine connected to your hotel management software is therefore a crucial tool when you want to boost your occupancy. The connectivity between the booking engine and the hotel management software makes perfect sense as you are focusing on occupancy boosting strategies and not on a daily update of your booking engine.
If your hotel does not have many rooms of the same type, nothing prevents you from actively using this feature, as the client has no idea of the total number of rooms of the same type.

Tip 2 – Set up a competition monitoring system

A client will most often look at the competition before booking a stay. They will therefore review several hotels and will most likely choose the one with the best value for money.
Knowing this, your goal is to make sure potential clients choose you instead of your competition. This does not directly imply having the lowest prices, but instead showing the potential clients what your hotel has to offer or the complimentary services that come when booking a room. For example, if you offer complimentary coffee in their room, highlight that you have a quality coffee machine. If you offer complimentary breakfast, make sure to include a menu template as well as some pictures which will trigger the clients’ appetite.
Keep in mind that your rates should correspond to what you offer compared to your competition if you want to boost your occupancy. In your competition monitoring system, rates should be an element of comparison. You do not need to choose dozens of competitors as 5 to 10 are usually more than enough to get an overview of the trend. Additionally, your competition is active and can vary depending on which segment of the market you want to target. It is therefore important to review your list of competitors on a regular basis to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Tip 3 – Use Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

What traveller does not know about Booking.com or Expedia? These online travel agencies are paramount for most hotels. While this represents a significant cost for the hotel due to the commissions paid to these OTAs, what would be the cost of having no clientele? What would your occupancy be? These websites allow you to advertise yourself with no significant up-front costs and give your hotel a lot of visibility. Therefore, you need to make sure the rates displayed on the websites match your appearance and your competition. /p>

Tip 4 – Be loyal to your appearance

Whether a client is coming for business or leisure, they will want to have a good experience at your hotel. This begins with their online experience when they are comparing your hotel with the competition. Use visuals that compliment your hotel, update your website if it is outdated, and use high quality, professional photographs that can be used for large displays. Try to regularly update your photo bank, especially if you have renovated your hotel since the last photos were taken. Your old photos contain space and time references such as outdated clothing or antique furniture which could negatively impact your occupancy. For example, you’ll want to show off your brand new and modern wooden floors in the hotel rooms, not the old, shaggy carpets that you replaced two years ago.

Tip 5 – Use your reviews and reply to them

Once again, a client bases their booking decision on various criteria. One of them can be their fellow travellers’ opinion and reviews. There are now many online review platforms such as TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook.
These reviews can often influence a potential client’s decision, in a positive or negative way. You should therefore encourage clients who seemed to have had a pleasant stay to leave a review online. Check-out is the ideal time as happy clients are likely to voice their satisfaction to your staff when they leave. This is the perfect occasion to ask them to share their experience with other travellers.
Once the reviews are posted online, whether they be positive or negative, take the time to reply to them. This will show your clientele that you care and reassure future clients who will notice that you took action whenever an issue was raised. Replying to all reviews does not imply giving the same reply to all of them. Be creative and personalize your messages.

Tip 6 – Apply a smart pricing policy

To boost your occupancy, you can follow a smart pricing policy. Many periods during the year offer the opportunity to adapt your rates according to the current situation. There is no need to try and sell a room at the highest possible rate when it could discourage clients from making a reservation. During these slow periods, the services you offer are usually not as extensive as the ones you offer during peak periods.

Tip 7 – Vary your booking policies

When you want to increase your occupancy, think about the type of client who is most likely to book. What could your offer potentially not satisfy? Is your cancellation policy too discouraging? What would happen to the booking if…?
A flexible booking policy could lead to a customer booking one hotel over another. If the client wishes to make a reservation, it implies they want to stay at your hotel. It is therefore unnecessary to have strict cancellation policies if you want them to book, especially if your occupancy is low.
In addition, a flexible cancellation policy gives the impression that you are quite confident. You show the client you will have no problem re-selling their room in case they cancel. This will definitely have a positive impact on your client’s perception of your hotel.
When your occupancy is almost at its maximum, then you can tighten your policy. If a client was to cancel their room you would keep their deposit and most likely sell their room again very rapidly.

hotel occupancy boost PMS management