tree leaves turning colour in autumn reflecting the need for hotels to start forward planning for autumn campaigns

In our previous article we discussed strategies to try and avoid having to fill your hotel’s rooms at the last minute. A key tactic was planning content, promotions and offers for the year ahead on a rolling 12 month basis. In this article we have compiled our top ten tips to help you drive occupancy and revenue in the Autumn period.

NB: This is an article from ARO Digital

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1. Review Last Year’s Performance
Resist the temptation of jumping straight into this year’s activities – time spent reviewing last autumn’s results will bear great dividends. We love the start, stop continue methodology. Analyse booking patterns, occupancy rates, and revenue from the previous autumn season and try and attribute them to offers, promotions or campaigns you ran. Identify any gaps or periods of lower occupancy compared to expectations. Then for each activity consider its effectiveness and whether you should scrap it, continue it or start afresh with a new approach.

2. Research & identify your target audience
The aim of this planning is to get bookings now for 3 or 4 months hence. Consider who is likely to make that kind of commitment. Young professionals tend to make decisions much closer to the time of stay and families* have just had Summer holidays, so these are not ideal segments to target for early Autumn. More suitable segments would be time-rich, affluent retirees and activity-oriented guests. Good examples to target, depending on your location, would be golfers, gardeners, walkers or culture vultures. *Keep these in mind and design packages or promotions and write & optimise content now focussed on midterm break and Halloween.

3. Early Bird Promotions and Special Offers
Start an ‘Early Bird’ promotion on your owned direct channels exclusively- website, social and phone. By offering discounts and special packages/experiences for guests who book early and directly with the hotel for their autumn stays, as well as helping secure base bookings for the season ahead, you are also getting those bookings through your most profitable channels.

Also, having a ‘modify my booking’ option on the booking engine is a clear advantage here so that early bookers can rearrange their stay if their plans change, without having to cancel.

4. Targeted Marketing Campaigns
Once created, these exclusive offers can be promoted via email marketing to your loyal past guest database and by retargeting new visitors to your website, as well as to your social followers.
Segment your target audience and target with segment specific offers, such as Active Retired multi-night packages, golf inclusive offers etc. Spotlight these special autumn promotions and packages on your website now with an Autumn ‘Sale’ offer group and segment specific offer groups. Invest in PPC and raise awareness via social media ads targeting your key demographics, using autumn visuals and emphasising seasonal activities available in your location.

Read the full article at ARO Digital