Filling occupancy during the off-season remains one of the hotelier’s biggest challenges and can require a lot of creativity for your digital marketing strategy. Hoteliers should be using every platform, including email, social, paid search, and website content, to promote sales during the off-season. As challenging as it may sound, there are several tactics that you can implement into these platforms for your off-season marketing strategy.
Before getting started, key indicators for your new strategy include identifying your hotel’s seasonal downturn and getting your sales strategies in front of the right people. Knowing when to start game planning and who you should be marketing to is important for a successful strategy.
Follow the ideas below on how hotels can start promoting sales during the off-season:
How can hotels use website content to increase off-season occupancy?
Use off-season imagery on your website
As the seasons shift, think about how you can convey your property as an off-season friendly destination. One idea is to swap out images of peak season activities with amenities that are off-season friendly. Doing so communicates that your property isn’t a one-trick pony; your hotel has more to offer than just a few months out of the year.
Important Note: Make sure your Google My Business listing and other local listings are updated with images of all your amenities, too.
Create content dedicated to the off-season
Use this space to highlight your hotel’s year-round amenities and services. Market to people looking for these services by doing your diligence with keyword research.
You should also use this tactic to build content that promotes local attractions and things to do in your area that are popular during the off-season. This could include indoor attractions/activities, rainy day activities, and so forth.
Link up with local groups and organizations to find the latest events happening in your area. Use this information to create a page or blog article dedicated to off-season events that you can promote and send prospective guests to on your website.
Build content around weddings, meetings, sporting events
Is your area a popular destination for sports tournaments? Are there local organizations that run expos, meetings, and events during your low season? Take a peek at search volume for these types of queries for your location. Incorporate your research into a paid search campaign and offer discounted rates for groups.
If your property already offers wedding services, push discounted rates for wedding parties staying at your hotel or discounted wedding services for off-season weddings.
How can hotels use paid search to increase off-season occupancy?
Update your ad copy with off-season friendly verbiage
If you’re running Google Ads and/or Microsoft Ads, update your campaign’s ad copy to reflect the changing seasons. Include amenities and services that are off-season friendly and use season-specific verbiage. If you have a special offer for the off-season use the Google Ads promotion extension to compliment your seasonal ads.
Create campaigns that market off-season amenities
Another option is taking advantage of non-brand amenity-based search queries. Research non-brand campaign opportunities that target a specific amenity like ‘hotel with indoor pool’ or ‘hotel with spa’. Use Google Trends to identify when people are more likely to search these queries so you get a better idea of when you should push those campaigns.
You can then use these campaigns in tandem with your website content. If you created an article highlighting your off-season friendly amenities, use the article as a landing page for your ads or create a sitelink in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads for the article.
Build out season-specific campaigns for your location
Get ahead of the curve and be the first stop for people that are researching your destination during a specific time of year. As an example, if you’re located in Wilmington, NC, target the query “wilmington in december” in a paid search campaign to reach those top-of-funnel searchers.
This not only pushes you to the forefront for that particular query but you’ll also get the chance to make the first impression on guests that may be looking to visit the area. And again, use this strategy in tandem with a piece of content on your website that highlights your hotel’s location during the off-season.
How can hotels use email marketing to increase off-season occupancy?
Remarket your email database
Don’t neglect folks that are already familiar with your property. Tailor an email campaign that invites your past guests with lowered rates or a loyalty package.
Go further to segment your database with guests that already stayed at your hotel during the off-season. Was there a particular reason they stayed at your hotel during that time period? Reflect that in an email campaign.
How can hotels use social media to increase off-season occupancy?
Tailor your targeting to locals
Facebook Ads has quickly become a popular source for hotels looking to engage with their past, current, and prospective guests. In this instance, consider marketing to folks who are already near your property.
Push exclusive “locals-only” specials or promo codes that locals can use. Build an itinerary that features under the radar attractions, restaurants, and activities near your hotel.
Facebook Ads not only allows you to regionally target your ads, but you can also layer that regional targeting with traveler demographics and behaviors. Is your customer base mostly families? Create a campaign that targets parents in nearby cities and towns. Or tailor your ads to locals that have an upcoming anniversary with a romance package only available during your low season.