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How to get more bookings in low season

Greetings,

This year will be my second November, December & January trading. Until the ski season got going, the bookings fell off a cliff from the very end of October through to the end of January, aside from Christmas & Hogmanay. I have promotions and Secret Deals but at the present, booking remain sparse for these months.

Can anyone in a similar position who has an apartment business offer any suggestions? Have you had much luck searching for contractor contracts to see you through the lean months? I am 100% full from April to late October but then nowt so there isn't even a tailing off; it is feast and then famine!

Any words or advice would immediately put you on my Christmas Card list. Thank you ever so much,

N

60 Replies

1
Thibault Masson

Hi Neil,
Not exactly sure about your situation, as I would have to know your business better. Yet, if you do believe that there is indeed demand for your location during this period (it can be that not at all, but your local peers can tell you that better than me), you generally do 3 things:
- Discount (you are already using some deals and promotions stuff. How about discounting week days?)
- Increase value (Free breakfast, Genius freebies)
- Add flexibility (For instance, my minimum length of stay is shorter in the low season. Or be more flexible with your cancelation policy in that season, if you can).
Hope it helps - T.

1 year ago
1
Neil Andrew Lewis

Hi Thibault,

Thanks you very much for your thoughts which are much appreciated. I have actually undertaken steps very much along the lines of what you suggest and so it is pleasing to know that I am doing the right thing thus far. I shall have to give some more thought to my promotions perhaps and see what I can do to improve them further and maybe tie-in some extra freebies.

Thank you very much indeed. Feel free to award yourself a large raise!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Neil

1 year ago
1
kenneth Skotnicki

Air B&B , take a vacation or staycation , Family time, put together a wood shop, and Use this time to do something creative such as as build something to sell during the high season, whirligig, bird houses, a toen of remembrance , there are dozens or things you could build. This is called "sharpening you own saw" take care of yourself. You will enjoy the season more when you see people buying your product. Do you have a liquor license? learn how to make craft beer and keg it or bottle it. learn how to build and admin your own webpage so you can cut out the crew that you pary now to manage and admin your page. I can come up with ideas all night long, put together Celtic music library.

1 year ago
2
Paul Chatwin

Hi Neil

If it is correct that you are already fully booked for next season then you are in a great position and there is your answer.

INCREASE your prices by at least 10% (probably even more) for your season in 2019 - it may takes a little longer to sell out but as long as you do, you are quids in.

OFFER all of your seasonal guests 50% off a "cosy winter escape" - keeping the rates high so the 50% discount is probably close to your discounted off season rates anyway.

ESCAPE for a month or two and enjoy a holiday - perhaps even visiting other similar businesses to see what they are doing (even in other Countries).

And, as Kenneth has said, find the quality time needed to see where you can make improvements - my favourite being ways of boosting direct commission free bookings.

1 year ago
6
Bandara Hotels…

@Neil Andrew Lewis It amazing that you running 100% full from April to late October.

I do agree with @Paul Chatwin That you need sometime to enjoy holiday and see other similar business to keep you update on this business field. And also you need your room to be rest and be able to do refurbish, touch up and make them in 100% good shape to be ready for April to October with higher rate than last year.

But if you really need business during your low occupancy, you could offer value add such as free early check-in, late check out, F&B, gift etc. and perhaps next low season you can do super early bird offer with lowest rate that you want and start yield rate once it getting high demand.

9 months ago
4
Angela @Promhills

I agree with Paul - you need to rest yourself or you will burn out. We take 3-4 weeks of our low season (July/August in southern Australia) to take an overseas holiday. We warm up and escape our winter here, recharge our batteries and then come back for a full on summer season (October-March). We also use the down time to close rooms down as required and paint/refurb ready for the peak. It's also the time we invite friends to stay and have a break with us while it's quieter.

9 months ago
2
ahoteiby

I would like to invite partners like me to escape their hard winter at my property at special rates!!! Check your calendars and reserve your place now.

9 months ago
2
ahoteiby

How long did it take to get the first client???

