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The Fall Lull – Yours To Gain

The annual occupancy cycle is typically defined by its peaks and valleys – the December holiday high season, the winter lows (ski resorts excluded), school spring break, Thanksgiving reunions, Valentine’s Day getaways, summer vacations and so on. One of the more fascinating aspects of hotel marketing – and something that has kept me up late at night many-a-times – is how certain properties are able to drive peak revenues during the traditional ‘lulls’ in the annual rotation.

One such lull is the period starting roughly post US Thanksgiving (Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on Columbus Day) travel week through the start of Christmas holidays. Though traditionally a slower period, I assert that there are many relatively straightforward ways to build business in these weeks. And for that matter, any period that is weak for your property.

For the sake of brevity, here are four ideas to get the ball rolling. Whether you apply these this year or next, the choice is yours.

1. Cultural Getaways. During the summer months, all the popular city landmarks and museums teem with tourists. As such, you have to deal with massive lineups, crowds and general claustrophobia, which can really dampen the mood of a vacation and exhaust you come nightfall. With most people firmly set on work or school come September, the hordes slim, which can augment the experiences of those still remaining. Seeing as how early fall is still quite warm, this would be an ideal time to advertise your region’s impeccable cultural attractions.

2. Late Autumn Weddings. Weddings are a pinnacle of business, and they can certainly run up quite the tab. So first to consider here would be offering a discount of some sorts for those opting to celebrate this miraculous day with you outside of the conventional summer months. Moreover, if every couple vies for a date on one of the 16 weekends available during May, June, July or August, then some will be left out, especially with many weddings planned two or three years in advance. Promote your property as a great choice for an autumn wedding and word will get out.

3. Back To School Promotion FOR THE PARENTS. Kids can be a headache, especially when they are around all the time when school’s out or when they just getting back into the swing of things. Either way, it’s unneeded stress and parents could use a little R&R, especially if they didn’t get away at all during summer. This could take the form of a weekend package or a midweek special, but any way you choose to mold this promotion, design it as a short two or three day trip. Moreover, these promotions can also apply to a slim stretch in the beginning of January when youth return for the latter half of the school year. Lest you forget that many parents forgo holiday vacations in order to spend time with friends and the extended family; January is an ideal time to target such consumers.

4. Golf, Spa & Wellness. One of the beauties of autumn is that it is still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors most days with such activities as boating, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback rides or even something as simple as alfresco dining. With the summer mindset done and gone, people can easily forget this fact. So, remind them. As well, spa and wellness are now rightfully in vogue for year-round rejuvenation and pampering, and the autumn season offers yet another time for you to promote your facilities that cater to this crowd. Moreover, consider reviving the spa menu to not only include more locally sourced treatments but also a few fall-themed products that may entice a few extra sales.

(Article published by Larry Mogelonsky in Hotel Interactive on October 24, 2013)

Larry MogelonskyThe Fall Lull – Yours To Gain