Published on
January 17, 2024

Dramatic summer in Belgium and how to mitigate the effects for your hotel

The unfavorable weather during the summer has impacted the travel climate.

According to Horeca Middenkust, there was a significant 10% decrease in bookings in July, leading to a drop of 5 percentage points in occupancy along the Belgian coast, from 75% to 70%. Looking at August, the situation remains concerning as we see a 7% decrease in bookings compared to the same period last year. According to Otamiser research, this is also reflected in the changing lead time, as we observe that approximately 19% of all Belgian hotel searches are for the last-minute market (0-7 days). When we narrow it down to the Belgian coast, we see that on some days, 24% of bookings are in the last-minute market. This is, of course, logical, given guests' anticipation of the weather. Additionally, we are witnessing a significant increase in land travel, with guests traveling from neighboring countries showing heightened interest in the Belgian landscape, with notable spikes from Bruges and Ghent.

As there is more availability left on the market, the battle of ranking becomes more clear. Many hotels have more rooms left so the battle of the bookings comes down to convincing guests to stay with them. As we saw previously in research, property specific demand can be found in the ranking.


In this blog, we will look at strategies to mitigate the effects of summer drama on the hotel industry. By implementing effective dynamic pricing practices, revenue management, and increasing accommodation visibility, we can navigate these challenges and make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Dynamic pricing for weather-dependent demand

Dynamic pricing offers the ability to deal with weather events that affect the fluctuation of receivables. By analyzing historical data and weather forecasts, we can identify demand patterns related to specific weather conditions. Using this information, we can implement flexible pricing strategies that encourage bookings during periods of less favorable weather conditions.


Utilizing the Billboard effect


The Billboard effect occurs when travelers encounter a hotel's listing on an OTA or search engine results but do not book immediately. Instead, they visit the hotel's official website to gather more information before making a reservation.

To leverage this effect, hotels should optimize their websites and OTA listings with relevant keywords and phrases commonly used by travelers when searching for accommodations. By doing so, the hotel's search rankings improve, increasing visibility to potential guests during their search process. As travelers repeatedly see the hotel's listing across various platforms, it reinforces the hotel's presence in their minds, potentially leading them to visit the hotel's official website directly for more information or to secure the best deal.


Improving ranking

By improving the hotel's online presence by optimizing websites and OTA listings with relevant keywords and phrases that travelers are likely to use when searching for accommodation. This will improve hotel search ranking and increase the likelihood of a booking.


Conclusion

By combining dynamic pricing practices with a strategic focus on improving ranking, hotels can effectively distinguish themselves from the competition and improve their online presence and visibility. Through the optimization of websites and OTA listings with relevant keywords and phrases, hotels can improve search rankings, thus increasing the probability of potential guests discovering and making bookings. Embracing these strategies will enable the hotel industry to overcome the summer drama and capitalize on opportunities for growth and success.
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