9 months ago
2
Dr. Hanaa Attia

Hi
I also invite you all to enjoy the worm sunny winter in Egypt...in a wonderful villa like with wonderful garden ...and 2 minutes from the beautiful lake...also u will enjoy the cheapest price for buying anything in EGYPT....Near airport oft Borg Elarb..valuable memorial places ....with very special discounts...just look

9 months ago
2
Dr. Hanaa Attia

Hi
Thanks so much for your comment...i thought that it appears to u through booking easily..It's name is Four bedroom chalet at Marina4 with private pool and garden...😂😉 long name of course...but I wanted most advantages to appear in it....as it's wide 4 rooms having a private pool and garden...It is in the north coast of Egypt 2K from El Alamein...In private wonderful village full of trees wonderful lake all over ..and sea shore...

9 months ago
2
Dr. Hanaa Attia

The low season in north coast of Egypt is from October to March...it is a warm winter season..

9 months ago
2
ahoteiby

Dear freinds,
I am delighted that you redponded to my queri.
My property name is (112) close to the American University in Cairo and state of the art shopping area in New Cairo. My location is short time to Cairo International Airport, Center of Cairo and the Egyptian musuem, the citedal, the pyramids and the Sphinx and sound and light. You can have one day trip to visit Alexandria and entertain having lunch with sea view, visit library of Alexandria and Roman Theater and other historical sites there.

9 months ago
2
ahoteiby

In this respect dr Hanaa Attia can arrange a good day in Alexandria for you.

9 months ago
2
ahoteiby

Our high season in Cairo starts now till End of June.

9 months ago
1
Erik Klausen

In the low season I use time to improve the property, make maintenance, so it is in good shape for the season. The art is to get the highest price in the season where guests are coming anyway. I give a discount to regular guests that are coming back year after year and who book directly. My properties are near the Mediterian in France.

If I rent out in low season I would be looking for activities that can be offered by help of services in the area, walking groups, yoga, art classes, etc.

9 months ago
2
Shirtsandsigns

You cannot make people want to come to your region if they want to be somewhere else. So if your region has a slow season you must provide a reason for people to attend. Do you have an "experience" provider you can partner with? For us that could mean fishing charters. Can you provide accom for guests to another tourist operation?

Can you contact local schools, companies, event managers, local government departments, who might need to accomodate someone and will prefer a discounted season. We accomodate judges for a national wine tasting during our off season.

Also we have had success with a postcard promotion where we sent special offer cards to past visitors, health workers (shift workers often have mid week days off), elderly citizens groups e.g. Lions Clubs or Probus, and even family friends. Make the deal for a fixed season or short time, but make it transferable so it can be passed to a friend. Print and post is relatively cheap and you get a definite measure of you success rate. Ie no discount unless guest brings in a discount card.

9 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hey Neil Andrew Lewis ,

Thank you for starting this conversation, you seem to be getting a lot of names to add to that Christmas list.

So I know of a resort in Lesotho which used to advertise themselves as a Ski Resort because of the amazing Snow during the cold months. Yes, they also have great slopes and all the things that goes with skiing. But they struggled to get reservations during summer.

They spent a bit of money and added another feel to their resort, which was sure to attract holiday-goers in the summer. In the summer they have quad biking, rollerballing (or something like that, it's some adventure thing), guided mountain hikes etc. They basically "transform" the place into an Adventure escape. I assume they do have the hire professionals to assist with these activities, and not everyone has a Resort as such but more an Apartment close to resorts, but it looks like it was well worth it if I look at the reviews. Now they are an Adventure Ski resort.

Maybe you can do a spin-off of that. Offer something Else in the summer time/ off peak time.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

9 months ago
2
Jan Christian …

Hi all, I have a question, how to attract guests to stay on long-term at my property in Hua Hin/Thailand ? Hua Hin has 8-9 different Golf Clubs and offer for either retired persons or persons working as freelance a lot. My property is a Beachfront condo with a wonderful tropical garden, 3 different swimming pools and direct access to the beach. Different than other locations the low and also rain season start in May up to End of October. I wish to attract more guests to come and enjoy this season of quietness at the location but also less crowd on the beach and visiting sites. Thank you for any ideas and comments.

9 months ago
3
Eugenia Ruabur…

By advertising special offers i.e. 20% discount ==30% discount = For me it is better to have somebody and nothing at all. and it works!!!!

9 months ago
2
Jan Christian …

Thanks, and you think it work also for long term rentals ? I will try....

9 months ago
1
FaRoyal Eilat

What is special for the low-season? what is happening in your surroundings, events, that are unique that that time of the year?

Perhaps try to incorporate that into your marketing / property photo with that special USP for that time of the year, make the disadvantage an advantage!

