July is just around the corner and if you don’t have already booked all your hotel rooms up to this day, you might probably think that you’ve lost the game. Is it so? Of course not. It might be late to start running campaigns that require a lot of time, effort, money and, most of all, patience but it is never late to focus on last-minute travelers and do your best to attract their attention. Last-minute bookings comprise a good percentage of travel bookings and you should not underestimate their value. Especially if you still have empty rooms to offer.
So what should you do now to make some profit for your hotel?
The most common and effective technique is to run some last-minute deals. Similar to early bird ones, you can offer a special discount for bookings made just a few days before arrival. Even better, you could create different packages for different days of the week. Since it is more common to have empty rooms during weekdays you should absolutely take advantage of this fact and promote that kind of offers.
Another technique you could employ is to focus on specific target groups. Work together with your revenue managers to get an insight on previous years’ behaviors and then plan today’s move. For example, you might come up with the following about last June. It was mostly couples that made their booking last minute. From that characteristic you know that you should probably create last-minute packages for couples – add spa treatments, dinners under the night sky and so on.
Having an empty room is way worse than giving it for free. If you see the time flying and you still have empty rooms, you should absolutely run a competition that will offer free nights at your premises but only for specific days – you are the one choosing them. Even if you are going to earn nothing from the stay, you will absolutely earn more than having the room empty. After all, who stays in a hotel without spending a lot more than for the stay.
We all know the power of social media and for once more, we are going to take advantage of them in order to get the “fully-booked” sign on our website. Play hard on social media to let the world know, not only that you have still rooms for the summer, but that you will offer your guests the best summer vacations ever, that you are located on the spot of your area, that your guests last summer had the time of their life and so on. In other words, brag about your hotel’s awesomeness – generally, it is not allowed to but today we are in a rush for bookings so I’ll look away.
What about your good old friends? No, I’m not talking about your schoolmates but your previous guests. You already have important information about them so you can craft the perfect email marketing campaign for them. Split them in groups according to their type and send them a summery, joyful email, letting them know that you are running some serious offers for the next days while reminding them that they had an unforgettable time the last time they visited your premises.
Advertise heavily on the web for a couple of weeks. Be it social media ads, search or display advertising, make sure that you make it clear to your audience that there is still time to book their stay in your hotel while saving big time. Even if it might sounds as a technique that requires some spend, it worth it. Not only because this type of ads for such a small time period are not that expensive but, also, because it will fill your empty rooms with happy guests.
To sum up, my point is that although you might find it too hard and too late to market your hotel at this point of the year, it is not that much. If you work on what you have in right manner you will absolutely have no rooms left by the end of next month and if you still do, don’t worry! Focus on the next big thing in sales strategies for hotels: cross-selling. Boost your income by employing your cross-selling techniques to the ones that have already made their reservations.