Depending on your location, summertime is either the start to your high season, or the time where your business goes “poof”. In either case, you’ll need to craft a sales and marketing strategy for each of these scenarios.
For the hotel in HIGH season, because your hotel is doing well and business is walking in the front door naturally, this is the perfect time to do maintenance sales check up calls/visits to stay in touch with your customer base and prepare for the third/fourth quarters. Keep your eye on rates and make sure you are positioned perfectly so you maximize every day of your prime money-making season. Look for last minute “filler” business for those small gaps in availability – usually weekdays. Most “busy” summer hotels have built in events and activities that happen over weekends, so offering pre- or post- arrival specials to these groups and event attendees might capture shoulder business and boost a good month’s results to great month’s results. Keep up with social media by posting pictures, articles, and information about events in your community, and encouraging your guests to interact with your sites.
Now, for those of you who struggle in the summer because your customer base goes somewhere else (you are not a summer destination), it is especially important for you to create reasons to come to your hotel. You don’t have a great outdoors draw, you don’t have a beach, you don’t have shopping, and you don’t have the “largest ball of twine in North America” to get people to visit your city. So, what can you do? Look to the people who live and work in your community. Encourage family reunions — you can offer economical rates which many families require. People still get married, people still need their “peeps” for less than happy circumstances, and people still do business travel. Encourage road warriors to bring their families on the trip to enjoy the pool and family events. Build a weekend package that includes a map of “things to do” in your area. You’d be surprised how many people love to do what the locals do and find local history interesting. Put together picnic baskets and offer to your guests as an amenity. Plan pool activities, or movie nights. Partner with a local restaurant, bowling alley or movie theatre for family friendly opportunities. Look for alternative business like fantasy football draft, speed-dating events, cooking demonstrations, collectable or art exhibitions, kids/adult sports tournaments, summer school or vacation bible classes… the possibilities are endless.
Keep in touch with your customer base. Keep prospecting for new business or to share shift business. Call on customers who have said “no” in the past and encourage them to try your hotel by offering a “Second chance to love us” promotion.
Celebrate off-holidays. For example, July is Anti-Bordom Month, it’s National Blueberry Month, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month. (The second week of July is also Nude Recreation Week but I don’t encourage this celebration at your hotel.) Consult the list of unique and obscure holidays website http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/ for interesting and out-of-the-box ideas on how to reach out to guests. Some of my favorite July celebrations are:
July 1 – Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day
July 2 – World UFO Day
July 3 – Compliment Your Mirror Day
July 4 – Sidewalk Egg Frying Day
July 5 – Build A Scarecrow Day
July 6 – Fried Chicken Day
July 7 – Chocolate Day
July 8 – Video Games Day
July 9 – Sugar Cookie Day
July 10 – Teddy Bear Picnic Day
July 11 – Cheer Up the Lonely Day
July 12 – Different Color Eye Day
And on, and on, and on…..
If you have social media pages for your hotel, make your posts interesting and engaging and include the “event of the day”. Wishing customers a “Happy International Joke Day” and sharing a (tasteful) poke at travel, might be a fun way to encourage guests to share their favorite hotel humor. Remember, commenting is great but sharing is better! Make your social media “sharable”.
Lastly, I have often encouraged our sales people to celebrate non-traditional holidays. I have written several blogs in the past (http://theroomermill.net/celebrate-today/, http://theroomermill.net/packages-and-promotions-they-just-arent-for-the-holidays/, http://theroomermill.net/summer-doldrums-who-said-so/) and suggested sending off-holiday cards/gifts. It’s almost July so how about sending out 4th of July cards, including a recipe for a “red/white/blue” dessert, and making a sales call with the fixing for your Top 10 customers! Be a horse of a different color, don’t be predictable, and don’t try to save all your holiday wishes for December…… be the sales person who wishes people a Happy Flag Day, Happy Earth Day, or Happy Belly Laugh Day. You can find cards, notecards, decorations or gifts that support these types of holidays from companies such as Current, Oriental Trading Company, Lakeside Collection, etc. Right now, Current is offering mega-deals on patriotic note cards and decor.
So get up, get out, and get celebrating…. your customers will definitely remember you!
BTW – Happy National Pink Day!