9 months ago
1
Jerry Larder

Here in Belize, we are intensely seasonal. The low season is almost devoid of customers and we have found that no matter what incentives we offer, they are still not enough to make people jump on a plane to travel to a destination that is 2/3rds shut.
I would advise a holiday, or doing major works on the estabishment that can't be done in high season.

9 months ago
3
Eugenia Ruabur…

During the off peak season, I do a lot of redecorating ready for the next season. Or I suggests in your business try to contact the organizations give them special offers as much as 30% ;;; finger x you might get a few. There are also group travel agency such as Gullivers. When I had a restaurant I recruited them to have group diners as happy hours between 5:00 - 7:00 - Good Discount - It work!!!!!

9 months ago
3
Eugenia Ruabur…

,Hi Jan ,

I hand friends who joined the group travel to Thailand. Wow, they enjoyed so much. Try the semi- retired or guests in their 60s-70s. Contact the Church or any organization over 60s. They enjoy their holidays without so much people they can bump into. There are also group of retired Police or any in the Public Sector;

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"Here in Belize, we are intensely seasonal".

That's true. Sometimes its just about the city/country/season.

Solution: invest in a country, where people rent every day

9 months ago
3
Eugenia Ruabur…

Low season !!!! Drop your pricing to attract the guests looking for cheap & cheerful accommodation.

9 months ago
3
Weigelt

As written before, lower your price during those periods. Alternatively, enjoy more free time !

9 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Yes I agree lowering prices for low season. It works!!!!

9 months ago
3
Akwador

We too are running close on 100% during high season - this bell curve of income is what keeps you going in the 'off' season. As a ski resort you have a problem in that there is no reason for being there except to use you as a holiday with no ski ing intended - we have people coming to us off season because they don't like the heat of our peak season and now have regular returning guests.

You will need to appeal to a totally different customer in off season - these will be people looking at having a break at a discount - however your discount should not be so great that you are offering accommodation, utilities, cleaning costs and wear an tear of linen and decors for what amounts to the water from a boiled egg.

Factor in costs, add a modest extra and see what happens - if you cannot fill your rooms then take quality time off or use the time to decorate for the peak season when you are full. You may wish to adjust your peak rate to earn yourself a little extra to soften the blow for being empty off season.

9 months ago
3
Akwador

Neil,

Something else you might want to consider is targeting business users where the off season weather is not an issue. An example is conferences (ideal if you have a dining hall that will convert into a conference hall). Other ideas are interest groups, we have had language courses, seminars of budding authors, and hypnotherapy courses, amateur painters etc.

I imagine the sky is the limit. Find these groups and offer discounts on group bookings. You then get to be full out of season - groups tend to all go out together so cleaning the rooms is easier as you don't have the 'don't disturb' brigade holding up room cleaning until they wake up.

9 months ago
3
Villa Junona Croatia

During all "low seasons" there are weekends. And there are people who want to spend them somewhere, not staying at home. So, having a hotel staying straight at the beachfront we see that when the high season ended people start coming without booking a room in advance. they either use "last minute deal" or just come "from the street".

That´s why we decided to use Facebook and Instagram advertising- We start it Wednesday evening and keep running till Saturday morning. We target it to our neighbor countries, to people who can reach us within 5-4 hours by car - not too far to go for a sea weekend.

Actually. last week spending only 2 euro for advertising we got 6 rooms (30% of our capacity) occupied from Friday till Monday,

We repeated tis action this week and will see what happens.

8 months ago
2
ahoteiby

I am learning from you and enjoying my self with these stories till I find clients to com to my place. My property is in new Cairo, Egypt and in the heart of a well off area and near to all historic areas in Cairo and Giza such as the pyramids, the sphinx and the Egyptian musuem. Do you have customers.

8 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Villa Junona Croatia your suggestions are very helpful. Facebook and Instagram really work I also had some guests coming to me.

8 months ago
4
k2u

Hello Neil

Drop your pricing, do some promotions, you can do your own promotions through BDC or do the ones they have offered. Check out the competitions rates. Go on the rate intelligence BDC offers, this helps with your pricing correctly.

