Grow your business during the low season
Peak season over? Here’s a quick checklist for growing business during the low season
As the weather cools, it’s time to take stock of how to prepare to maintain occupancy and interest during low season. Enquiry levels slow down, and you’ve got empty rooms or your tours aren’t filling up anymore. You’ll miss the activity of the busy times just gone and more importantly, the bank account will miss the revenue coming in.
You can however take time (now that you have some!) to think about ways to increase bookings during the low season, and maybe learn a few lessons that will grow revenue and opportunity for your next peak season as well.
Here’s a checklist for growing low season business.
- Get your deal ready and know when to launch it.
If you don’t already know your average booking lead time (that is, what time frame is there from when a booking is made, to when they stay), start tracking it NOW. Booking lead times provide you with vital information about when it’s best to launch a deal to fill the coming months. Then of course, get that deal prepared! If you can’t afford to discount too much, try value-adding with a package of products, maybe working with another supplier to bundle some experiences with your accommodation. You will already know what guests like to do when they stay with you, so put it together and find a compelling price that will attract deal seekers. Remember your deal can vary from time of week to how many rooms or seats you’re willing to sell at that price.
Which brings me to my next point.
- Use distribution channels
If you’re already using online distribution channels, then start thinking about ways to work them harder. Apart from loading your new deals and packages, you could open up more inventory for sale over more room nights, relax your minimum night policy if you have one or do some research on growing more distribution through new partnerships. We all know wotif.com and booking.com who do fantastic jobs of reaching large audiences year round, but what about trying some other channels, like a group buying option? There is a pre-requisite for pricing these competitively, but you can dictate the terms in most cases. For example, bookings are only available Sunday and Monday nights, and you can close out the number of rooms sold on any one day to ensure you achieve higher rates when selling the rest of your rooms.
It’s also a good time to look at ways to improve ease of booking for you, by reassessing your automation and the systems you use to get to your customers.
And finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the elephant in the room right now.
- Leverage from the Visit Victoria campaign, Wander Victoria
The newly launched Visit Victoria campaign is targeting Melburnians to come out to regional Victoria and experience all those great things we know we have in spades. And it’s designed to grow your business. So if you don’t have an ATDW listing, get one. This gets you visibility on the Visit Victoria and Inspired by Gippsland websites, and the call to action drives all interest and enquiries back to you directly. It’s a really great cost effective way to raise awareness of your product and what you have to offer. When you’ve done that, start sending through images, anecdotes and information about just how great your experience is.