Basking in the sun with a book and a beverage while the kids splash around in the pool. Hitting the links. Hitting the courts. Getting outside in the sunshine period. Spring Break is a welcomed and much-anticipated reprieve from winter’s harsh weather.
Well, Spring Break has arrived on the East Coast, and unfortunately, it’s brought cooler-than-average temperatures and rainy days this year. For many vacationers, it’s too chilly to play in the pool and too rainy for golf, tennis, water sports and anything else outdoors.
An unfortunate turn of weather can make guests – who have waited for these cherished few days of fun in the sun – cranky. This, in turn, has the potential to not only increase a property’s negative online guest reviews, but it also has the potential to keep properties from hitting their ancillary revenue goals. With this in mind, I thought I’d offer a few tips to keep your guests happy and continue to drive revenue in unseasonable temps.
- Let’s start with the good news. Bad weather usually means good business for the spa. Why not extend its operating hours on days you when know it’s going to be busy? And while you have all those guests in the spa, provide an incentive to purchase hair and skin care products, makeup, etc.
- Bad weather can also mean good business for onsite dining outlets, lounges and in-room dining. Offer a fun respite from the weather while generating more beverage revenue. Create specialty cocktails that you only offer during bad weather and make up fun names for them. Have multiple lounges on property? Create an onsite bar-hopping event where you provide transportation from one outlet to the next.
- If you offer a kids’ recreation program, look at the activities you can hold indoors, and consider moving them inside. Don’t have a dedicated indoor space for kids’ activities? Move activities to a meeting or event space that’s not being used that day. If you don’t offer kids’ programs at your property, create a few activities that can be held indoors that you can operationalize inexpensively and on a moment’s notice like movie night in the ballroom. Mom and Dad will thank you.
- Cancelled golf rounds and tennis clinics equal missed revenue opportunity. Why not offer golf or tennis lessons with your pros indoors? And why not offer them at a much lower rate than what you’d normally charge? The guest isn’t getting the experience they were looking for in the first place by having to cancel their golf round or tennis clinic. This is the “next best thing” for you both. Guests are much more likely to take advantage of the indoor offering if provided at a lower rate. Consider it incremental revenue instead of revenue completely lost. As well, no surfing, snowboarding, skiing, or standup paddle boarding classes are happening in bad weather either…..at least outdoors, anyway. Many of these lessons can be taught indoors. Offer them now so when the weather turns, your guests are ready for action!
- Consider providing complimentary activities for guests in bad weather, too. Remember, they want to know that you sympathize with their situation. Think of ways to give them happy little surprises that add value to their stay. Movies are tried and true. Why not have movies available for check out that are themed around your destination? Hotel San José in Austin does this really well. They have a large collection of Oscar-winning movies and cult classics themed around Texas for their guests. You can also provide complimentary kids’ activities that will occupy the kids and give Mom and Dad time to themselves. Offer a scavenger hunt around the property where kids can win a prize. Books and board games available for check out from the front desk are vintage fun, and for those who want to go digital, have a few tablets for rent that offer kid-friendly games. And if there are amenities you usually charge for, consider offering them for free. For example, do you usually charge for wifi? Provide complimentary wifi on days when guests are stuck inside.
Of course, none of these ideas are any good if guests don’t know about them. Look at the tools you have at your disposal to promote these offerings to guests both pre-arrival and onsite and use them. A few ideas of low cost marketing vehicles you can use are emails to incoming guests, check-in pieces at the front desk, the property’s wifi splash page, onsite signage, the property’s in-house voice mail system, and social channels. Finally, make sure your staff is aware of the offerings and can speak knowledgably about them as well.
Then watch those positive online reviews sky rocket and the revenue roll in.
Got more ideas? Share them here!