Location means everything. Luckily here, (in NY state, US) We are about a mile from a very popular Ski area/Outdoor Adventure Park.. which this winter season there, everything will be brand new. They have renovated almost everything. So we will attract the skiers (depending on the snow and temps). Actually getting our first snowfall tonight. I say Ski Area because its not a resort, so no lodging there. From our Motel at night, you can see the lights of the ski/snowboard trails. There is a beautiful restaurant at the Mountain (not affiliated with the Ski Area) that the views are amazing. We also have a very popular hiking trails within 4 miles from us.

We have on and off season rates. As well as Holiday rates.

Good luck to you !! Everyone here has great advise.

7 months ago
1
Lodumo Guesthouse

Hie Neil
It's good that your are fully booked from April to October.
Your low period could be the best time then to prepare for your busy period through small renovations.If in any case you don't need this,I agree with Eugenia on dropping your price to attract Traveller's who are on lean budget.

5 months ago
2
Jonathan

Hello from Australia. We have had a BIG increase in bookings as soon as we allowed pets. We allow small indoor pets- sure the clean is a bit more involved, but the financial reward is worth the effort. It gets us through the quiet period. Hope this little tip helps, good luck with your business. Regards, Jonathan.

5 months ago
4
Angela @Promhills

@Jonathan - I am also in Australia (Victoria). How did you go with your Prescribed Accommodation health permit when you changed to allow pets? We are a registered food premise (so we can provide tea, coffee, milk etc to guests), under this permit we have the same rules as restaurants re animals in our rooms - none can come inside, except guide dogs. If we decide to allow pets, we can no longer provide guests with anything they can eat - including tea/coffee/milk - how do you manage it?

5 months ago
1
Auther1988

create more promotion
and deal with genius partner program
also u can give higher committion to booking.com for helping u do avertise

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

I have joined the PPP program, the Genius program and have using booster visibility with 20% commission.

I have made season deals with 25% off the basic prices. Have post my review award 2018 to facebook and instagram so people know that my property has been awarded.

Hopefully things will start moving....

5 months ago
7
Aaltje B.

If I could, Katerinka12... Off season you can offer people different things. Invest in certain books with a special theme that reflects your area.

Connect with people or groups where the tourists do go in winter and make your unit a starter or finishing unit before they return home.

We invested in double glazing, insulation and warm bedding, stacks of firewood, a high-quality fireplace and the best chimney for safe warming.

Chlorine-free showers in an area where it is definitely not common practice to have clean water

Communication; make sure anyone will be comfortable to ask any question.

Late arrival, lost the way, keep fine-tuning the how to get there route. Especially for people who don't speak your language.

I know, our prices are too cheap!

4 months ago
1
xavier

Greeting's Mr.neil.,

i am from south india we have the same day's here too but below mentioned point's make us move a great one which i suggest for you too.

Increase to be 50% Discount on week days?)
- provide (Free breakfast and car parking)
- do not say the guest about the minimum length of stay.

-give the guest free cancellation policy in that dry day's, if you can.

-give more compliment's for children and aged people

put a meeting with the hotel group's near you and make a deal with them to offer more room with good percentage to them will give more booking's

thanks&regard's

Xavier

Marketing Manager

for Hotel nalan

south india

4 months ago
1
Alice

Hi Neil,

Greetings from Sunny Cyprus!

We meet the same issues during the winter season. Summer is, of course, our high season.

This year was our first winter as we have just opened our business last summer 2018.

Although we have calculated our income as a yearly income and the summer suppose to cover for the dry season (lots of rain but dry from guests..ha..ha..).

I will take all the bits of advice from the above conversation and hopefully, next winter will be better.

Good luck to everyone !!

Alice

3 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Hello! Alice here the same thing. Lots of rain but very dry of guests. My first guest is coming in the beginning of May.
Wish you all the best.

3 months ago
3
Eugenia Ruabur…

Sure is a quiet season. I even offered 40% discount but where are the guests?

3 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

We just have to wait a little more I guess... Maybe Spring will bring us some beautiful birds...

Take care...

3 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Hi Eugenia,

Welcome back to the forum! I have been asking where are you and Junona Croatia... Hope everything is going well with you. How are you?

Do you have Airbnb? As I could remember 40% discount worked well for Zsolt. I am not, however, sure how does it work for different people as some people like big discounts and some people don't (Joey).

I would like to know what is the difference between Low price vs. High price with 40% discount. What is the performance in real life and in terms of Booking search?

Partners, please share your experience.

3 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Another question:

"No fees, ever." Did anyone try Agoda Homes???

3 months ago