Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 125 – 8 Ways Hotels can Promote Sales During the Off-season

by Stuart Butler

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 and ideas that you can implement into these platforms for your off-season marketing strategy. Today, we’re going to discuss 8 ways that you can use to push for more bookings in the off-season.

Check out the original blog post here or read the outline below:
Things to note before you start:

  • Identify your hotel’s seasonal downturn
  • Get your ads in front of the right audience

#1 Create the right content

Make a plan to create content that highlights the amenities and services that your hotel has to offer during the off-season. Do your diligence with keyword research to find what people are searching for in your area during your off-season, and build content around those topics.
Topics to consider:

  • Amenities and services
  • Nearby attractions and things to do
  • Festivals and events

#2 Update the imagery on your website

Swap out images of peak season activities with amenities that are offseason friendly on your website. 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.
Make sure your Google My Business listing and other local listings are updated with all your off-season friendly features, too.

#3 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.

#4 Update 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.

#5 Build campaigns that market off-season amenities

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.

#6 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. These off-season specific campaigns also allow you to tailor your ad copy to more closely match searcher intent. Use this strategy in tandem with a piece of content on your website that highlights your hotel’s location during the off-season.

#7 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 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 people that have an upcoming anniversary with a romance package only available during your low season.

#8 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.
Listener Feedback
Thandi wrote”
being a small niche company and competing with quickly changing digital landscape. I listen to your podcast and know what i know from it. Find it super helpful thought more aware than ever about being woefully behind the times. Luckily, we have a strong base of our supporters who love us and have spread the word while we catch up.
I am writing to ask if you know of a PMS system that has a slightly more nuanced way of handling inventory – either a layered taxonomy or another option. I will explain more.
The beloved Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort is a hodgepodge of accommodation types including suites, cabins, vintage travel trailers, RV spaces and campsites on the Long Beach Peninsula in historic Seaview, Washington. (souwesterlodge.com). Many (most of return guests) have a preference of a specific trailer they want to stay in and we started off having a one to one ratio between unit types and inventory. However, this makes it a bit overwhelming and confusing for either first time guests, or people who don’t have a preference or (slows down people who are choosing between several options who have a higher likelihood of dropping out of the booking process).
We just switched for some consolidated unit types and its still pretty clunky…. any advise?
we’re currently using webrezpro, we used rezovation before. I’ve reached out to a couple other PMS’s with little luck…
thanks in advance, and come visit if you’re in the neighborhood… its really a special small peninsula on the magical PNW coast
From the Direct Booking Summit in Miami, Shout Out to:
Teri, Candice, Paula, and Pamela

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