As a hotelier, boosting the occupancy rate is critical to running a successful business. In a highly competitive industry, you must attract and retain guests to increase your property's occupancy rate and revenue. This article will explore various ways to improve hotel occupancy rates and the role of technology in it.
What is hotel occupancy?
It refers to the percentage of rooms filled on any given night compared to the total available rooms. Hoteliers like you must aim for improved occupancy rates, as higher occupancy rates lead to increased revenue.
Factors influencing your hotel's occupancy
When you try to boost occupancy at your hotel, you must know and understand the factors that impact it. Here they are -
Seasonality - peak/off season: While you can easily attract more guests and sell more during peak season in your locality, you must put in extra effort during the off-season when demand is low. For example, if you run a ski resort, you don't have to worry about occupancy during the winter. But the following summer, the off season, could be challenging for you.
Local area events: Local area events can significantly impact your hotel occupancy. If the event is popular and attracts many people from out of town, you will experience increased demand. You can increase your rate and occupancy as many people will be looking to book their accommodations. On the other hand, if the event is only of interest to locals, it may not impact hotel occupancy much.
Your guest service standards: They significantly influence hotel occupancy rates. When guests receive exceptional customer service and have an enjoyable experience during their stay, they are likely to write positive reviews and recommend the hotel to others. This word-of-mouth advertising can lead to more bookings and increased occupancy rates. On the other hand, if guests have a poor experience due to subpar service, they are likely to leave negative reviews and discourage others from staying at the hotel. This negative feedback can result in lower occupancy rates as potential guests may choose to stay elsewhere.
Your pricing and competition rates: If you set your rates too high and your competitors offer the same level of services at a lower rate, you will surely not be able to boost sales and occupancy. It will deter price-conscious guests from booking with you. At the same time, selling at too low rates may give the impression that your property lacks quality. It, too, will lead to less bookings and occupancy. Finding the right balance between pricing and competition rates can help you improve your occupancy rate.
Your hotel's online ratings and score: In today's digital age, when most people book hotels online, they rely on hotel reviews to decide where to stay. If a hotel has consistently high ratings, potential guests are more likely to choose that hotel over others. On the other hand, a hotel with poor ratings or negative reviews can deter guests from booking a stay there.
Strategies to improve hotel occupancy throughout the year
Sell more online: You should focus on selling more online. For this, adopt a Channel Manager and integrate it with the Cloud Hotel PMS. It will help you distribute in real-time on multiple OTAs and metasearch sites. Ultimately, it leads to more sales via online channels, resulting in improved hotel occupancy. At the same time, you need to have a web booking engine to generate more direct bookings via your website and social media pages.
Offer exceptional guest services: Roll out contactless guest services as today, over 90% of guests will book with you over your competitors if you offer one of these services. It includes allowing them to use their phones to check in, unlock the room, raise service requests, make payments, and check out. And yes, you must leverage technology to speed up the check-in and check-out process, as guests would prefer to save time at your lobby.
Offer promotional packages: You need to identify your target audience and know who they are and what they want. Are they families, couples, or business travelers? Do they prioritize luxury or affordability? Knowing them will help you create packages that appeal to their interests and needs. Offer them value - for example - a discounted rate or free spa treatment. Or you can tell them that the 3rd night will be at a 50% discount if they book two nights via your website.
Encourage guests to book by creating a sense of urgency. This could be through limited-time offers or by highlighting the number of available packages. Consider running targeted ads to reach your desired audience. Integrating a Cloud Hotel PMS and Hotel CRM here can do the job for you.
Leverage repeat guests: There are various ways to leverage repeat guests to boost hotel occupancy. One of the most effective strategies is offering them loyalty programs with exclusive perks and benefits. Consider offering special promotions and discounts to returning guests. By offering discounts or exclusive offers to guests who have stayed with you, you can encourage them to book with you again and boost overall occupancy.
Predict demand: Anticipating demand is a crucial factor. By keeping track of trends and analyzing past data, you can better understand when your peak seasons are and when there may be a lull in business. It enables you to adjust rates and marketing strategies to attract more guests during peak/off times. Data analytics and forecasting tools like revenue management systems can help with this. When you nail it, you can incentivize your guests with special packages/discounts during the off-season to improve hotel occupancy and revenue.
Organize events: Organizing events can be a great way to improve hotel occupancy. By hosting events such as conferences, trade shows, weddings, or parties, you can attract large groups of people who need a place to stay. Not only does this increase the number of hotel guests, it also provides an opportunity to showcase your amenities and services. Additionally, hosting successful events can lead to positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations, increasing occupancy in the long run.
Implement length of stay: By setting minimum or maximum length of stay restrictions, you can have a steady flow of guests throughout both peak and low seasons. For example, during peak season, you can set a minimum length of stay requirement to accommodate guests for a more extended period rather than having many short-term stays that can be difficult to manage. It can also help you to optimize your pricing strategy, as extended stays may be more profitable than shorter ones. On the other hand, during low demand, you can set a maximum length of stay rule to encourage guests to book shorter stays, which can help fill rooms that would otherwise be vacant.
Work with hotel revenue managers: One of the primary responsibilities of a revenue manager is to help increase hotel occupancy. They can do this in several ways, such as by analyzing market trends and adjusting pricing strategies accordingly. By understanding the room demand, a revenue manager can strategically set prices to maximize revenue while keeping the hotel competitive. Additionally, revenue managers can collaborate with marketing teams to create targeted promotional campaigns that advertise the hotel's unique selling points. All these are critical elements to attract more guests to the property.
Higher hotel occupancy is a crucial factor in the success of your hotel business. To improve hotel occupancy, you must understand the influencing factors, implement effective strategies, and leverage technology solutions, including a cloud-based hotel PMS, revenue management system, hotel CRM, etc.