Accommodation businesses earn the bulk of their revenue during the hotel peak season. The period between June and August for most destinations in the northern hemisphere.
This is the most anticipated time of the year for hoteliers, and it requires planning and hard work if they want to make the most of the high demand.
In this article, we show you valuable tips on how to prepare your hotel for the peak season and stand out from competitors.
What you should know about the hotel’s peak season
The hospitality industry operates in annual cycles that follow the seasons. During the year guest demand varies being at its lowest during winter, November to March, and at its highest during summer, June to August.
Of course, this applies to most destinations in the northern hemisphere. If you are in a different area seasonality might be different.
The point is, the high season is very important for accommodations. It’s an opportunity for them to boost revenue and make enough income to smoothly pass through seasonal downturns.
According to a Eurostat report, the average number of nights spent by EU residents in 2019 between June and August was 13, against 5.5 nights spent between November and March.
August is the busiest month with an average of 16.7 nights spent.
Post-pandemic room demand
Luckily the pandemic is over, and now it’s official. The World Health Organization declared the end of the Covid-19 emergency on May 5th.
Although things are going back on track, we can’t deny that the tourism industry is still recovering.
According to the UNWTO Tourism Dashboard, the total number of international arrivals in 2022 was 963 million, 35% lower than in 2019.
This is actually good news. Numbers are rising and this data shows a pent-up demand to be released over the next years.
But get ready for the competition, it will be fierce. Businesses are looking for making a good cash flow to compensate for three years of low income.
But don’t worry, the tips we’ve prepared will help you operate at full capacity during this hotel’s peak season.
Tips for hotel managers to prepare for this peak season
Now that you are aware of the importance of planning before an increase in demand, let’s cut to the chase and check the tips we’ve picked for this blog.
1. Get a look at your data
This is the number one tip because is the first step when getting ready for the hotel’s peak season.
All your strategies, from marketing to pricing, are based on the information you have regarding past guests.
You should look at your CRM searching for trends, they will give you a hint of who you should target, and based on that, develop your marketing campaigns, think of upselling strategies, and set the right rates for your rooms.
The information you are looking for is which type of customer has the highest average daily ticket. Basically, who spends more during their stay?
The next questions you should answer are:
- Do they have children?
- Are they young?
- Are they solo travelers?
- What is their average income?
- How do they travel?
- Where are they from?
If you are having trouble defining your target audience, this article about getting to know your ideal customer could be helpful.
2. Get in touch with past guests
If you have an extensive database of past guests now it’s the perfect time to use it. You can reach them by telephone or email. The last one is ideal because it’s less intrusive and you can measure the open rates and clicks to know if your strategy is working or not.
Talking about strategy, you can call their attention with a special offer for the hotel’s peak season. You can also send them a free city guide filled with attractions and hidden gems they might have missed during their last visit.
Past customers are a great audience because they already know your services and what to expect during their visit. Basically, you are a safe haven for them.
They also represent an opportunity for upselling, since you have information regarding their preferences and needs.
3. Anticipate your staffing needs
A higher customer demand means a higher staff demand. If you don’t hire enough personnel to cope with a period when your business will be under stress, you are risking a disruption in your services.
Gauging your staffing needs is something you should be used to if you are a few years in the market. If you are a new business, you should check on how your competitors are dealing with staff demand during high season.
But don’t leave it to the last minute! Hiring someone to work with you, permanent or temporary, takes time. Furthermore, after finding the right fit you need to provide training.
Hiring someone at the last minute without proper training is a bad move. This can lead to a high turnover and bad service. In the end, you will be doing more harm than good to your business.
4. Respect your business capacity
If you are short on staff, or if you don’t have enough rooms to deal with the high demand, the last thing you want is to overbook your hotel during the peak season.
Some hoteliers use it as a strategy based on the percentage of last-minute cancellations. But again, this is a bad idea if you don’t know your numbers like the back of your hand.
Overbooking has a negative impact on your brand, crew and customers. The outcome is bad reviews and a direct impact on your finances.
A good way to avoid overbookings is implementing a minimum nights stay, rethinking your cancelation policy (maybe creating a specific policy for this period), and working with dynamic rates based on the number of available rooms.
5. Integrate your business with your destination
It’s quite common for cities to host events during the high season when they are booming with visitors. In some cases, the events, like summer festivals and concerts, are the reason why travelers choose to visit one city over another.
This is an opportunity for you to offer packages with tickets and/or transport to these events. You can even set a minimum stay length for these packages.
If there are no events going on at your location during the hotel peak season, you can still use this strategy. Instead of a local event, you can create packages using popular local attractions.
That could be a museum, a landmark, or even a dinner at a famous restaurant.
6. Don’t miss the opportunity for upselling
Creating packages as mentioned in the previous topic is great to add value to your offer. But giving away amenities will not add to your revenue. On the other hand, upselling is the way to go for an extra income.
You can boost your average daily rate by offering the best rooms, cross-selling your branded products (if you have any), and reselling partners’ services and products.
According to Google 48% of travelers wait until they are at the destination to book an experience.
Your front desk is great to sell this type of service. You can even make things smoother for travelers by placing QR codes on folders and leaving them at the reception, common areas and rooms.
Another alternative for upselling is your website. You can use it to offer extra services and amenities while your guests are booking. This is what I call convenience.
If you got excited about this idea, you will need a booking engine and a functional website. In case you don’t have one we can help you with that.
7. Work on your reviews
Traveler’s buyer journey has changed over the past years. Nowadays people do everything online, from researching where to stay to booking their tickets. And an important part of planning a trip is reading online reviews.
Based on reviews travelers know if the accommodation or activity they want to book is worth their money.
According to TripAdvisor, 96% of their users consider reading reviews important when planning trips and booking hotels.
So, if you want to attract as many guests as possible during the peak season it’s prime to keep recent and updated reviews of your business.
A simple way to do that is by sending emails to past guests asking them to leave a review. You should also train your staff to collect reviews during the checkout.
8. Change your length of stay restrictions
If you are expecting a strong demand during the high season, you should consider implementing a length-of-stay strategy to increase your revenue from upcoming bookings.
You can do that in three different ways:
Apply a minimum length of stay: You should do that at the end of the peak season. This way you push later bookers to stay until the beginning of the low season, increasing your occupancy during this period.
Apply a maximum length of stay: This strategy should be considered at the begging of the hotel’s peak season. This way you can scale your room rates as the season moves on and demand increases.
Close to new arrivals: Close specific days for new bookings if you want to make income from stayovers rather than new bookings. This way you can charge more for an extra night rather than expect a new guest for a lower fare.
Again, using any of these strategies above might hurt your business if you are not expecting strong demand and full occupancy.
Summer is the most important period of the year for hotels because it’s the peak season. But it can turn into a lost opportunity if you are not ready to deal with the high demand.
To make sure to operate at full capacity in the next season, we gave you 8 tips in this article:
- Get a look at your data
- Get in touch with past guests
- Anticipate your staffing needs
- Respect your business capacity
- Integrate your business with your destination
- Don’t miss the opportunity for upselling
- Work on your reviews
- Change your length of stay restrictions
I’m sure by following these tips you will be able to have a better outcome from the peak season that is approaching. But keep in mind that you need a strong online presence if you want to reach your hotel’s full potential.
Offering a smooth booking process and an online experience that addresses your guests’ needs is very important for their satisfaction. If you are struggling with your business digitalization don’t worry, we have your back. Check out how ViagemIT has helped businesses in the hospitality industry boost their results and stand out during the high and low seasons.