Don’t worry! You’re not alone!
You’re among thousands of rental property owners looking for ways to strike the chord with the travelers.
But, what is the much-hyped occupancy rate?
It’s the percentage of rooms booked or filled in your rental space for that night. The rate fluctuates every day and you might encounter 80% occupancy on a day, and the next day, it may fall to 30%.
Occupancy is the name of the game in the hospitality sector, and it’s the most critical factor in running a profitability business. If you’re not capable of putting more heads in the beds- you’re likely to witness a plateau in the revenue, which will make survival difficult.
While decreasing the room rates substantially increases the occupancy rate, it’s not worth the efforts because as soon as the standard rates are applicable, you will witness less customer footfall. And it will undermine your credibility because guests will see your rental space as less valuable.
Such a strategy can end up costing more than any new booking it provides.
The need of the hour is working on strategies and ways which will build a customer base whose decision is not solely dependent upon the pricing.
The trick here is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and understand their journey of booking a hotel room either for business or leisure activities. It would be best if you had strategies to put you ahead of the competition as it will increase the occupancy rate without denting the reputation.
Here are seven strategies, which will increase the occupancy rate substantially.
The need for website speed
The rule with websites is simple; if it takes more than 3 seconds to load your website, you’re losing 40% of the visitors. The statistics are baffling, but that’s the bitter truth that is hard to gulp down. Focusing on your website’s loading time is imperative to convert visitors to loyal guests.
Furthermore, apart from increasing the load time, a vacation rental website builder will help create a fully optimized SEO-friendly website, generate direct bookings, and ensure a 100% mobile responsive design. With more than 75% of the online travel industry money coming from mobile devices, mobile is the king, queen, and everything in between for your vacation rental. As mobile continues to rise, optimizing the website for mobile has become more important than ever.
Your website should provide a pleasant experience to the customers so that the incoming customer turns to travel guests instead of bouncing back.
Become a fortune teller
Is it worth the time to predict the future occupancy rate of your rental property? Aren’t you doing fine with checking in and out guests daily? Maybe you’re, but the correct prediction of the future occupancy numbers will help you capitalize on the good times and sail through the rough times.
Enhancing the predictive power begins with keeping a record of the occupancy and room rates in different seasons. Analyze the peaks and the troughs. Keep an eye on the number of people visiting your website and promotional offers of the past, which could have led to a customer booking a room. It’s crucial to understand what worked in the past as you can replicate those instances for a cohesive strategy to get more bookings. If you know that a majority of guests who stay in June are vacationers or backpackers, you can offer special packages for such travelers in June. It will attract more travelers, thereby sky-rocketing your occupancy rates.
Technology comes to the rescue
If you can offer more of what your guests want seamlessly, your rental property is likely to become the next big thing. From operations to customer experience, smart technologies help vacation rental owners like you reach new levels of profitability. It helps to revamp customer service, which ultimately results in more bookings. Investing in smart lights, plugs, and IoT enabled devices will improve the customer experience and spread the word about the unique offerings at your vacation rental.
Imagine the experience of a customer who gets an app alert when the refrigerator is low on their favorite ice-cream. How will a customer react when he/she can change lighting and adjust the fan speed using their voice?
Incredible, isn’t it?
Your customers crave for such experiences. Give your customers a reason to return. Though the initial investment in smart technologies may seem overwhelming, it will reap the desired result in the long run.
The rule of thumb here is simple, the sooner you integrate smart technologies, the sooner you will start witnessing an occupancy rate closer to 100%.
Social proof is the proof which matters the most
With the increasing penetration of technology, your customers are probably overwhelmed with tons of ads from hoteliers claiming excellent and superior service. But, are these claims trustworthy? For a couple of scenarios, maybe yes, but they can even turn out disastrous. This is why you need social proof, which will be your best friend in attracting the customers’ attention.
We humans have an intricate urge to trust friends, family members, peers, and someone we admire, and ignore the unknown people. Therefore, social proof is a weapon that can come in handy as the experience of one customer will become the foundation for the other to book a room.
Social proofs can be anything ranging from ratings or reviews on social media, customer testimonials, awards, badges, or reviews from an influencer.
Say yes to customer retention
According to Harvard Business Review, irrespective of the industry, acquiring a new customer is 5 to 25 times costlier than retaining an existing one. With so much at stake, it makes sense to construct an intelligent retention strategy, which will increase the occupancy rate and make your customers the brand advocate of your vacation rental.
What more, hotel guests are likely to spend $25 more on booking hotel brands they prefer. Therefore, it’s even more important to stay in touch with your customers through social media and emails. Continue sending promotional offers and giving discounts to ensure your brand remains at the top of their minds.
If your retention strategy hits the bull’s eye, you’re likely to see a surge in your hotel’s footfall.
Retarget, retarget and retarget until you succeed
In the ideal world, a customer who visits your website would book a room and recommend your rental space to their friends. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Life is not that simpler!
Instead of wasting time on why your rooms are empty, use retargeting campaigns to reach customers who visit your website but fail to make a booking.
With more than 84% of travelers abandoning their booking before making the final payment, connecting with such travelers make sense. These startling numbers should be more than enough to start a retargeting campaign to put your brand back on the table. Furthermore, retargeting such customers through promotional offers and discounts is necessary for a healthy occupancy rate.
With retargeting, you can sleep peacefully because you know that your ads or offers are not irritating and irrelevant to the customers. Such campaigns will not only increase the booking rate but also result in a higher return on investment. Furthermore, you can effortlessly build a customer base of guests and potential guests.
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It’s one of the best ways to connect with potential customers who have slipped through the cracks unknowingly.
Love always heals and helps
Holding a wedding at your vacation rental or hotel is a great way to increase the occupancy rate. Whether the couple is local or outsider, your property will be showcased as a beautiful wedding venue to guests who weren’t your target audience. The guests can live in the hotel where the wedding is taking place, thereby significantly enhancing the occupancy rate.
Furthermore, if the wedding guests are impressed by your service, they’re likely to become loyal guests.
To increase the occupancy during the midweek, you can offer discounts or promotional packages for the midweek wedding. It will be a win-win situation because it reduces the couple’s financial burden and increases the occupancy rate when bookings have a snail’s pace.
Whether you own a hotel or a vacation rental, seeing the ‘sold out’ board at the front gate is probably one of your unfulfilled dreams. These ways to increase the occupancy rate will help you achieve the goals because they are as effective as they’re practical.
Anything and everything which makes your hotel welcoming for the customer will work in your favor. An appealing website, exceptional guest satisfaction, superior guest service, positive social proofs, excellent retention strategies, investment in technologies, etc., are few powerful tools for driving loyalty and engagement. And, it will help in broadening your pool of potential customers and help you earn the loyalty of those who choose your rental space over others.
You will not see the occupancy rate turn a new leaf in a single day, but these small steps taken in the right direction will help you achieve the desired occupancy.
Increasing the occupancy rate boils down to figuring out what is working for you and capitalizing on it.