The slow trickle of tourists and visitors during the low season is a real challenge to guest house owners. Let’s take a look at a few ways to help you boost your occupancy and make the most of the offseason.
1. Prioritise the slow season in your marketing strategy.
Occupancy fluctuates during the year. Be proactive and analyse your own numbers, as well as the general flow of visitors through your town and region. If you can uncover patterns you can start predicting the slow times on your calendar. It will help you fine tune your marketing strategy and zoom in on the specific slow periods when you need to market harder to get more bookings.
2. Create an Offseason Guide to your location.
Create an Offseason Guide to your location and publish it on your website. It’s perfect for blog content.
Help people make the most of their visit to your town and region. Unlock the treasures of the offseason and share helpful local advice. Use great photos to supplement the information in your guide and make sure your guide is mobile friendly. Once published, share it on your social media channels. It’s especially recommended not merely share it but to actively promote it.
For example, create a Facebook ad or give it a boost.
To help you kick off the process, start by creating a list of all the relating attractions, events and reasons to visit your location during the offseason.
3. Create Special Offers & Packages
Winter in Cape Town is a feast of winter warmer specials, especially within the restaurant scene. Locals with tighter budgets are able to give their inner foodie extra treats and explore.
The same is true for accommodation. Special offers are helpful to grab more attention, appeal to a larger target audience and increase direct bookings. Many locals use this time of year to stretch their Rands further and experience what they usually can’t afford.
Whether you create a standalone offer or a range of offseason packages try tying it to a particular activity or local event, aligning your offer with a specific offseason experience improves your chance to stand out from your competition. Once you have created your offer be sure to promote it.
- Create a landing page on your website for your offer.
- Share your offer on all your social media channels and drive traffic
to your landing page.
- Use Facebook advertising to help your offer reach more people in your target
- Use your email database to target past guests. Also, use your email database
to build audiences and increase your targeting potential when promoting
your offer on Facebook.
- Create a Google My Business post about your offer and link to your landing page.
4. Increase your Search Engine Visibility.
Search engines play a crucial role as a planning resource within the travel consumer journey. Increasing your visibility provide you with more organic traffic to your website, which can convert into more bookings.
During the offseason, it is especially important that your website can be easily found in the search engine results. Be proactive and focus on search engine optimisation (SEO) before the slow season starts. SEO is a long term effort and you need at least 6 to 12 months of ongoing work before seeing results. A great way to enhance your SEO is by adding a blog to your website and to align your blog content with your SEO strategy.
Two additional recommendations:
- Make sure you have an optimised Google My Business listing in place.
- The fastest method to boost your visibility within the search engines is by making use of Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). Google Ads is the PPC tool of choice. The competition for relevant keywords is intense. In order for your guest house to take on the deep-pocketed OTA’s, you have to be very specific about the keywords you target during your offseason Google Ads campaign. We recommend using a professional to increase your chances of success.
5. Use the extra time to do some house cleaning.
Offseason has one very significant opportunity to grab with both hands. Extra Time! As things slow down you and your staff will have more time on your hands to spend on tasks that usually tend to drop down the priority list during busy times.
Make offseason count this year and put the following tasks on your house cleaning list:
Revisit your website
Your website is your most important means to get direct bookings. Take a look at your website’s performance over the past 12 months. Identify any issues. Fix and improve.
If you are unsure about your website’s performance ask a professional for a thorough audit.
Improve your listings
For most guest houses listings are the most important channel for online visibility and bookings. Go through each listing and make sure your photos and information is up to date and align with your visual identity. Make sure you are using your absolute best photos.
Spend some quality time on your social media channels.
It’s so easy to fall behind and let the dust gather on your social media channels. Spend some extra time to be more present on your channels this offseason. Create a posting schedule or improve on your existing schedule. Answer comments. Reply to reviews. Share your guests’ posts about their amazing offseason experiences at your location. Search for relevant social media influencers and invite them for a complimentary stay.
Go the extra mile for guests.
The hospitality industry is a 100% about people. Go the extra mile and provide great service to you guests. Great service translates into fantastic online reviews. Which in turn will put you in a stronger position when high season starts.