Using social media to target gets when we have availability

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Allan Campbell 2 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #6707 Reply

    Pine Lake Cottages

    First some background – We are a small (10 unit) family orientated self catering cottage resort on Pine Lake in Gravenhurst. Over the last 18 years we have cultivated a significant number of repeat guests. We offer provisional booking for the same week, same cottage for the following year to each guest. Sometimes guests wish to skip a year for various reasons. Sometimes families grow apart or guests employment take them away etc. This leaves us with gaps in our bookings.

    We could also benefit from shoulder season bookings. We book Saturday to Saturday only in July and August. For logistic and financial reasons we require a two night minimum. Any previous marketing attempts have resulted in double disappointment. We can’t provide dates required (usually weekends when we have full week bookings one side or the other). So we can’t take bookings.

    Most successful promotions to date have been through discounted rates on Facebook. Major problem is un-fairness to regular guests (why don’t I get that rate?) If we advertise specific vacancy dates we lose those looking for set dates. If we are able to talk to prospective guests we can often persuade them to accept alternate dates.

    Our question is – How can we best utilize Social (or indeed any other media) to target prospective guests, for the time periods we have available, without offering price cuts or incentives that are not being offered to long standing regular customers?

    #6731 Reply

    Peter Coish

    This is a topic that is outside of my personal expertise – it is more of a hotel administration question maybe, and I am not able to offer too much insight in that regard.

    I do know that it’s a tricky, if not common, problem faced by accommodation operators. People are well aware that there is variable pricing when it comes to things like airfares and hotel rooms, so I don’t think the practice is necessarily damaging to your brand. If a customer sees that you’ve offered a one-off lower rate, then perhaps the option is to honour  and match that rate for one or two nights?

    I also know that there are “opaque” methods for disposing of inventory though, they tend to be dominated by larger hotel operations? For more on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opaque_travel_inventory. Hope this helps.

    #6737 Reply

    Gord Bell

    We have a small cottage resort as well. What we do is offer less than a week in the summer if we have a last minute vacancy. The rate is actually more expensive than the weekly rate. If we offer a discounted rate, we have to offer it to everybody or no one will book in advance.

    #6917 Reply

    Andy Vitch

    Sunny Point Resort is also an operation like yours. I have been using SM heavily for about 4 years and for the most part keep away from specific dates for attracting interest. The majority of my posts are selling the dream of being at the lake. More and more the business we are receiving is coming from SM. The real bonus is we have dropped our advertising costs from $24,000/year to under $10,000/year and our sales in 2013 were best ever and 2014 were second best ever. By not selling specific dates I have found that when I get a cancellation or a remaining opening I then do well by making a specific post about it. That post gets shared quite often. Also quite often I will pay to promote that post. I may say “take advantage of a cancellation. Cancelling guest already paid the deposit” to get around the discount better than a regular’s price. Also I run in off season buy 2 nights get 1 at 1/2 price which I give to anyone who books. Most often this is not a regular type of stay. Hope this helps. Andy

    #6928 Reply

    Allan Campbell

    Thank you all for your input there are some really interesting ideas that we will try

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