Successful revenue management within the hotel industry can often prove to be quite challenging, especially with the effects of seasonality on tourism. Not only must in-house concerns be taken into account, but the hotel sector is unique in the fact that seasonal occupancy rates will require an adaptive approach. The ability to enjoy a reliable source of income from a finite number of rooms is arguably one of the most important concerns for any hotel; particularly when issues such as tourism play a significant contributing role. How can management tackle this concern and are there any worthwhile practices to adopt?
Seasonality in Tourism Issues and Problems: Outdated Methods
Before we can appreciate the benefits associated with modern revenue management techniques, it is wise to do away with a handful of older practices which are no longer relevant. In the past, stakeholders commonly segmented a year into "blocks" reflecting seasonal occupancy rates (and therefore pricing packages). While this approach might have provided a clear perspective from a short-term point of view, it failed to take into account broader metrics such as operational costs, changing market segments and the long-term effects of seasonality in tourism (as related to the hotel in question). This made it nearly impossible to adopt the right strategies at the appropriate times.
Discrete Channel Management
It is important for management to appreciate how different revenue streams (channels) will impact the hotel as a whole. Experts advise that it is much better to break these channels down into individual categories in order to appreciate their effects. Some examples of this approach can include:
- How each type of account is settled.
- Loyalty programmes versus guest spending (ROI).
- The impact of third-party commissions (such as those imposed by travel agencies).
Appreciating the importance of these and other variables will provide management with a broader perspective; resulting in more targeted solutions.
Dealing with the Off Season
Hotels will naturally deal with a predictable ebb and flow of guests during different times of the year. Their major concern therefore centres around the off season. This time period generally coincides with the months of November, January and February (1).
How can additional revenue be generated when fewer tourists are present?
It can be a good idea to try and recreate the allure associated with the high season. For instance, a hotel near the beach might offer pool parties and tropical cocktail hours during the colder times of the year. In the same respect, properties popular during the holiday season (such as hotels located in Northern Europe) could offer "Christmas in July" pricing packages.
Analysing Visitor Data
It only stands to reason that management needs to appreciate the desires of its guests. This is when the power of analytics comes into play. In this respect, we are not necessarily referring to big data. We are instead focused on discrete information such as which guests are the most loyal and how much the average visitor spends during his or her stay in relation to the season. Proactively targeting this audience segment through specials such as VIP rewards and discount programmes is an excellent way to foster interest in what the hotel has to offer. In other words, catering to repeat customers is one of the best ways to mitigate the effects of seasonality in tourism as related to hotels.
The Power of Online Guest Reviews
Online guest reviews are some of the most powerful selling features of any hotel and yet, many properties do not assign them the appropriate weight. Massive online portals such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor are essential in terms of publicity and exposure. This type of real-time feedback is also critical if management hopes to know what visitors have to say about their services. By leveraging the power of these websites and through proactive interactions with members, you will be more likely to enjoy higher occupancy rates during the off season.
Seasonality in tourism issues and problems do not necessarily have to represent insurmountable stumbling blocks. The Hotel Management Company can help you encounter targeted seasonal solutions for your needs, so do not hesitate to contact us directly in order to learn more about your options.