The goal of any hotelier is to keep their rooms filled with guests. Although 100% occupancy is difficult to sustain 365 days a year, keeping your percentages high is essential to your establishment’s success. Unfortunately, maintaining positive cash flow during high and low seasons isn’t easy. It’s a multifaceted process that involves understanding the market, your audience, and the ever-changing demands of travelers.
How can hotel owners and managers improve their occupancy rates? There are many approaches to consider; however, developing a strategy that best suits your business begins by understanding the factors contributing to hotel occupancy rates.
A hotel’s location can impact occupancy rates in various ways. For example, a hotel located in the city will likely have a higher occupancy than a hotel in an isolated suburb. Similarly, a popular tourist destination hotel will have more bookings than a hotel in a small, quiet town.
The type of hotel you manage can also impact occupancy rates. A hotel beach resort might get more reservations during the summer, whereas a cabin rental would be ideal during the winter.
Speaking of seasons, the weather can also impact a hotel’s occupancy rates. For instance, peak travel season in the US is during the summer months. That’s because the weather is favorable, kids are out of school, and work schedules are more flexible, making it the ideal time to plan an adventure. Travel also picks up in the colder months because the holidays are all about family and togetherness.
The cost per room is another factor that can determine occupancy rates. Tourists prefer to book rooms at hotels that offer affordable rates because traveling is expensive.
Product Cleanliness And Quality
One of the quickest ways to run your guests off is to have an unclean and poorly maintained room. While travelers love a good deal, no one wants to invest in accommodations that make them feel uncomfortable.
Amenities And Services
Modern-day travelers are looking for more than just a place to sleep. They want a hotel that provides services and amenities that accommodate their needs and lifestyle. If your establishment offers nothing more than a bed, bathroom, television, microwave, and minifridge, you may receive fewer bookings. However, a hotel with amenities like jacuzzi’s, seating areas, desks, free wi-fi, fully-equipped kitchens, spa treatments, swimming pools, free breakfast, and onsite entertainment will attract more guests.
No matter how grand your hotel rooms and services are, if your guests’ experiences are unfavorable, you’ll have a hard time maintaining decent occupancy rates. From the moment your guests arrive at the front desk until they day they check-out, your staff must go above and beyond to ensure they have an enjoyable stay.
Marketing And Exposure
Unless your hotel is the only one in town, you’ll need to work diligently at increasing your exposure and marketing to your target audience. Hotels often miss out on filling vacancies simply because no one knows they exist.
How To Increase Occupancy Rates
Now that you understand what contributes to your hotel occupancy rates, you can develop an effective strategy to improve. Below are some practical tips.
- Revenue Management – Revenue management is an essential concept in the hospitality industry. It’s the process of using essential data to determine room rates on any given day. Likely the best way to describe revenue management is selling the appropriate rooms, to the right audiences, at the right time, for the best price, through the proper medium. Evaluating data, generating reports, and developing insights to make the best decisions is challenging and time-consuming. Luckily, resources like Prosper revenue management services can simplify the process.
- Define Your Audience – Advertising your hotel to broad audiences isn’t always ideal. Although anyone aged 18 or over can reserve a room, everyone has different needs. Increasing your occupancy rates boils down to understanding what demographics your hotel accommodates most. For instance, if you own a bed and breakfast, your target audience might be older couples who like to disconnect from the world. However, if you own a resort, your audience might include families, couples, and young adults. The more you know about your target audience, the easier it is to cater your products and services to their needs and interests.
- Promotions, Packages, And Loyalty Programs – Everyone loves to save money on travel. As hotel accommodations are often the most expensive part of a trip, find ways to lower your audiences’ costs. Promotions, vacation packages, and loyalty programs will attract more attention and increase your potential to get more bookings.
The initial and operational costs of owning a hotel are steep. Keeping rooms occupied is essential to generating revenue and achieving success. Evaluate the above contributing factors and make changes as necessary. Then, utilize the practical tips to boost occupancy rates throughout the year.