How to Increase Hotel Occupancy Even During Low Season with These Proven Hotel Marketing Strategies

Every hotelier loves the peak season—influx of guests, high demand, and easy to achieve full hotel occupancy rate. The thing is, when there’s an upside, there’s also a downside. Hoteliers like you probably know that the season you all love will have to change eventually as it does every year. So come low season, you will see a low occupancy report in hotels after struggling to increase the occupancy rates. Seasonality is the difficult reality that the hospitality industry has to deal with yearly.

This is what we hope to change. In this article, we will help you overcome the worst of seasonality with these tried and tested hotel marketing strategies that will increase your hotel occupancy rates even during off-peak season.

How to Increase Hotel Occupancy Even During Low Season

  1. Increase repeat guests
  2. Run hotel loyalty programs
  3. Organize events
  4. Offer discounts and special promotions
  5. Maximize unused spaces
  6. Use email marketing
  7. Manage your online reputation
  8. Set an off-season pricing

What’s inside this blog?

Factors Affecting Hotel Occupancy Rates

Seasonality is a major factor in any business but it is the hotel industry that is usually one of the most affected by this. There are three main season categories: peak season, midseason, and low season, when these happen largely depend on the location of the your hotel. Each season poses different demands and expectations due to these factors: weather changes, holidays, events, travel habits, and in today’s case, a pandemic. So, it is important for hoteliers to understand seasonality in the context of what changes between each period in order to run operations efficiently.

Beat the Low Occupancy Rate During Off-Peak Season

Here are some ways to increase hotel occupancy rates during low season:

1. Focus on attracting repeat guests in your hotel strategies

Generating sales from new customers plays a huge role in the success of your hotel but the real profit comes from keeping them. When you have repeat guests, your hotel revenues can skyrocket. In a New York Times article, Senior Vice President for Marketing at Preferred Hotel Group Casey Ueberroth said that the loyal, engaged guest is driving large amounts of revenue. He added that 10 to 15% of companies make up as much as 60% of the revenue.

Repeat guests are hotel guests that stay in the same hotel several times because they like the rooms, services, and they are loyal to it. This type of guest is one of your best marketing assets. While new customers are valuable, it is still important to note that your repeat hotel guests are the ones who will speak your name to all their friends, family, and colleagues, that in the long run, will give the biggest impact on your hotel’s growth.

If you want to ace this part, the best time to win repeat guests is during the peak season because you get the maximum number of guests, giving you an opportunity to attract these people to stay at your hotel for their next trip.

Keeping in touch or rekindling connections with former hotel guests is an untapped resource that you can employ all year round. You can dedicate a hotel relationship manager specifically for this purpose, or you can reach out through a hotel newsletter. Sweeten the deal with preferred hotel rates to attract bookings.

2. Drive hotel brand loyalty with hotel loyalty programs

Having a loyalty program is among the best approaches to increase repeat guests at your hotel. Through the hotel loyalty programs, your repeat guests can get exclusive discounts, privileges, upgrades and more, when they book your hotel repeatedly. You will be top of mind on your guests' next trip because you are showing that you value their trust and are more than willing to make the guest experience worthwhile. Hotel loyalty programs can help increase your hotel occupancy even during an off-peak season. 

Must-read: 7 Strategic Ways to Boost Hotel Guest Loyalty That Will Help Maximize Revenues

3. Organize events to increase occupancy rates

If there’s one definite thing that has always been a good driver of revenue for hotels during the low season, it’s events. By organizing events like festivals, concerts, holiday parties, marathons, seminars, or entertainment, you will attract customers. Events give you a chance to upsell extra services of your hotel such as rooms, spa and massages, restaurant services, and more.

You can also tie up with local government agencies or businesses that are organizing business seminars or workshops. Business events are conducted with many guests and consequently, they are very profitable as they would book multiple rooms at a time. 

4. Include discounts and special promotions in your pricing strategy

Discounts and good deals will definitely entice people to book your hotel, especially last-minute travelers looking for amazing deals online. But it doesn't have to be a last-minute resort to increase your occupancy rate. Including enticing deals in your seasonal hotel pricing strategy can help you get your rooms booked in advance and gives you a better revenue outlook for the period. A discount isn't necessarily a loss when you look at the bigger picture. It could tide you over leaner seasons. 

With limited demand, you want to create value for your guests while also increasing the average basket size of each check-in. A few things you could do include: 

  • Lower rates for week-long or even month-long stays - the length of their stay will offset the discount per day. 
  • Free room upgrades - helps you manage room inventory better, get more bookings in your high-demand, cheaper accommodations
  • 10% discount for those who share your promotional campaign on social media - incentivizing promotions could potentially increase your overall occupancy rate

5. Maximize unused spaces with seasonal attractions

One of the best ways to increase occupancy rates during the off-peak season is to utilize the unused spaces in your hotel. This doesn’t necessarily mean changing the setup is permanent, but make the most of your unused spaces to make your hotel more attractive to guests.

