15 – Top 5 Ways to Market Your Hotel in the Off Season
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Ryan Embree: Welcome to Suite Spot where hoteliers check in and we check out what’s trending and hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree.
Ryan Embree: Hello everyone and thank you for listening. Happy holidays. This is your host, Ryan Ryan Embree, and you are listening to the Suite Spot. This is episode 15. We’ve got a great episode for you today, very excited about it. We felt that, uh, during this holiday season, unless you are in a winter destination, we know that this is typically considered in the industry a off season or slower period. You’re starting to see occupancy maybe dipped down a little bit, causing her to come down as well. And hoteliers are constantly looking for ways to put heads in beds and fill their rooms during this slower winter season. And the spirit of that, we are going to have a top five list today of the ways that you can market your hotel during the slow off season. So let’s go ahead and jump right in.
Ryan Embree: We’re going to start with number five and number five is for hoteliers to start thinking about traditional advertising avenues, some more out of the box, ways to market your hotel. For example, coupons or billboards, you know, 60 percent of travelers during the holiday seasons are searching for hotels and making booking decisions during the holiday season. These could be a travelers that are going on road trips across the country so they might not have a particular plan or do the research that they would for maybe a summer vacation they’re making on the spot decisions and for those travelers we know best that places like coupon guides or billboards could really sway a last minute traveler to make that booking decision at your particular property. In saying that, if this is your first time implementing some of these traditional avenues of advertising, I would caution you to really have a system in place to be able to track your ROI. So if you’re a have coupons out there, you know, track the number of calls that you’re getting from the coupon. Collect those coupons at the front desk. Put in a rate code in your pms to make sure that you’re getting a solid ROI. So you can know moving forward, whether that is a channel to market your hotel moving forward.
Ryan Embree: So number four on our list of top ways to market your hotel in the slow season is to grow your guest database and the point of this would be to grow the information about your guests through email marketing so that you can really connect with those guests in the future. So if you haven’t already, start collecting emails from your guests when they first arrive at your property. You can. You can use this information for feedback for their stay, but also in the future, in the slower times, like the winter months. You can reach out to them for holiday events or stay again and save packages. We know that a majority of of bookings are now coming from Ota or third party sites.
Ryan Embree: Now that you’ve had the opportunity to host these guests, turn them into your customers, get their information so that you can reach out and give them portals and channels for them to book directly with you in the future. So saving you on commissions, but also maybe sparking some interest during that slower season. For another stay at your hotel.
Ryan Embree: So number three is using local personalization. And what I mean by that is you’re the experts of your market when travelers are coming, typically they’re coming from out of town, you’ve been in that market for a while, you know the events that are happening, on a seasonal basis. Use those events, leverage them to invite guests to stay at your property, create local packages you know, about the best restaurant in town. Be able to share that with them, get local partnerships involved. This isn’t just a slow time for the hotel industry typically.
Ryan Embree: This is a slow time also in all the hospitality. So restaurants, maybe event centers. So look for those local partnerships and opportunities to maybe put together some packages. Travelers are now looking for that more personalized experience. So if you can create a local concierge package for your guests coming in, that’s going to make a better impression and also help your property in the future. Gather more guests. So number two on our list of top ways to market your hotel in the slow season is utilizing and leverage social media. We all know the power that social media can have on a business. This is your time to leverage that power post about holiday specials on all of your social media accounts. This might be a good time to also explore into a paid ad campaigns and to places like facebook PPC campaigns to try to get some more exposure for your hotel and get some more search.
Ryan Embree: Again, when we’re doing that, just like the coupons, we want to find a way to get analytics and trackable data so we can know whether this is working for our property. Getting creative, using hashtags for your specific hotel also can move the needle when it comes to getting more and more exposure and building up your customer base and likes on these social media platforms. Contest, do giveaways. Everyone loves contests. If you can have a sign-up page on your social media for a like in a post, you could be giving away a experience at your hotel in. Lastly, explore new platforms. You know, we’re hearing about these new platforms like Pinterest. Instagram is really gaining a lot of traction. Now. The only thing I would caution you with this is make sure that you have a consistent sop in place once you create this account because what we don’t want you to do is create an account and then once you get busier in that summer season, it’s kind of left by the wayside, but explore these new platforms. Any place that you can get exposure for your hotel in front of customers eyes, you can put a channel to get more direct bookings for your hotel, especially during a time where it might not be as busy.
Ryan Embree: So number one, that top way to market your hotel in the slow season is to really connect with guests at this time of the year to get better reviews. You want to use this time to give superior customer service and special attention to the guests that are at your property. You might not be completely sold out. This gives you the time to really focus in on those those guests and give them a one of a kind experience that will leave them awed and amazed and ask them for their feedback on reviews. If you do this, you can fill up your TripAdvisor and other review sites with five star reviews and really set yourself up for the busy seasons.
Ryan Embree: Really get to know what your guests are saying and seeing about your hotel. This can really show and expose areas of the hotel that might need some preventative maintenance and work for your busy season. If you’re seeing that maybe an amenity or lobby area is, is getting dirty or it’s not clean during your slower seasons. Imagine what that lobby or Amenity is going to look like when your hotel is packed to the brim during the summer season. So this really gives some good insight to hoteliers about what, how they can, uh, how they can improve their hotel before that summer season hits. And it also is going to set you up for success for the spring and summertime when those guests come out and start to fill your rooms. By implementing these improvements, you’re going to avoid pitfalls and these negative reviews that you might see in the summer season when your hotel is full.
Ryan Embree: So that was our top five ways to market your hotel during the slow season. I did want to mention kind of a little bonus, best practice or tip that we share with our hoteliers, especially during the slower season and that’s some that is sometimes overlooked by hoteliers and that’s to give back to your employees. It really helps morale even if it means maybe a couple hours, you know, offer a certain day, you know, this could really help them recharge. So when you really need them in those summer months when you’ve got, you know, another 50 check-ins to go, you know, they’re going to remember this time that was given to them. So again, just a little bonus tip there.
Ryan Embree: I’d love to hear your feedback on our list and see if you have any tips that has worked for you that we can share live here on air. If you’d like to give us some feedback or just have any questions about our list today. We are very accessible. You can reach us at 407-984-7455. So I’d like to take this opportunity to go ahead and wish all of our listeners a very, very happy holiday. Here at Travel Media Group, we look forward to serving you the hospitality industry in 2019 and beyond. But we wish the best for you and your family.
Ryan Embree: To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group. Our editor is Anne Sandoval with cover art by Bary Gordon and content support by Priscilla Osorio. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.
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