04 Apr 2017
How To Explain High-Season Rates and Still Impress Prospective Guests
It’s the time of year when resort reservations are fielding more calls than ever before for the summer months. Your resort reservations and front desk colleagues will be fielding questions from both prospects and guests about why it is that the rates are so much higher during these and other peak dates.
The specifics of the questions being asked vary according to who is asking and the dates in question. Yet for as long as I can remember, the basic explanation provided is essentially the same: “Rates go up during periods of peak demand.”
When you think about it, offering this type explanation is essentially defending one of the fundamental laws of capitalism — supply and demand. We might as well tell them the whole truth and nothing but the truth: “Actually, sir, the rate goes up due to what our revenue manager calls compressed demand. When that happens, she really pushes rate so that we can maximize RevPAR, which is “revenue per available room.” This helps our company generate the most ROI, which is return on investment, so our owners can make the most profit off of guests like you!”
Okay, so this is all true, but do we REALLY want to say this? There is another way of explaining why rates change that is equally as true, but which sure sounds much better to the listener.
It is true that we do charge more for meeting space and guest rooms during busier times of the year. However, it is every bit as equally true that we also discount when it’s slow! Further, and also very true, smart hospitality sales people are very happy to help the buyer find discounted rates if their plans are flexible. Your revenue manager will LOVE you if you do! RM’s love elastic demand that can be stretched to move over during periods of moderate or low occupancy. Any hotel can sell out when demand is strong. The best hotel reservations agents do all they can to encourage those who are flexible to move to alternative dates by luring them with lower rates and more concessions, helping to optimize revenue and fully actualize potential.
To do so, you just have to re-program your mind to change-up the way you explain rate variance. It does take some practice. So the next time a guest or sales prospect says “Why are the rates so much higher during this time?” just respond by saying “During times like these our normal rates apply. However, we do offer discounts during slower periods.” Then continue on to say: “If your vacation plans are flexible, I would love to search some other dates for you. For example, we have some terrific package deals for the first week of June and the last week of August.”