4 Ways To Heat Up Your Winter Business
Now that the summer season is over and autumn is underway, it’s time to get started on winter planning. Depending on your location, winter can be one of your busiest periods, with holidays and school breaks leading the bookings charge. So, what exactly do you need to do to prepare? Here are four key things to focus on to keep the reservations coming.
EVALUATE YOUR PROPERTY
Whether your hotel is in a snowy climate like Colorado or a warm climate like Florida, now is the time to review your maintenance to-do list—especially with winter holidays coming up. Review these areas of maintenance, then add them to your list through RMS’s easy-to-use features.
- In cold climates, make sure you have ample snow and ice removal supplies on hand.
- Have staff inspect pedestrian concrete walkways for cracks that could worsen in cold weather.
- Test backup generators in anticipation of winter storms.
- Ensure heaters, HVAC, heat pumps, fireplaces and pool and spa heaters are in proper working condition.
- Inspect indoor fitness equipment to give active guests safe, comfortable exercise opportunities.
- If you close your outdoor pool for the winter, drain, deep clean and cover it.
- Make sure fallen leaves have been cleared from the ground to avoid storm drain clogs and other hazards.
CREATE A COZY ATMOSPHERE
Winter evokes feelings of warmth and comfort, and guests will notice if your hotel inspires both. Create an inviting, cozy environment from the moment they enter the lobby with carefully curated touches that welcome them to the season. Not all of these ideas will translate to every climate (i.e. Most Chicago-area guests won’t be dining al fresco in winter!) but they offer a good starting point.
- Offer complimentary wintry beverages in the lobby, such as hot cider with cinnamon sticks.
- Have heat lamps available around outdoor seating areas so guests can enjoy their surroundings in comfort.
- If you don’t already have them, consider installing fire pits in outdoor lounge areas with comfortable outdoor seating.
- As the holidays approach, celebrate with appropriate decorations. Don’t limit décor to one particular holiday—you don’t want guests to feel excluded.
- Provide free hot cocoa and cookies at bedtime or leave hotel-branded candy canes in the room after each housekeeping visit.
PLAN WINTER-THEMED EVENTS
Start planning any special, winter-themed events now so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. If your hotel includes a restaurant onsite, begin planning a limited-time winter menu using locally sourced ingredients, and have your chef design an elaborate holiday menu priced at a discount for guests. In snowy areas, create a winter wonderland for kids with a snowman-making contest for young guests and families. In milder climates, bring in a snow-making machine to create hills for kids to sled down.
PUT TOGETHER WINTER/HOLIDAY SPECIALS
Whether your hotel is in a ski haven like Lake Tahoe or a warm-weather magnet like Miami Beach, there are plenty of opportunities for winter-inspired promotions. Plan early so you can set pricing, secure suppliers, place orders, staff up as needed, and market promotions effectively.
- Take advantage of RMS’s Dynamic Pricing feature so you can set winter pricing to maximize your bookings (i.e. if most winter weekends are slow in your area, lower room prices during that time, but increase them for the holiday period.)
- Partner with local businesses so you can offer guests discounts on desirable attractions. For example, guests that book a five- to seven-night stay could receive 20% off dinner at a popular restaurant or enjoy discounted prices on ski or snowboard rentals.
- Get creative with hotel-exclusive winter packages, such as a Winter Family Bundle that includes a two-room suite, breakfast for four valued up to $60, and two-day passes to a local mountain. For warm climates, substitute skiing for two-day passes to a local theme park.
Remember, your RMS hotel management system can be your biggest asset for winter preparations. From easy-to-use Guest Marketing tools to highlight specials and communicate with potential guests to Dynamic Pricing, Maintenance/Housekeeping modules, Channel Management and more—RMS is ready to help you heat up your winter business.