The data was pretty interesting; most surveyed said they were more likely to travel off-peak in 2010 vs 2009, more than 50% were looking at traveling when the deals could be had and the destinations might be less packed.
What does this mean for hotel, resort and vacation rental managers? It means your off-season might not be as quiet, and your on-season might be a bit slower because your normal visitors are waiting for that off season deal to hit their social network or email box.
Compete speculates that travelers may be less likely to commit to booking too much at once. They might book hotel/lodging because they can cancel, but might wait until closer to travel dates to book a flight, depending on the prices available. This year only 19% of those surveyed are somewhat or much more likely to book a air/hotel/car rental package as they were last year. The clear winners were “about as likely” and “somewhat less likely.” This latter category seems to support Compete’s assumption that this year air/lodging packages might just be less popular.
There are definitely opportunities to be had by lodging properties. Taking advantage of those who wish to save by traveling off season opens the possibility of recouping revenues thought lost due to a slow “on-season.” Make sure your users and potential visitors have the deals and the packages that will entice them to book their stay with you during the slower times of the year.
Here are a few ideas to increase bookings during the slow season:
- Offer an off season package that gives a sizable discount but is 100% non-refundable; they save, but are committed to paying no matter what.
- Talk to your fellow tourism attractions and combine off-season activities with lodging to offer an inclusive package that saves the visitors money not only on lodging but also on attractions and dining in the area.
- Watch the airfare deals to your nearest airport and have a great lodging deal ready to send out when the airlines drop ticket prices into your destination. There are quite a few sites that will email you when airfare drops below a certain price; take advantage by having an email blast ready to hit your advertising, email and social media followers once the flights dip to great discounts.