Make hay while the sun shines…
As the temperatures begin to rise and thoughts turn to the madness of school holidays, I felt it was a good time to review what you probably have or should have already considered moving into the Summer Season – after all, this is quite literally the time of year when most of us ‘make our hay’:
- Have you reviewed your rate strategy for the Summer Season? Who in your hotel is responsible for this task and how often is it really checked? If you are using a manual system then quite often mistakes can be made and rate changes can be missed, so review your selling rates and review regularly.
- Do you have the optimum availability online and by online I mean your own site? If your booking engine isn’t interfaced to your PMS, then make sure you review how many rooms you have to sell on your brand site and make sure you have every last room available to sell. And don’t forget to manage by room type. For example, if your occupancy is increasing with sales of your standard room type and you have lots of deluxe or suites still available, is there an argument for over-selling your standard rooms? Only do this if you are confident that you won’t displace higher-rated business but if over-selling room types makes your profit increase then don’t be afraid to do it.
- Are you managing your OTA channels effectively? If Summer is your busy season then don’t forget that OTA’s can only sell the rooms that you give them, so make sure you are limiting their availability when you know you can sell more rooms direct. This is the time of year when OTA’s should be controlled and your commission cheques should be dropping not increasing.
- Have you reviewed your packages? When was the last time they were updated? Not only do the search engines need fresh content but so do your customers! Your 1 and 2 night DBB rates may well be your best sellers and there of course is a strong argument for keeping these available over the summer, but consider shaking things up. How about an overnight with a Summer Cocktail? Or if you cater for families, how about ice-cream treats on arrival for the kids? Or maybe include a walking tour? Or offer picnic’s? Or ‘borrow a bucket’ for families heading off to the beach for the day… Look at who your guests are (we covered that in last weeks blog) and then match your Summer offering to your market. Make it snazzy and fun!
- Consider your in-room amenities? Would you consider changing things up for the Summer Season? How about complimentary water in the rooms with a little note attached? Or iced water for sale in Reception? Think outside the box and perhaps include sunscreen, insect repellant or fresh wipes? Add a little note in the room ensuring your guests know these are complementary and hey, you have just created a memory!
- How is the communication between departments? Are your events team communicating ‘room block needs’ to your room division team? Make sure that every wedding, tour or group block is managed to within an inch of its life and don’t miss one single opportunity to sell.
- Now is the time to maximise your Digital Marketing campaigns – spend rather than pull back. Now is the time that customers are searching so make sure that you are as high up the Google and Bing rankings as you possibly can be. You probably won’t fill every single day over the Summer so use your Pay Per Click campaign to target need dates. Place relevant ads where your customers are searching and maximise every opportunity.
- Plan your e:shots well in advance (if you haven’t already) and get those sizzling Summer offers out into the market. Make those campaigns targeted and relevant.
- Review your Summer Social Media campaign. Do you need to promote Summer offers on Facebook? Perhaps with the gorgeous summer weather, now is a good time to be adding images to Instagram? How about adding Summer videos on YouTube? Take advantage of the lack of grey skies and show your property and your location in its very best light.
- Do you need new photography? If so now is the time to get it done, so get it organised.
- Review your menus. Consider adding iced coffees, summer smoothies, summer cocktails or fresh strawberries. Again consider your customers needs and try and match – I promise that will make you more money.
- Review your rates well in advance. Remember that really clever revenue management is done well in advance, so make sure you are looking past the Summer madness and towards Autumn and your need dates for the final quarter.
- And finally, I utter the dreaded word… ‘Christmas’… Sorry… But you should be ready for Christmas 2017 by now and have menus, events, pricing and brochures agreed and signed off. If you don’t, trust me, your competitor will.
I hope this helps and I hope you all enjoy the madness of Summer
(and for all things revenue, just firstname.lastname@example.org)