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Proactively Selling Unused Hotel Rooms

November 21, 2023
Nathan Baws

Due to cancellations, no-shows, and unsold inventory, hotels inevitably have unused rooms even on peak demand nights. Rather than letting this revenue potential go to waste, smart hoteliers implement strategies to sell these rooms by actively generating incremental demand. Taking a proactive approach to offer unused rooms at discounted rates has significant benefits.

How Selling Unused Hotel Rooms Can Help You?

Maximize Occupancy and Absorb Fixed Costs

Empty rooms represent lost revenue that can never be recouped. Any additional occupancy that covers the variable costs for that room night provides positive incremental income. Higher demand helps absorb hotel fixed costs and improves profitability.

Attract Price-Sensitive Market Segments

Certain guest segments like leisure travelers, families, locals, and younger demographics are more price-driven and willing to book last-minute deals. Attracting these groups with unused room promotions expands your audience reach.

Optimize Distribution Channel Mix

Using unused room inventory for flash sales on OTA channels or third-party discount sites lets you strategically segment distribution without compromising core rates.

Enhance Customer Satisfaction

Delighting guests with unexpected upgrades, discounts, or value-added surprises fosters goodwill, positive reviews, and repeat visits down the line.  

Generate Ancillary Revenue

Once on property, guests often utilize ancillary services like dining, spa, recreation, and more. This additional outlet revenue further improves profitability. 

Maintain Market Share During Slow Periods

Being aggressive with last-minute deals during seasonal dips or low-demand days maintains visibility and prevents losing share to competitors. Slow periods require greater promotion.

Facilitate Upselling

Once booked, guests taking advantage of unused room promotions can be upsold to upgraded accommodation types, packages, or bolt-on amenities to capture greater spend.

Enrich Forecasting with Performance Data

Monitoring utilization of unused rooms promotions provides useful demand data to enhance future forecasting precision and strategy optimization.

Test New Offerings

Promoting unused inventory lets you experiment with new room types, packages, amenities, discounts, or partnerships without risk, before rolling out more broadly. 

Build Your Customer Database

Capturing contact info and booking data for guests taking advantage of last-minute unused room deals expands your marketing database reach for future retargeting.

Enhance Competitive Intelligence

Analyzing the utilization and guest profile data from unused room promotions provides intelligence on market demand patterns and competitor responses. 

neat and tidy hotel guest room

Key Strategies to Proactively Sell Unused Rooms

To fully capitalize on benefits, hotels should take a strategic approach:

Forecast Cancellations

Use data to estimate no-show and cancellation rates by market segment. Build a utilization buffer into overbooking levels.

Set Optimal Last-Minute Rates 

Leverage analytics to determine pricing thresholds by segment that maximize last-minute demand without cannibalizing core bookings.

Promote via Targeted Channels

Promote deals through OTA flash sales, email campaigns, social ads, and other channels matching price-sensitive segment behaviors.

Train Staff to Upsell

Empower staff to upsell room upgrades, packages, and bolt-ons at check-in to capture incremental revenue from last-minute bookings.

Monitor Performance Closely

Analyze unused room utilization data, guest profiles, and revenue capture to continuously refine strategy.

Rather than absorbing the lost revenue of unused rooms, savvy hoteliers take steps to actively sell this inventory through innovative promotions targeted to incremental demand segments. The added revenue directly improves profits and also provides market intelligence to optimize wider pricing and marketing strategies.

To discuss strategies for capitalizing on excess inventory, schedule a consultation with our revenue management experts at Emersion Wellness today.

See Also: What to Include in Your Wellness Hotel Room to Increase Sales?

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Emersion Wellness

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13/7 Leake St Fremantle - 6160 - Perth, Western Australia

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