Although travel is more accessible to more and more tourists each year, cheaper, and connections much better connected, there is still a strong seasonality in the travel industry. After the holiday season or winter holidays, the number of bookings drops sharply – sometimes to zero, rising gently only during Christmas or long weekends. This is natural and you may have gotten used to it by now. The current situation and the recent problems with continuity in the tourism business caused by the pandemic have forced all owners of tourist facilities to rethink their business model towards additional off-season activities. Such a strategy will enable the necessary continuity to maintain business, which, in the event of unforeseen situations like the one that has occurred over the past two years, will save their operations from closure. Support and a hotel reservation system will help find an effective solution for the owner of apartments for rent or those interested in running a guesthouse.
Start with the fact that renting accommodation in the off-season is an excellent plan to meet the objectives in the introduction of the article. Just how do you do it so that your tourist property does not remain empty in the off-season? So that it attracts enough tourists at any time of the year? Fortunately, there are a number of activities and opportunities that will certainly help you gain tenants in less popular seasons and weaker times. During the peak season, which largely depends on where your property is located, it’s easier to get high occupancy and achieve your financial goals. During the other months, you should take advantage of all available ways to keep your resort busy year-round. This is the only way to spread your annual income expectations over 12 months and not to frantically overwork yourself during the season. That’s when tools to conveniently manage your property, such as an online lodging reservation system, will also come in handy.
Start by believing that changing the way you approach your business is really possible. It’s just important that you follow certain guidelines designed to keep potential tenants interested during the weaker season. You can prove with your message that less popular months for visiting your resort do not make it less interesting.
It may also happen that the facility needs some changes. More or less costly, such as heating, insulating the building, or fine-tuning the system of post-season attractions. These or other expenses are part of the inevitable steps to optimally adapt the offer to post-seasonal realities.
Read on for some points you can apply to your property to attract tourists in the off-season and keep your lodging reservation system filled year-round.
The first thing you should do is firmly determine when your industry’s peak season falls. When does it start to drop, so that you can ultimately determine the months that require increased efforts to guarantee tourist interest in your facility. Low and high periods in the tourism industry naturally vary depending on the specific location of the facility. The easiest way to demonstrate this is to use the example of the sea and the mountains, where the peak season at the Baltic Sea is definitely summer and the holiday season, and the mountains are incomparably popular in winter, while the seaside resorts are almost completely deserted. So if your property is located in an area with winter sports, you will most likely not have as many visitors in the summer as you do in the winter months. The easiest way to check this is by using the lodging reservation system, going back to the base of the last few years. So you should look for ways to attract customers during these less popular months as well. Really, all regions have potential to be exploited at any time of the year, you just need to find it and advertise it properly.
This is not the time for crude advertising – one sign with an arrow, a stumbling block or an ad in the press. Blandness is not at a premium, and your competitors are already using all the marketing tools. You, too, need to start doing so, if you are not already doing so. Remember that your website is the tool the customer sees most often first. So it is worth ensuring that it is visually inviting, as well as that it is up-to-date and working correctly. Try to change the details on the site regularly so that it relates to the offerings of the season; after all, a fireplace lit in August doesn’t sell as well as one lit in December. In the same way, you need to approach your price list and other terms that require seasonal modification in terms of marketing.
Marketing is not just about a website. Don’t forget platforms like Airbnb or Booking. Use them, customize them, and you’ll be able to offer your services every season when customers reach out to search on these popular platforms. A booking system linked to accommodation portals is an added convenience for off-season work.
The golden rule of business is to spill its advantages like from a sleeve. Interesting places, tourist spots, scenic parks, monuments or places of architectural interest – there are really many opportunities in every area of the country. All you have to do is find them. Most likely, these highlights are well known to you, but consider others that may be attractive sometimes to a completely different audience, and how to use the points you know in the winter season. The beach in summer is naturally beautiful and tempting, but in winter it can also be beautiful and become a perfect outdoor location for photos. How about a winter special offer for photographers? Entering such an additional offer in the booking system, can be paid extra or added as a bonus.
The second issue is events – the more and less popular ones. In the heat of seasonal work, you may not notice how many interesting events are taking place around your property. Not necessarily directly nearby, but in close proximity. By being aware of such events, you have a chance to ensure occupancy throughout the year. Music festivals are a good example – they won’t always allow you to reach the same audience you’re used to in high season, but it’s a good chance for full occupancy at attractive rates. If your resort is a bit further away from the event – providing transportation to the destination will be an added advantage.
Is your property located away from popular locations? This is an advantage that will be an attraction in itself for travelers in search of relaxation. However, it’s also not the end of the possibilities. You can organize workshops, themed events on site, such as workshops in handicrafts, singing, embroidery and much more. If you don’t have this kind of passion or skills yourself, take advantage of external companies, with which, working together, you will certainly create an interesting offer. In agritourism farms, in addition to peace and quiet, you can also spend an excellent and interesting time, check here.
