How to survive the holidays?
The holiday season is right around the corner and you might already by preparing yourself for this busy time of year.
If your hotel is open during the winter, the holidays might be your busiest time of year and require sophisticated management. It is also possible that you experience low occupancy rate if the Winter is a rather quiet period of the year for your hotel. In order for you to manage this holiday season confidentially and efficiently, no matter what your situation is, we have gathered you a little practical guide.
Manage your conference rooms efficiently
The holiday season is an ideal time for family or corporate gatherings where groups of clients will look for rooms to book and host events. If your hotel has conference or reception rooms, it is wise for your PMS software to be equipped with a room management software to ensure an efficient event management for the holidays.
With a good room management software integrated into your hotel’s PMS software, all the information is centralized, which makes coordination and the exchange of data quick and efficient. The software prevents you from making mistakes and losing important information when planning these events. If you usually experience peak occupancy during the holidays, you do not want to mix up bookings or misjudge the amount of food you need for a particular group. This is why it is crucial for you to be well organized and a PMS software equipped with a room management module is your best ally when it comes to planning events during the holiday season.
Use a yield management module
With high occupancy during the holiday season, it is important to be take advantage of a yield management module. This module allows you to fluctuate your rates in order to maximize your occupancy and your income. During this time of year, you can raise your rates because of the increase in demand for your rooms. It is therefore important to have a high-performance PMS software equipped with a yield management module to carry out these computations according to the right criteria.
Do not worry if your hotel does not reach its full capacity
Most clients, in anticipation of the holiday season, prefer to book in advance to guarantee a room. Other clients, however, show up without having booked. During this time of year, clients are more likely to book a room at the last minute. Therefore, if you still have some rooms available, you need to use a good strategy to attract those undecided clients who will book at the last minute.
Some clients might choose to book a room at the last minute seeing how they are far from home during Christmas dinner. Additionally, for hotels located in snowy regions during the winter, clients might be inclined to book a room late at night when they cannot go home due to unfavourable weather conditions. So do not panic if your hotel seems quiet at the beginning of the day, as some clients may arrive later without a booking.
In order to accommodate these late clients, make sure you have enough rooms heated and clean, ready to welcome clients for the evening. Especially if you are a small hotel or a regional motel, it is likely clients will come to you first before seeking accommodation in the nearest bigger town. It is therefore wise to keep a few rooms ready for these clients who will require a heated room to sleep in on Christmas Eve, even if the rest of your hotel has not reached its full capacity.
Establish a multi-step sales strategy
Even if the holiday season only stretches across a few number of days, the business opportunities can stretch over a longer period of time. This results in sales opportunities for a couple of months.It is not rare during the summer for some corporate or private groups to start thinking about hotel availabilities and room openings for upcoming events. The holidays attract a wide variety of clients at the same time so if a group would like to be certain of having a room for a precise date, they need to book in advance. Additionally, if some groups are able to anticipate and book months in advance, some are not. You need to stimulate those forgetful groups by different marketing actions that can be put in place during the summer. It can be very beneficial for you to remind them that they should consider booking soon if they want to be given priority the holidays come.
It is important to frequently update your room availability to remind your clients about holiday season offerings and packages. This creates a sense of urgency which activates the booking process for those interested by your offers. For the clientele whom do not belong to any particular group, the earlier you can provide information about your holiday offers to your booking agents, the easier it will be for them. This will allow your booking agents to answer any questions the clients may have and provide them with all the necessary information they require to book. More often than not, having precise information when your clients asks for specific details will give you a competitive advantage. Indeed, your competition might not have launched their holiday offers as early as you.
Once the holiday season is over, you still have some business opportunities. Some groups who were unable to book for their chosen dates will want to book as soon as the holiday season is over. The period following the holiday season is usually an off-season time of the year characterized by a low occupancy for some hotels. It is thus the perfect time to take the opportunity to offer these groups the possibility of booking for the following year the room they had in mind. However January can still be a month full of celebration so these groups could also choose to come and celebrate after the traditional holiday season ends. This is a good way of filling rooms in January, a month that can be particularly quiet. You can also perhaps offer them an advantageous discount as they are occupying rooms during an off-season time of year.
Prepare your PMS for the holidays
Even though the holiday season comes by every year and you think you are used to it, some work needs to be done in preparation for this peak occupancy season. This is to ensure everything goes smoothly and in the best manner possible. First, it is important to have a good overview of the previous years’ performance in order to establish an efficient strategy. This overview, which you can see on your PMS software, is a basis on which you can build your strategy for the holidays. Secondly, creating packages in your PMS software is the essential element which will allow your booking agents to rapidly inform clients who are calling them and start taking bookings with these complete packages.
Once all the packages are entered in your PMS software you need to ensure that they show up on your booking engine so that clients wishing to book online can do so. In order to avoid losing time, a booking engine that can intake the packages entered into your PMS software is crucial. Do not forget to take notes on your PMS software of all the planned activities in your hotel so that you can provide as much information as possible to your potential clients.
With all these tricks and ideas for the holidays, you are more than ready to get through the winter with confidence and efficiency.