Most of our hotels have struggles building occupancies on Sunday and Thursday nights. I read an interesting article today (of course), and it offered a few ideas on how one could incorporate savvy sales and marketing strategies to develop soft nights.
What if one of our sales strategies was to offer meeting planners lower rates if they started their meetings/conferences at 8 am on Monday morning instead of 1 pm on Monday or 8 am on Tuesday morning? This strategy would then necessitate that the group rooms arrive on Sunday due to travel schedules and availability of public transportation. (Obviously, this strategy would not work if the company was local…..)
Many of our corporate customers are “feeling the pinch on their pocketbooks” these days.
Many of us feel like we are cramming all of our business into weekdays and suffering through low periods.
By suggesting or “pushing” customers to our soft nights, we help the customer by economizing their meeting budgets, while helping ourselves build more consistent occupancy and revenue streams.
I mentioned in a recent blog, about offering two tiered contract quotes. The premise was that we know what our demand days are…. we know what our soft days are…. why not help the customer help themselves and help us? If we give them pricing for demand days in OUR price range, while offering them THEIR price range on non-demand days…. who might be the winner? I think both of us!
For example: Your hotel sells out (or gets close) every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. You are very soft on Sunday night and so-so soft on Thursday night. Your base customer has a Monday-Wednesday arrival/departure pattern. You get a call from a planner and they want to have a meeting in your hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday with 10 rooms. Their budget is 20% less than your group rate. You have the meeting space wide open, and you also have the rooms. Your expectation is that the rooms will fill anyway at your LNR rate. You prepare a contract for the customer as follows:
What this example does not show you is the increased revenue you would take in on Sunday – a day you would otherwise experience a wash out AND it leaves the door open for you to take higher rated business on Tuesday night with sell through. Make sense?
Another supporting idea to increase Sunday arrivals (and Thursday stay overs) (and even weekend stay overs to include a Sunday night!), would be to incorporate a list of activities, happenings, social opportunities that are available on Sunday at your hotel or nearby your hotel. For example, is there a sporting arena near you? When you are quoting the proposal, why not mention if there is a home event that particular Sunday that people arriving early might enjoy? Note the times, location, and prices, and how they can get tickets. Is there a concert venue nearby? Same thing – let them know who, what, when, and how much? What about a festival or special event? Give them the info – maybe they can bring their family! You catch my drift – the goal here is to not only give your customers a reason to come to your hotel – but to come early and stay longer.