Summer is around the corner and that means a lot of folks will be going on vacation and booking rooms. To help you make the most of your summer months, we combed through our data on summer offers to bring you some tips to take your campaigns to the next level. This data is from North America, but stay tuned for more information on when to send campaigns in Europe.
When do campaigns see the most bookings?
We analyzed 1,083 email campaigns to see when hoteliers are seeing the highest number of reservations per campaign. These are all summer related offers. The hottest months, shown in the graph below, are February and June with 30 average reservations per promotion. March and July came in a close second with 29 reservations per promotion. April and May took third with 28 reservations per promotion.
How many summer campaigns are hotels sending in a year?
The next thing we analyzed is the frequency of summer campaigns sent in a single year and the average number of summer reservations they received. The chart below shows 4 separate groupings: Hotels that sent: (1) only one summer promo per year, (2) hotels that sent 2 to 5 summer campaigns in a single year, (3) hotels that sent 6 to 12 summer campaigns in a year, and(4) hotels that sent more than 12 summer campaigns in a year.
The overwhelming majority of properties choose to send between 2 to 5 summer campaigns per year. However, we can also see that sending more campaigns really paid off for those hotels who sent them, with those hotels that sent 13 or more summer campaigns seeing significantly more reservations over the year.
When are hotels sending summer campaigns?
Next, we looked at the months in which hotels are sending the most summer campaigns. In general, things start heating up in May, peak in June with 53 hotels sending promotions and from there slows down again. Interestingly, we see a slight uptick at the end of the year, when hotels start sending out early bird campaigns for next year’s summer.
Putting it all together
Going back to the first chart, starting in February and ending in July, there is a steady increase in reservations, between 28 and 30 reservations per summer promotion. However, most hotels don’t start their summer campaigns until June, leaving a lot of money on the table by not sending out campaigns in those early months. Now there isn’t one “golden month” to send campaigns. Instead, the best strategy is to send multiple campaigns starting at least by February and going all the way through to July.
Building a summer promotion calendar
To help you understand how you can apply this information to drive your own bookings, we looked at what the most successful hotels were doing for their summer sales. What we found is that there are 4 key stages for a successful summer campaign strategy.
Stage 1: The Fall Before
Stage 1 starts around November. In this stage, hotels promote VIP sales for the following summer, and the discounts are big, often as high as 45% to 50% off.
Stage 2: A Dream in Spring
Stage 2 begins at the end of February. The tone of the campaigns in this stage highlights the urgency of booking because summer is almost here. Here, you’ll see examples like, “Let the fun begin! Up to 45% Off your Summer Vacation,” or “Every Day Should be Beach Day! Summer up to 45% Off”. You’ll start to more reservations per campaign now.
Stage 3: Summer is Here
Stage 3 starts in May. Summer is just about to begin and discounts tend to be a little less generous. They tend to be anywhere between 10% and 35% off. You might see offers such as, “The Beach Vacation You Deserve! Only 1 Day Left to Save 30% Off Summer,” “Book a Summer Gateway Stay & Get 10% Off!”, or “30% Off Summer Nights Ends Tomorrow”.
Stage 4: The Beginning of the End
Stage 4 starts as summer is coming to an end. Now, the tone of the emails is focused on the last chance to enjoy a summer vacation. Time is running out! Deals trend higher as well, in the neighborhood of 20% to 35% off.
Interestingly enough, many hotels tend to use actual dollar costs as opposed to percentages here. You might see offers like, “25% Off Final Days of Summer Sale Last Chance!”, “There’s Still Time! Summer Vacations from $79”, and “Only 44 Days of Summer Left!”
To sum up, hotels are leaving a lot of money on the table by starting their summer promotion too late (you should start in February—or even the fall before to send out those early bird specials) and not sending enough summer campaigns. Most hotels could double the number of campaigns they send without seeing diminishing returns. By sending summer campaigns early and often, you can see a real increase in your summer bookings.