Your hotel setup can’t be fun in the sun all year long when winter is fast approaching. Here are some steps to take to get guests visiting all season long.
As the seasons change, so do your hotel needs. You’ll likely require a different game plan as the colder months approach, so now is the perfect time to start updating your property for the winter. You should consider changing your hotel’s setup to prepare for colder temperatures, as well as updating your marketing strategies to keep occupancy high.
Winterizing Your Hotel Setup
1. Pool Maintenance
Once your summer guests have gone, you may want to drain the swimming pool and do a deep scrub. Treat the water after you refill the pool and then, if it won’t be used, cover it for fall and winter. Consider whether there were issues with the pool during the summer months that you can repair now or plan to repair when you reopen it. Be sure to look around the pool as well. Do you need to add more signs or make other changes to your pool area?
2. Manicuring Your Landscape
The summer was probably rough on your hotel landscaping. In Hotel Business Review, president of U.S. Lawns, Ken Hutcheson, suggests fertilizing to promote better growth during the fall and winter months, as well as to replace nutrients that are often depleted during a hot, dry summer season.
Keep in mind that the falling leaves are coming. Hutcheson recommends staying on top of leaf removal, so the leaves don’t kill off the grass and vegetation beneath them. Be sure, too, that leaves are removed from any storm or other drains in order to prevent clogging and flooding. Your landscaper should also trim dead tree limbs, cut back perennials and plant new vegetation during the fall. If it’s needed, this is a good time to aerate a stressed lawn to better prepare strong roots for the winter.
3. Preparing for Colder Weather Conditions
Late summer and early fall is when hotel owners and managers in snowy locations might start planning ahead for snow removal, according to Mike Fitzpatrick, vice president of U.S. Lawns. You should talk to your contractor about treating walkways and parking lots prior to storms in order to help keep the walkways and parking lots clear, and making sure whatever supplies are needed are on site. Now is the time, too, to make plans to winterize your property’s irrigation system, according to Hutcheson. If the thermometer will be dropping below freezing, make sure the landscaping company will turn off the water and shut off the sprinkler’s control system. And, most importantly, make sure they will drain the pipes so they don’t expand and burst in freezing temperatures.
Your hotel’s interior needs protection from the elements, too. Floor mats can help protect your floors from the snow, water and salt that gets tracked in by employees and guests. Consider placing them in entryways and in any areas where debris tends to collect. Umbrella stands near your entrances can also help protect against water damage. While floor mats can help you tackle winter weather from the moment your guests walk in, you may want to consider putting a cleaning program in place to keep lobby floors clean throughout the day. If your area is known for particularly bad winters, consider using a rental mop program to make sure you always have clean, working mops when you need them.
Keep Guests Coming During the Winter
In terms of keeping guests coming to your hotel throughout the winter, one of the most important tasks is to revise your property’s website. Remove the bright, sparkly swimming pool shots and replace them with cozy winter photos to entice travelers looking for a winter getaway. Promote your property as a meeting space for corporate conferences in the off-season months. You may also want to consider promoting your property’s amenities, such as its top-rated spa, to capture local residents planning a “staycation.”
With winter approaching, it may be time to embrace the power of social media marketing if you’ve yet to, or reestablish and commit to it if your efforts have been half-hearted. Consider posting information on your website about the best things to do in your location during the winter. Be sure to include information on skiing or cross-country ski trails, Oktoberfest and special holiday events.
Check with the local tourism authority about major winter happenings. Will there be a huge concert or a large convention, or a landmark exhibit at the city’s museum? Could you pair a local excursion, such as a popular hike, with an on-site spa deal? Commit to being a resource and an authority for guests planning their stay. Promote local happenings and deals not only on your website’s event calendar, but also in your social media and other marketing.
A changing season means a different marketing strategy. Use this time both to arrange a different hotel setup for winter, and to market your property to people who will enjoy being there in the colder months.