How to secure last-minute bookings during peak season?

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Every hotelier and property has to deal with peaks and troughs in demand, but if rooms need to be filled at the last-minute, being able to think beyond dropping prices and taking a more strategic approach could give you that crucial competitive edge.

1. Thinking outside the box

Sometimes you might need to take the opposite approach, as Starling Hotel in Geneva has done. Its usual guests – business travellers – would rarely want to extend their work trip to stay for the weekend, no matter how enticing the deal. Therefore, it has created a weekend package aimed at leisure travellers, and called it a ‘Spring Offer’ – available at the last-minute, but without using those words – which includes transport passes, something its usual business clients would rarely use, but that sightseers will appreciate.

Whether you decide to offer value-adds or discounts, you’ll have more success filling last-minute rooms if you fully optimise your channel mix of distribution, maximize revenue and look at how you use online travel agencies, other websites and your own direct channel, suggests Aditya Sanghi, CEO of Hotelogix, a cloud-based online hotel management system.

2. Boosting occupancy

A reason bookings during peak season could be low for some hotels and properties is because there hasn’t been much investment into marketing and PR as competitors. This can sometimes be down to budget constraints or a lack of resources, but there are still some potential options for properties – offering empty rooms to bloggers and influencers – for example.

“Journalists from major publications are unlikely to be able to secure a last-minute commission, but bloggers and influencers with their own sites can publish whatever and whenever they like,” says Andreas Birner, Managing Director at Inova Hospitality.

“If they have the right targeted audience, it could potentially lead to future bookings. Plus it can help beef up the press page on your website. Just make sure you check their credentials, and agree specifics about how much coverage they will give you. Your PR or local tourist board might be able to help you find suitable candidates, or post a notice on TravMedia.”

Read more: Hotel location: how to stand out and attract guests?