Seasonal attractions include:

  • Temporary canopies in outdoor areas/gardens, to serve as lounges or event venues. 
  • Special classes, group exercises, and workshops in unused function rooms.   
  • Creating temporary co-working spaces for those who are looking to work in a nice place with a stable internet connection. 

Utilizing such spaces at your hotel will add a lot of value to your property, and increases your chances of getting booked. 

6. Use email marketing

Email marketing is the strategy used to promote your products and services through email and it’s a good strategy to attract guests during low season. According to Statista, the number of global e-mail users amounted to four billion in 2020 and is set to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025. Therefore, email marketing is one of the most powerful hotel digital marketing strategies as it does not only boost customer retention but also helps you to acquire new customers and increase their spending, resulting in generating more revenue.

When you write your newsletters, make sure to highlight the facilities of your hotel that you think will make them book fast. Plus, promote your special discounts and packages to entice them even more.

7. Manage your online reputation

Hotel online reviews play a very important role in driving occupancy as guests usually choose a hotel based on reviews. For you to be the chosen one, make sure that your online reputation is good. And if ever there are negative reviews about your hotel, respond to it ASAP and in a polite way (We’ve created a guide on how you should respond to negative hotel reviews online here: Got Bad Hotel Reviews You Feel You Didn’t Deserve? Here’s What to Do About it)

8. Have an off-season pricing strategy

There's more to low-season pricing than lowering your rates across the board. It is not just a necessary compromise to keep your hotel rates competitive. The goal is still to increase your revenue per available room (RevpPar). Considering this approach, your off-season prices should not be stagnant. There are still bumps in traveler demands even during off-peak seasons. 

One of ways to plot this, even right now, is to look at a calendar. Mark holidays, weekends, and even pay-days and consider these as slightly high-demand days, relatively. Also be on the look out for airline seat sales and even weather patterns and adjust your rates accordingly. Off-season pricing should still be constantly adaptive, and these little tweaks can add up in the long run.

Of course doing this manually can take up a lot of your time and energy. One efficient way to manage your prices and maximize revenue is by using a reliable Revenue Management System (RMS) like ZEN RMS. This revenue management system features a dynamic pricing strategy to help hoteliers like you set the best rates at the right time for the right season and for the right guest.

Suggested article: Dynamic Pricing for Hotels: The Fastest & Smartest Way To Increase Revenue

In the hotel industry, dynamic pricing is a revenue management technique of tweaking room prices automatically based on consumer demands, competitor pricing, seasonality, current occupancy rate, and other external factors. It's a quick and handy program to make sure your prices are remain competitive 24/7. ZEN RMS uses smart pricing engine, instead of human intervention, that extensively analysis of an immense amount of data points within a very short period of time. With a built in channel manager, these prices also reflect automatically in all your online hotel booking engines from your direct booking site, to your OTA listings. 

With so many dynamic pricing systems available for hotels, finding the right one that offers everything you could ask for can be a struggle. With ZEN RMS, consider your job done as we help you to increase revenue with the best price in the market.

ZEN RMS features AI-backed intelligent pricing, real-time automated updates, and in-depth analytics for performance review. Save time and stop losing money. Leave the most crucial aspect of your hotel to be handled by experts in the industry. Let ZEN Hospitality Solutions help you bounce back and increase your revenue. Book your free appointment now at https://www.zen-hs.com/book-a-meeting/.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hotel Occupancy Rates During Low Season in Hotel Industry

Q: What are the factors affecting hotel occupancy rates?
A: Seasonality is a major factor in any business but it is the hotel industry that is usually most affected by this. There are three main season categories: peak season, midseason, and low season. Each season poses different demands and expectations due to various factors such as the weather changes, holidays, events, travel habits, and in today’s case, a pandemic. So, it is important for hoteliers to understand seasonality in order to run operations efficiently.

Q: How to increase hotel occupancy in low season?
A: Here are some ways to increase hotel occupancy rates during low season:

  • Increase repeat guests
  • Run hotel loyalty programs
  • Organize events
  • Offer discounts and special promotions
  • Maximize unused spaces
  • Use email marketing
  • Manage your online reputation
  • Set an off-season pricing

Q: When is the hotel low season?
A: The hotel low season depends on your location. In the Philippines, the peak season is from November to May while the low season is from June to August.

Article by Cielo Fernando