Your November Check-list – Part 2
Before the madness of the crazy Christmas season takes hold, I hope that November is giving you a little breathing space and allowing you to plan for your low season and into 2017.
Last week we recommended you have your Christmas vouchers online, along with rates to promote the traditionally quieter months of January and February.
So what else should we be actively reviewing? Well lets start with availability:
Often over-looked but definitely crucial to revenue growth is ensuring you actually are managing your availability correctly. Sounds obvious enough but is it? Managing availability is often something we leave to a Reservations Department or sometimes even someone quite junior in our hotels but having the correct room stock online is critical and often just due to time restraints this isn’t managed particularly well.
- First of all look at your own brand website. Do you have the absolute maximum rooms available to sell on every date?
- Do you have bedroom stock and rates loaded until at least the end of 2017 and if possible into 2018?
- If your demand naturally starts at your lower priced rooms i.e. standard, then check if you have the maximum availability possible online for that room type. Even if this means taking stock out of Superior or Executive, then allow your own brand site to upsell and maximise every sales opportunity.
- Many brand booking engines will allow you to dynamically substitute a room from for example a superior category into a standard category but what if you have days when you are so desperate for business that you are happy for a Deluxe Room or a Suite to be substituted? No system can work that out on a day to day basis, so my advice is to check individual dates and ensure from now until the end of your quiet season, that you have the absolute maximum number of rooms online that you can.
- We all have Need Dates coming up, so make sure that every barrier to book is removed. All Length of Stay restrictions are removed and that we are open for business
Those of you who know me will know that I am not a huge fan of OTA’s and the amount of control that we as an industry have given to them but if you are going to ‘sleep with the enemy’ then learn how to play the game!
- At this time of the year, it is essential that we maximise whatever revenue we can and by that I mean, please don’t crash your rate but do maximise the relationships you have with the OTA’s.
- Add as many rooms as you can, remove the barriers to sale on these channels and be open for business
- Again, please don’t drop your rate on these channels to a price you wouldn’t be comfortable selling. A race to the bottom has no winners, but do allow yourself the best possible chance to get business when you need it. It it about time we were in control of this relationship…
Last week we talked about Christmas Present rates and January Sales but what else should we be doing?
- Now is the perfect time to ensure that we have our Spring Rates online and again, please be ‘soft’ and emotive with your rate titles, images and most importably the content text.
- We all have a story to tell so let that come across in how we sell ourselves
- Speak to your Online Marketing company and make sure that they are pushing banner ads on Google to promote these Spring Rates
- Now is also a good time to review your rate plan for all of 2017. Which markets are you trying to attract? Which are the most profitable? Which rates sold best in 2016? When were these released and when did they generate business?
- Use this time to plan and remember keep all of these wonderful packages on your own site. Bring everything back to Brand as often as you can
If you are a hotel that attracts Tour Business then now is the time to be looking at 2018 rates.
- Which tours worked best for you?
- Which had the lowest wash?
- Which encouraged the most incremental spend?
- Which gave you business when you needed it?
- Which were actually the most profitable?
- And most importantly, is there an opportunity to push the rate?
November is possibly a little late in the year but if you haven’t this already sorted, you might want to look at the Corporate and Contracted Rates you have been selling in 2016.
- Can you actually name your Top 20 Corporate Accounts?
- What is their overall value to your hotel?
- When was the last time your rate was moved?
- What incremental spend did they bring to the hotel?
- What are their cancellations v booking ratio?
- When did they stay and did these contracted rates actually displace higher rated business?
Before you re-contract anyone, I recommend you answer all of these questions and understand the true value of contracted business on your property. Now is the time to get your house in order
(and for all things revenue, please just email firstname.lastname@example.org)