Make Your Hotel More Profitable | Tip #4 from = “Shoulder Seasons” are Sleeping Giants!

 4. Expand Shoulder Seasons

Everyone understands peak demand periods, whether it is a certain season like spring break, or prime ski season or special events. It can also be one or more days of the week, that are always stronger than others and can command higher room rates.

One best practice for many sales people and hoteliers is to monitor the high demand periods using proven revenue management strategies. This is logical and should be continued. Another tendency for those same people is to attack the off-season, spending advertising and marketing funds and efforts to attempt to draw new clients to their location. These efforts usually include major discounting and a great deal of
effort that often yields very little measurable results.

The suggestion offered here is to carefully analyze your seasons or demand periods, so you can see where the peaks and valleys really are. For example, Manhattan was experiencing very high demand six nights per week, with Sunday the off night. Broadway already had supported the effort, with Monday being their dark night. Creative marketers in hotels packaged meals either in their hotel or with nearby restaurants, offered options for tours that appealed to social travelers and business center programs for business travelers. Room rates might have a slight discount overall when it included a Sunday night but
the concept was aimed at enhancing value, rather than promoting discounts. The same pattern followed in Las Vegas, with the big name entertainers performing on Sundays.

Shoulder seasons in locations that have high demand can target clients that might have flexibility. Families with school age children must adhere to the school calendars and cannot adjust their plans, but singles or seniors that might be drawn to the location could have flexibility and enjoy the experience without a concentration of children. It is a matter of research, which includes your own and that of the area visitors’ bureaus or other centers. Adding demand in the shoulder period can make a huge difference in revenues.

Sundays, for example, represent 14% of the total week and gaining as few as a dozen additional guests can make a substantial contribution to top and bottom lines. Adding a certain demand before or after special events or activity can keep your staff working longer and allow you a much better opportunity of gaining measurable results. It is not being suggested to ignore the off-season, but prioritize potentials. Use packages and
promote as many of your services as possible

This resource began with definitions of the words “profits” and “profitability. ” Shoulder seasons can be an enormous addition to profitability – IF people take the time to think about it more!

The site has many segments specifically dealing with this topic and offers a range of ideas on ways to extend your markets.

Dr. John Hogan working with clients at a recent workshop

Feel free to share an idea for a column at anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS          United States – Phoenix, Phone: 602-799-5375 Email:

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