How to work out when your “Slow Season” is…

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 360. This is a recap of my Facebook live where I talked about the slow season.

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Transcript from the Episode

Welcome back, everybody. So I’ve got a little treat for you today. Recently, I did a little bit of training all about 10 different ways, how you can get ready for a slow season. And I thought, well what better to do then to chop these tips up and share it into the daily podcast, because they are so actionable and things you can be doing right now. And today’s episode is a little segment of that. Now depending on what you’re listening to, you can go back or go forward to find out the episode that suits you best. But this is only helping you about bookings in the slow season. So make sure you’ve got a pen and paper to hand and get ready to take action.

Work at the start of your slow season

So first and foremost, what’s really important with your slow season is you have to work out when your slow season begins. And that’s really key to this now. There’s a ton of context around the first tip, the first bit of context is that we are depending on where you are in the world coming out of COVID coming out of lockdowns and again loads of people have reopened the different rates and people have gone back into lockdown depending on where you are in the world. And what status meaning and what’s that result in and I think a lot of people if we particularly just focus on the UK for a second, I think a lot of people are realizing that a typical season what you may think a typical season is actually being extended a little because, again, there’s a lot of people who are still wanting to vacation never had a chance of a vacation. And I believe that what you’ll notice is that seasons will expand from what you would normally class as a season.

How to define the start of the slow season

But it’s really important that you decipher when your season, your slow season is going to begin now how can you define decipher what that is going to be? So first and foremost, the most telling sign will be your calendar. So you can right now go to your booking engine that you use whoever that property management software may be. And you will very quickly tell you at what point do your bookings dry up and low say we’ve had loads of people put in different different answers in but let’s just say it’s November to March. So again, you got to indicate to yourself when that may be now if you aren’t sure if your bookings are looking kind of tidy for the time being and it’s looking good and open till the end of the year. But you’re starting to see little blocks here and there for example midweeks. If your weekends are looking healthy, but the midweek is looking a little bit there. Then again that will be your indicator that midweek is where your slow season and then start looking to January in February.

I think one of the most important things and we are going to get into pricing because I asked a question on Sunday on the email list. What is your biggest concern and pricing was by far the biggest reply when it comes to pricing and availability. And I just want a quick yes or no with everybody in the chat. So if you can get your typing fingers ready.

Have you opened up your availability and your pricing into 2022? Yes. So it’s a couple of questions around this. Okay. overwhelming. Yes. So next question is what dates have you opened up the pricing and availability to so you can just put January February, March, April, May June, whatever the date that the latest that it goes into.

Make sure that you are bookable

The most important thing that I would stress at this point, and again, what we’ll delve into a little bit more as we go is to make sure that you are bookable so open up your calendar to as far as you possibly can on your PMS. Definitely direct. What I love to do, what I love to encourage is and This all depends on who you have as your property management software. It all depends on who you’re with. But what I encourage everybody to do is when you’re looking at your calendar for the rest of 2021, and into 2022, I would be closing off your availability to the otas.

Anywhere over two months in advance. So right now we’re coming up to the first of September, I will be going in from November, December, January, February, March, April, May. And I will close off the availability to all of your otas on there and just keep them direct. So as you go, you can do it every week, you can do it every month, however you want to do it, because you can just open it up and keep open ups when it gets to like the middle of September, you’ll just make sure that the middle of November onwards is open.

Now, the reason for that is obviously we want to encourage as many guests as possible to book direct. If you look at how people book on these online travel agents, and let’s just focus on the top otas at the moment, the one that’s got all the press all the attention, Airbnb, you look at the booking patterns, and they’re booking on the otas, especially on Airbnb a lot later.

So the reason why you will, you will do this is that if by closing it off anything over two months to otas, then you really keep exclusivity for anybody who wants to plan ahead. So for example, the main data I’m looking at and thinking is the Christmas, people in here that open for Christmas, that are already booked up. There’s maybe some people in here who over the course of the last couple of weeks have decided for the first time you’re going to open up over Christmas. So their dates in particularly this year, when this year is all about reconnection when this year is all about meeting up again with family and friends you know because they maybe not had the chance to last year because of restrictions that they’re looking at going away. So these are big dates and you can get big prices and big, big rates of this, I would hate for you to put it on the otas now and have to pay 15-20% plus commission when you know you can easily book out your yourself and we’ll talk about marketing tactics later on.

So that’s the first sort of things that we’ll be doing. Number one, work out when your slow season begins. different for everybody. Number two, make sure that your calendar is open into 2022. And make sure as well that you are closing it off to the otas. Now I will cover that by saying there will be some PMS that don’t allow that. Obviously you can do that. But if you’re with a PMS that does definitely take advantage of it.

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