For smaller or boutique hotels forecasting may not seem like a priority, but it can have a positive impact on your business regardless of size. Taking advantage of seasonal trends and general guest behaviour tendencies can help you maximize your occupancy rates and increase overall revenue. Here are four ways smaller hotels can effectively forecast to improve their marketing strategies and increase occupancy rates.
Use a Property Management System
Property management systems help you get the full picture of your hotel’s visitor trends. These tools can be useful to measure when your hotel is busiest and to track annual seasonal increases in bookings. These reports can help you determine when to make price adjustments without hurting your occupancy rates.
PMS software can also help you make predictions. By tracking seasonal booking trends, hotel managers can better predict their ADR (Average Daily Rate) and RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room), and adjust pricing as necessary.
Monitor Your Online Booking Engine (OBE)
While there are many factors that contribute to an accurate occupancy forecast, your online booking engine is a key resource that can help you throughout the process. A sophisticated OBE allows you to track web traffic and gauge how many people are booking and browsing for future dates. This data can provide invaluable insights on the future demand of your hotel and help you to predict periods of high occupancy. By monitoring your web traffic and advance bookings, you can also develop pointed marketing strategies to boost occupancy during periods of lower interest.
Talk with Other Industries
If you don’t have quite enough analytics data to make accurate predictions, or would like some additional insight, talk to the other businesses in your area. Nearby restaurants, conference centres and other attractions (such as wineries and museums) are all useful resources to determine possible busy seasons. If certain conferences or festivals are being held in the area, chances are your bookings may increase. Figuring out seasonal trends in the district can help you to tailor your marketing efforts and room prices accordingly.
You can also consider strategizing alongside popular local businesses to create joint promotions that drive occupancy during slower periods.
Solicit Guest Feedback
Your guests are perhaps your greatest resource, and one of the best ways to source them for information is through a direct survey. Not only should you ask them about their experience at your hotel, but you should also inquire as to their travel habits and future plans. Do they intend to be back here next year at the same time for a business conference? Will they be back again in the near future for a concert or festival? What motivates them to travel and stay in a particular hotel?
You can get a good indication of when guests travel and why they would choose to stay at your hotel over another, helping you create promotions and incentives for both peak and off-peak periods.
Effective forecasting can you make pricing adjustments, staffing decisions and determine marketing efforts to help balance out your occupancy rate and average revenue no matter the size of your property. By gathering information from a few readily available sources, forecasts can be key in your hotel’s long term success.
Learn how RoomKeyPMS can help you analyze your hotel data to make better forecasts.
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