To attract the attention of potential renters, this information should appear prominently: in your ads, online or on social media. Check important dates and enter them into your lodging reservation system so you don’t miss any business development opportunities.
Keep in touch with former tenants. Few people still do, although places offering a homey atmosphere and friendly hospitality are gaining tremendously in popularity. Make sure your guests return before they even leave. Think about a discount, a symbolic farewell gift, like a jar of local honey or jam.
Also, do not lose contact with tourists who visited you during the season and directly offer them other dates at appropriately adjusted prices and properly describing the benefits of taking advantage of this offer. To do this, it is necessary to constantly update your database and periodically send them promotions and offers, as well as updates on the facility and what is happening in the region. Do this sensitively, however, so as not to discourage tourists with too much information, which will have the opposite effect. Message templates in your hotel reservation system set up according to your idea is a faster way to go.
Work obligations do not choose the time or season. It is very common for people to travel on business to places that are not very popular during a particular season, because sightseeing or skiing is not their priority. Business travel continues throughout the year. If you provide adequate advertising of your property and adjust the conditions to the year-round offer, business travelers will be your regular group of customers, who will effectively fill the inter-seasonal void in the accommodation reservation system.
Business trips are just a part of tourists combining work and travel. If you haven’t yet encountered the term workation, it’s high time in analyzing post-season opportunities for your business to learn about it. These are people whose work allows for a remote system, so it enables them to work from anywhere in the world. This kind of traveler-workers is a great opportunity to fill the calendar items of the reservation system, provided the facility is adjusted accordingly. You can read more about the percentage of people working hybrid here.
Know, however, that in order to allow this type of visitor to take advantage of your offer, you must accept last minute bookings and short stays, and make sure you have good prices that will set your offer apart from the competition. A channel manager configured for last minute stays will be ready for this option. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to establish a partnership with a company or companies that will regularly place their employees in your facility and provide a steady income. A huge advantage is that most often these are not only low seasons, but also less popular days for trips – Monday through Friday. Sound like the perfect tourist? Exactly!
They say that “cooperation pays off.” In terms of low season facility rentals, this statement is certainly true and justified. Collaborating with nearby stores, restaurants, entertainment venues such as discos, aquaparks, museums, etc. and creating a special package deal or subscription offer for them can be very profitable for you. For example, you can offer a discount to customers of a nearby restaurant or, conversely, working with an entertainment facility, a reduction in the price of the attractions they receive if they stay at your facility. These are neither demanding nor costly activities, but ones that bring real results.
That’s hardly realistic, but if indeed none of the above ideas work or are not adaptable for your property, you can still make good use of the low season by preparing for your peak season. What are they about?
Take advantage of the break to enter your most profitable season smoothly and in full readiness. Do everything you can to make the most of it. What actions are worth taking? Learn about some strategic actions that will ensure that the void time in your lodging reservation system is not wasted time.
Renting in the off-season is difficult, but not impossible as we have tried to prove in the above points. However, if this is not the moment to implement these tips, focus on making changes and improvements for the next season.
Surely, after the season, you have noticed areas in need of repair, refreshment or simply replacement with new ones. Maybe even comments or feedback from your guests have pointed out such areas. Take advantage of these months to take care of your property, not leaving room for guests to complain or make negative comments that don’t reflect well on business. Often at a small cost you can make changes that affect the comfort of your guests, and sometimes you simply have to incur some major expenses in order to take care of the appropriate level of service. This is inevitable in this industry. Relying for years on the first good reviews without improving and upgrading the facility can only end badly for your business.
Current technology, applications, remote modules provide tremendous convenience in managing your property. Online booking calendars, accommodation reservation systems with access from anywhere, remote switching off or on lights, heating, air conditioning and much more. Consider the needs of your facility and innovate in stages to help you run your business more conveniently, control expenses and provide savings. It’s an expense that pays for itself very quickly and that your customers will also appreciate, and you can use it in your marketing efforts.
As you can see nowadays – prices of everything can change drastically from week to week, month to month. Prices of electricity, garbage collection, gas and much more. You, too, don’t forget to analyze these changes and update your offer for the upcoming season. The offer must be published some time in advance, but take into account any changes that may still occur to ensure adequate earnings despite drastically increasing prices. Don’t be afraid to change your price list. Your competitors will, too, and customers are aware of increases – they see them in every area of daily life, so they won’t be surprised either.
Short but good advice, because rest is not for the chosen few. Everyone deserves it, including you. Only rested and with renewed energy will you be able to thrive and develop your travel business. Distancing yourself from everyday life, refreshing your mind and taking a moment to do nothing will add to your desire and stimulate creativity, which you will use productively in the coming season. Or maybe the low season in the accommodation booking system is the perfect vacation time for you? Think about it. Good luck!