If your pub is open all year round, you’ll want to entice as many guests as possible into paying you a visit whatever the weather. Your busiest periods will depend on your location, activities and what popular tourist attractions are nearby. Bear this in mind, keep an eye on how many bookings you are taking and you can devise a seasonal pricing strategy that will fill up your rooms nicely.
We’ve come up with a few tried and tested tips to help you become a popular spot all year round, so why not give these a try if you’re in need of an off-season boost.
Let your prices fall like autumn leaves or grow like daffodils in spring. Every pub will be busier at certain points rather than others, so in your quietest season, it might be an idea to lower your prices or introduce deals to help pull in the guests. Maybe offer a third night free if they book two, or something similar, to encourage people to stay longer and enjoy your excellent service for an extra night or two.
2. Take advantage of school and bank holidays
School holidays and bank holiday weekends are a great opportunity to win over your family customers by offering attractive deals. There are ways to maximise your profits during both busy and quiet periods of the year, and while deals can encourage longer visits during the off-peak season, you might want to use a minimum stay requirement during the most popular times. For example, you could try only allowing a booking of two or more nights during weekends and bank holidays, or even three or more during school holidays. The more rooms you have filled, the more people to impress with your excellent service, so take advantage of the most competitive times and encourage longer visits to your guest house!
3. Beat the Monday blues
While weekends can be very popular with people with Monday–Friday jobs, a large proportion of your clientele might be looking for a bed mid-week. People away on business, international travellers, as well as retirement-age parties, will want a great deal for their weekday stay, so it may be an idea to offer reduced rates at these times. You could also come up with extra benefits that will encourage them to pick your pub – offer a meal deal for anyone visiting on Tuesday nights, for example.
During your off-peak season, you could find your rooms filling up if you offer a reduction on price for longer stays. For example, “stay two nights and get the third one half-price” could encourage couples to extend that long weekend into something even longer. If you want to use both of these tips at once, provide some kind of offer for people staying mid-week, (rather than a reduced rate) and encourage them to stay longer.
4. Know your own success
Because of the fluctuating economy and ever-changing trends in travelling, it is so important for every pub owner to regularly review their progress. At the end of every month, look back over your bookings and how you’re doing financially to see if there is anything different you can do to improve.
This will help you identify which times of the year are your busiest and decide when you need to be putting in the extra work to fill your rooms. In the long-term, this will make you more self-aware and help you increase your bookings.
5. Listen to your guests
It is always a good idea to see what your guests think after their stay. Leaving a feedback form for visitors gives them an opportunity to review their experience, and chances are you will come across really sensible suggestions that can be easily taken on board. A great way to do this is to send out an e-mail after their visit, so they can fill in an online form having had time to carefully consider their stay with you.
Better still, why not encourage them to review you on a third party site, like Facebook or TripAdvisor? If they oblige, it is always nice to acknowledge and reply to such reviews, since this will demonstrate that personal touch for which pub’s are so loved.
6. Check your competition
They say it’s not a competition, but when it comes to filling your rooms, yes it definitely is. You want guests to stay in your pub rather than any other, so you’ve got to find out what the other places charge, so you know if you are matching – or, more importantly – bettering their offer.
7. Tailor your service to the people that matter
The guests you will welcome through your doors will depend on where you are and what attractions are nearby. So, think about why it is they are choosing your area, or the time of year they are visiting, and see if you can make the deal any sweeter based on these factors.
The more you can share with your guests about what’s available, and give them the local knowledge that will make their stay extra special, the more chance you have of giving them a reason to visit throughout the year. For example, if you are located near a popular fishing lake, why not pair up with a local fishing supplier to offer something tempting for your customers? If there is a big event that happens locally every year, see what you can offer for anyone staying with you to enhance their experience. Perhaps you can pair up with a minicab provider to offer a package for getting to the event? This will work to increase bookings, since you are essentially doing the organising on behalf of your visitors, so they don’t have to think about where to go for the activities they are after.
Throughout the year, people enjoy getting away for a bit of rest and relaxation. Whether it’s winter or summer, you need to offer something appealing and attractive for your prospective customers, and always be ready to listen if they have something to suggest. Keep their needs in mind, and you are sure to fill up your rooms in every season!