Over the summer, we’ve heard from many customers that they’ve been booked up solid, so today, we are going to walk through some tips on how to extend your peak booking season. We have various suggestions for you today, but you’ll notice a common theme: we recommend you plan ahead. So if you find you need help or have questions about these recommendations, reach out to us or request a free Google Analytics Analysis
Create a PTO Campaign
In 2018, Americans didn’t use 27.7% of their vacation days, wasting 236 million vacation days! That is a massive opportunity for you to drive bookings with a PTO campaign. These campaigns can be beneficial towards the end of the summer because they remind people who typically associate summer with travel and vacation. Your destination is still great for vacation as the fall starts. The email to the right is a perfect example of a PTO campaign because it has clear and prominent calls to action and a cohesive design.
An essential part of a PTO campaign these days is leaning into working remotely from your destination. Many companies have shifted to completely remote work or a hybrid model; these policies often allow guests to extend their stay. You can encourage this by highlighting amenities that make working remotely from your destination easy such as fast wifi, an in-room desk, or meeting rooms. Additionally, it’s a good idea to highlight what there is to do after work at your destination; for example, the above email highlights the on-site spa.
Increase Ad Spend to Fill Vacancies
As the slow season approaches, people often pull back on their paid search ad spend. However, this is not necessarily the best strategy. In this period, as your competitors drop out of specific keywords, your dollar will go farther in terms of bids. You may even be able to bid on keywords that were typically out of your budget. One important thing to remember is that paid search needs constant monitoring. If you just set it and forget it, you will end up wasting money. It would be best if you always kept an eye on your pace report and your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS). If your ROAS is not at least 7-10x, you need to request our free Google Analytics Analysis to help you get back on track.
Conduct a competitive analysis
Our next tip for extending your peak booking season is to conduct a competitive analysis by looking at your local competition and what is going on in the industry as a whole. One thing to look at is rates; we don’t recommend automatically dropping rates just because it’s the start of your off-season. However, if you notice that you’re priced higher than your competitors and your slow season is starting to hit as expected, a price drop might help you fill those vacancies. Something else to look at is what others in the industry are offering. If they’re offering something you could easily provide, you may want to consider doing that and showing off that perk or amenity.
The important thing with this tip and most of our recommendations is that you’re in a constant cycle of trying, adjusting, and succeeding. This means that just because you may have tried something last summer and it failed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t re-work it and try it again.
Run a Flash Sale
We recommend running flash sales only 2-3 times a year at most. We say this because if you do it anymore, your audience will expect a discount and wait for the sale. One misconception we hear a lot about flash sales is that they dilute brand value, which can be true if you run them too often (more than 2-3 times per year) but generally, flash sales expand your audience and drive revenue. Another great reason to run a flash sale is that they drive urgency: guests fill your targeted vacancies by limiting the sale to specific dates.
Something we advise against is using Groupon or LivingSocial to run your flash sale, as these platforms take a hefty commission. Q4Launch offers a platform, Q4Flash, that seamlessly runs flash sales without those high commissions. Plus, Q4Flash isn’t just for Flash Sales; it’s also great for gift card campaigns and VIP/past guest offers. Q4Flash is an execution strategy that’s ready to go. Meaning we do ALL the work! Our strategy includes:
- Guidance on creating a compelling offer
- Custom branded landing page with built-in urgency features
- Custom content written for your offer
- Marketing automation sequence built to increase conversion
- Boosted Facebook posts included with an ad budget we pay for
- Automated purchase confirmations to your customers
- Easily implementable merchant services separate from your booking engine/property management software
All in all, we hope you’ve taken away some actionable tips for how to extend your peak season. Whether you walk away with an idea for how to create a PTO campaign or an idea for a flash sale, we hope you come away with actionable next steps for your business! If you need help implementing any of these strategies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!