Whether your boutique hotel is located in a destination that enjoys year-round sunny weather or not, you no doubt experience an “off-season.” This slow season usually sees fewer bookings and fewer overall visitors to the city or region that you’re located in. With the exception of resorts in ski areas or in sunny destinations popular with winter travelers such as Florida, the time period from November to March is considered the “low season.”
As a tourism-based industry, this season can be a challenge. Many of your expenses, like staff wages, property leases, and electricity remain the same, even as you face a fraction of the bookings that you do during the rest of the year. With low booking rates, this season can have a big impact on your bottom line, even if you’ve seen a high booking rate the rest of the year.
Attracting more bookings during your off-season can help offset the impact that this time of year has on your boutique hotel. Working with a hospitality consulting agency like Vibrant Management can help! We work with our boutique hotel clients across Southern Utah and beyond to find solutions that work for them to increase bookings in the slow season.
In a recent episode of Virtual GM, a hotel management podcast by Vibrant Management, we discussed a few tips for running a successful off-season for your boutique hotel. Keep reading as we dive into a few of these tips.
Run a Special Offer
One great way to increase your off-season bookings is to offer a discount to draw travelers. Even if your destination has plenty to do during the winter months, travelers not familiar with visiting this time of year might not believe that. As a result, they may worry that booking a stay this time of year won’t provide the same value as a visit during the summer would.
But if they can get a great deal on a stay with you, this can help overcome this hurdle!
At Vibrant Management, we advise our boutique hotel clients to not simply lower their rates this time of year. Instead, run a special offer, and advertise it via a pop-up on your website, and through any advertisements that you run. This tactic is two-fold. Not only can it help you increase bookings this time of year, but it also adds an incentive for your guests to book directly through your property, rather than through an OTA. Your special offer can include a great discount on a stay, as well as other perks, like discounts on spa services, room upgrades, or free tours.
Invest in Influencer Marketing
Another great strategy that our hospitality consulting agency recommends is to invest in influencer marketing during the off-season. As a hotel owner or manager, you no doubt already know the value of word-of-mouth marketing. But did you know that research shows that consumers now trust suggestions from strangers on social media just as much as they do friends or family? In fact, in one study, 49 percent of respondents reported having relied on a social media influencer for a product recommendation.
The off-season is a great time to invest in influencer marketing for a few reasons. To start, your property is already operating at low capacity. Providing a free room to an influencer in exchange for marketing your property won’t mean giving up a room that would otherwise hold a paying guest. This is also a great way to share images and videos of your property during the off-season, to help encourage other guests to visit this time of year.
Have a Compelling Message
Our final tip for running a successful off-season at your boutique hotel property is to craft a compelling message. Don’t just market this season as your “off-season.” Instead, make sure that you’re educating your guests and potential guests about the benefits of visiting this time of year.
No matter where your property is located, odds are that there is some benefit to visiting this time of year. For instance, our hospitality consulting agency knows that winter is actually the best time of year to visit Zion National Park. Temperatures are cooler this time of year, and the crowds of summer disappear. Visitors can enjoy empty trails, drive their personal vehicles into the park instead of riding the shuttles, and still enjoy many of the activities that you can do during the summer, like e-bike rentals or tours. We call it Zion’s Secret Season—an excellent marketing tool for drawing interest from travelers that might otherwise not consider visiting this time of year!
Let Our Hospitality Consulting Agency Help You Run a Successful Off-Season
Studies show that more than 20 percent of Americans prefer to travel during the winter. And many more might be willing to get away during the so-called off-season—if you only convince them why it’s worth visiting your property this time of year!
Following these tips can help you increase bookings during your slow season. To learn more about implementing these strategies for your boutique hotel, check out the Virtual GM podcast episode, “Running a Hotel – 3 Essentials for a Successful Offseason.” During the episode, you’ll also learn how to get a free brainstorming session with the hospitality consulting pros at Vibrant Management. Use your hour-long session to learn more about running a successful off-season for your property!