Living space with leather chairs and tall windows

How to get from
Slow Start to
the Fast Lane

Charlestowne’s Top 6 Tips for a Successful First Quarter

1. Plan Ahead

Use last year’s cyber monday and black friday deals to build base in the new year Successful Q1 planning for hotels should begin in Q3 of the previous year. Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals in particular are a great mechanism to push reservations in weak months and fill holes before the year has even started.

2. Build Value

Protect rate with value-add’s
Especially in Q1, consumers need to feel like they are making smart, valuable purchase decisions. So protect your hotel’s rate by adding value around it. Rather than jeopardizing your rate positioning, build value by offering savings with add-on’s such as complimentary breakfast, parking, or vouchers for local activities. This same principle can be applied to group and corporate business. If you have a clear understanding of your bookings patterns, and are using data to make decisions, you can adjust your threshold accordingly and close more business during this time with extra perks like coffee breakouts and discounted AV rentals.

3. Give your Best

Be generous with upgrades
Q1 is also a great time to focus on guest satisfaction and reviews. With fewer reservations, hotels can afford to upgrade more guests to premium room types–which certainly ups your chances of the guest leaving a positive online review. Empower your front desk team to identify upgrade opportunities and to prioritize guests that have booked directly. Final step is to develop an on-brand method of encouraging these guests to leave a review on your review site of focus.

4. Watch the Weather

Learn to adapt, rain or shine
As for inclement weather, this can go both ways. Flexible cancellation policies that allow guests to rebook at a later date should their travel plans be affected by weather can quell the nerves of a tentative booker. Really think about how you can accommodate weather-related cancellations and make sure messaging is clear in all promotional communication. Ensure reservations and front desk teams are fully aware of the details of the policy so they can confidently answer questions. On the sunny side of things, consider creating “good weather” advisories to your drive and local markets for spontaneous stay-cations.

5. Get Dressed for Success

Use low occupancy times to address cosmetic needs
Slower occupancy months in Q1 provide ample opportunity to increase other areas of a hotel’s value proposition. Hotels would be wise to use this time to address any maintenance, renovations, or capex needs with minimal guest impact. Plus, these enhancements can be leveraged later in the year and help validate an appropriate rise in rate.

6. Connect with your Community

Push events with your local CVB
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of networking with your local CVB. Hotels should encourage their destination marketing teams to develop events and programming during this time to help generate demand.