The last quarter of the year is important for all hotels, as a cluster of seasonal holidays creates opportunities to drive bookings and surge revenue. But Q4 also means budget planning and huge swings in occupancy rates.
While filling occupancy is a key part of driving revenue, there are many other ways to ensure that you have a successful end to the year. Preparing early will allow you to maximize profitability and end the year on a high note.
Develop a Marketing Plan
Some of the biggest travel holidays of the year take place during Q4, but the competition for bookings can be fierce. Hoteliers should ensure their team drafts a comprehensive marketing plan in advance to guide marketing efforts throughout the lucrative months of November and December. This plan should be informed by data and targeted at everyone from travelling guests to companies planning holiday gatherings.
Bring on Seasonal Staff
If your properties experience increased booking rates around the holidays, you may need to bring on extra housekeepers, kitchen staff or front desk attendants. Supplementing your staff when and where necessary ensures that the guest experience does not suffer at a time of year when expectations are at their highest. The key is to only bring on the staff you need and to calibrate costs carefully. Reports from your PMS can help ensure that you’re properly staffed during peak occupancy.
Offer Deals and Discounts
Giving people an incentive to travel is a powerful motivator in Q4. Create deals, discounts or special offers that are targeted to holiday travellers, then feature those prominently in your holiday marketing efforts. This is a great time of year for group travellers, so don’t limit your focus to couples and families. You should also provide special incentives for members in your loyalty program. Integrating adjacent services, like car rentals or tourist attractions, can be a great way to encourage customers back to your hotel during a busy time of year.
Perform an Online Travel Agency (OTA) Audit
The OTA strategy you relied on through the first three quarters of the year may not be appropriate for Q4. Considering how much potential revenue is on the table, it’s smart to audit your OTA strategy in late Q3 and consider a course correction. With It may be possible to increase bookings without having to pay the high commission fee to OTAs. You can also consider third party applications, like Travelclick, that integrate with your PMS and allow you to manage room rates across OTA sites.
Prepare Your Staff
The impression a hotel makes around the holidays is long lasting, whether positive or negative. Q4 is an important time to work on your reputation and customer loyalty. Your employees will be your most important resource in meeting this goal. Spend some time determining what kind of resources your staff needs to thrive. Equipping your staff with the tools they need to succeed, such as an innovative PMS that stores comprehensive guest history, will help empower your employees to give your guests an amazing experience.
Budget for the New Year
Reflecting on Q1 through Q3 will not only allow you to better allocate funds through the last stretch of the year, it will also help you set yourself up to win for your next year of business. Using reports and analytics in your PMS, examine performance indicators across your hotel (or across your locations if you run multiple properties). Where were your operations most successful? During which months of the year was your RevPAR the highest? Looking at guests’ booking and spending habits can help you to more accurately forecast revenue streams, and allow you to be more strategic with your budgeting.
RoomKeyPMS empowers hoteliers to drive revenue in every quarter of the year. If you want to optimize your approach to hotel management, schedule a free consultation with our team.