In the blink of an eye another Christmas has passed, and the busy holiday season is drawing to a close. Holiday periods tend to be busy for most people, but if you manage an accommodation property the additional demands of working with a ‘full house’ can take that busyness to a whole new level. Peak Season means higher revenues, but that can be countered by the pressure of maintaining great service with more time pressure, and much more stress.
As occupancy levels start to calm down, it is a great time to take stock of how well prepared you were to hit the ground running this holiday season and assess whether you managed to maximise your revenue and opportunities throughout the period. A moment of reflection now to consider what worked for you, and what could be improved upon, can enlighten you as to how best to prepare for the next holiday season.
Planning is key when it comes to deciding on and implementing tactics to capitalise on your seasonal peaks. It is difficult to make changes once you are in the midst of the madness and paddling like the proverbial duck under water. Be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to peak season preparation.
Here are 7 top tips to help you make the most of your next holiday season;
Study your analytics to glean insight into how your hotel has performed. Use the analytics tools offered to you in your software, or via 3rd party providers, to gain greater understanding of your property’s strengths, and highlight opportunities for growth.
Look at metrics such as Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) and compare this to the same periods historically, to gather a clearer picture of performance. Average Daily Rate (ADR) will give you an idea of how you stack up against your competitors. By comparing this figure to last year, it will also give you a clearer picture of whether your rate changes are in keeping with economic factors that may impact your profitability, such as our current rate of inflation.
Consider metrics such as Booking Lead Time and Pick Up Analysis to help you to forecast when you should initiate marketing campaigns in the lead up to next festive season, to ensure you achieve maximum occupancy. And of course, understanding the Geo Status of your guests will help you to target those marketing campaigns to exactly the right demographic to maximise the impact of your marketing dollars.
Long before Peak season comes around, you need to work on ensuring you are making the most of all the distribution channels that suit your business. Make sure you have your property displayed where your potential guests are looking, whether that be Google Hotels, the major OTA’s, vacation rentals or meta channels.
Build and protect your own database of loyal guests.
Make the most of every opportunity to garner Direct Bookings to maximise your profitability. Harnessing the power of Direct Bookings will reduce your cost of acquisition, increase your revenue, give you the opportunity to control the guest relationship from the outset, and help you build your own valuable database for future marketing campaigns. Direct Bookings are booking gold.
Work on a strong online presence throughout the year.
Build a social media presence and connect with past and future guests in an engaging manner. Consistency is key when building a profile. You don’t need to post continuously, but you do need to post regularly.
Stay in contact with previous guests. Target them with campaigns providing loyalty bonuses and special offers. Understand your guest’s demographic and Geo Status and specifically target the relevant locations with your campaigns. Time your campaigns according to the Booking Lead Times discovered through your analytics.
Create season themed campaigns. Offer special packages that include activities suited to the festive season for instance, or that highlight special events in your area during that time.
Where possible, try to anticipate your staffing requirements for peak periods. Make sure staff are effectively trained and cross-trained during the quieter periods, to cover emergency absences and provide a contingency plan when occupancy ramps up.
Ensure that your staffing reflects the increased business demand. Reinvest some of the additional revenue in additional staffing resources, and you will have happier, less stressed staff and consequently happier guests.
Take care of your guests. Provide those little extras that the additional revenue makes achievable, such as a bottle of wine on arrival to celebrate the festive season. Make sure your staff are well trained and supported and have clear performance expectations regarding guest service.
Address any issues that do arise with empathy and resolve them effectively as quickly as possible.
Respond to online reviews. This is not the time to ignore them because you are busy. Make sure good and bad reviews are acknowledged and responded to effectively.
By considering the requirements of peak season well in advance, you will have the infrastructure in place in your business to effectively meet the demands of the busy holiday season. In doing this, you will make the most of the potential increased revenue and occupancy during the busy times, and your business will benefit from greater profitability and an enhanced reputation.
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