Published : 29 March 2017
So, you've bought an accommodation business, opened the doors, and you're waiting for guests to arrive. The trouble is, you're not getting the numbers or the frequency that you hoped for.
This was supposed to be easy, a lifestyle business that would deliver a steady cashflow in return for minimal input, so you could enjoy more leisure time. So what went wrong?
In short, nothing! By their very nature, many accommodation businesses are seasonal. That means it's up to you to come up with ways of boosting bookings.
1. Everybody Loves A Great Deal
Of course, this should have been part of your research when buying the business. Accommodation businesses come in all shapes and sizes, from serviced apartments and motels, to cabins and caravan parks.
The type of business, and its location, would have given you some indication of customer numbers at the beginning. However, these can always be improved.
Everybody loves a great deal, so this is where you should start. Rather than simply advertising accommodation, what can you add to make this a more attractive package?
2. Create An Amazing Package
Depending on your facilities, you could package up the room with food or drink vouchers, discounted spa treatments, or vouchers to use at nearby tourist attractions.
The whole point of a deal is that the customer feels they are getting something extra, for free. So how about offering 3 nights for the price of 2 in the low season? Wouldn't it be better to receive 2 nights' income, rather than none?
3. Target Your Marketing
Take a good look at your books and work out when numbers are up, and when they are down, so you can target your marketing specifically. If you'd like to attract more weekenders from a nearby city, that's where you should be advertising.
If you need more bookings mid-week, consider joining forces with other tourism or hospitality businesses, to offer better deals. Or drop your prices for a mid-week special.
4. Corporate Events Will Boost Mid Week Numbers
Another great way of boosting mid-week numbers is to market yourself as a corporate venue, for conferences, special events, even local business meetings.
Do you have the facilities to cater for a wedding? Mid-week weddings are becoming more popular, and you could formulate a package that includes catering and accommodation.
5. Stay In Touch
Make sure your customer database is up-to-date and stay in touch. Offer special deals for anniversaries, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and so on.
Let them know if you are hosting an event, or offering entertainment, as it could prompt them into booking for a short break.
Do you have a restaurant? Establishing a reputation for great food is a sure way of getting repeat bookings. And consider holding special events, like degustation dinners or wine tastings.
6. Team Up With Local Businesses
Are there any major businesses in town that might require accommodation for visiting staff or customers? Talk to the business owner and offer a special rate.
Buying an accommodation business is just the start. It's up to you to decide how busy you want to be - and how to make that happen.
And remember, your biggest asset is amazing customer service. Make every visit exceptional for your guests, and they will come back.
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