Guests increasingly are booking hotel rooms closer to the date of their stays, including via walk-ins with no notice, forcing hoteliers to be more flexible and plan ahead to manage last-minute demand.
Hotel News Now reached out to hoteliers across different markets and hotel types to gauge successful strategies being implemented to capture demand
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Main Street Hospitality
John Harrison, regional director of sales for Main Street Hospitality, a collection of hotels in the New England region of the U.S., said short-term bookings are trending for both group and leisure guests.
The booking window for groups is at about 90 days out, he said. However, because of such high demand causing a lack of available hotel space, some groups are now looking out a little bit further into the fall.
“We are seeing it mostly in the year for the year right now,” he said. “There is some incentive business that’s coming back and that is a little bit more lead time, so we are seeing some early stages of 2023 bookings, which is new from the past couple of years.”
In terms of transient leisure, Harrison said many of Main Street Hospitality’s properties continue to benefit from drive-to demand. This has resulted in a pickup in bookings within seven to 14 days.
“We could see a hotel at 70% occupancy in Newport, but within 14 days people are looking at the weather or planning short term, then we’ll see pickup [in bookings] and sell out the property within that seven- to 14-day window,” he added.
Leisure guests typically stay from Thursday to Sunday, while corporate business is Monday through Thursday, he said.
However, Harrison noticed a trend of some leisure travelers lengthening their stays, which his team is able to incentivize and encourage. The average length of stay is typically two nights. In the summer, Main Street Hospitality’s properties run a promotion with discounts increasing based on length of stay.
In terms of marketing, Main Street Hospitality has rolled out is a website that’s dedicated to a fully curated three-day itinerary for corporate groups who book at its Hammetts Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island.
The site was developed with Newport’s destination marketing organization as a response to many companies eliminating meeting planner and executive assistant positions, making it more difficult for them to plan meetings and events for their corporations.
Sable at Navy Pier
The Sable at Navy Pier in Chicago has experienced a major shift in the past 60 days with leisure guests starting to book further out, said Matt Kiedrowski, the hotel’s director of revenue generation.
Within that time frame, the hotel’s leisure travel guests booked 42% of their room nights within 14 days of arrival. Booking windows are commonly 31-plus days out, or eight to 14 days out, whereas in the fourth quarter of the year it was one to three days, he said.
The corporate booking window is 21 to 30 days out at best. Group bookings, however, vary depending on size.