Convention hotels thrive on business travellers. However, they are usually travelling during the week and stay at home on the weekends. What is quite normal but can become a challenge for hotels with conference rooms. This is because without business travellers, conference rooms are empty on the weekends and hotel room occupancy decreases. But this does not need to be the case. We can show you four simple tricks to fill your convention hotel, even on weekends.

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80 Percent target

Full occupancy at your convention hotel can be easily measured in terms of days, weeks, or long-term seasonal stays, such as winter versus summer stays. According to studies, the target occupancy rate for most hotel owners is somewhere between 70 and 80 percent. Fluctuations within that range are quite normal, but a low occupancy rate should never become the standard. Particularly hotel managers should ensure that the room occupancy rate remains relatively stable.

There are many ways to increase your occupancy on Saturdays and Sundays.

When “normal” hotels do most of their business between Fridays and Monday and struggle with a low occupancy rate during the week, convention hotels have the opposite problem. The latter’s occupancy rate is lower on the weekends, and their meeting rooms often remain empty on Saturdays and Sundays. This does not have to be the norm, however. The following tips can help you increase the use of your conference rooms even on weekends:

1. Expand your target group

Are your typical guests business travellers? If so, you already have laid a good foundation, since this target group is perfectly suited to hotels with conference rooms. If your conference room has good conferencing technology, and well-equipped meeting spaces, you most certainly have excellent occupancy during the week. But what do you do on the weekends when fewer meetings or conferences take place? The solution is to expand your target group to include two more segments.

Take, for example, sports clubs. In amateur as well as professional sports, seminars, trainings, continuing education workshops, and annual conventions are often held. If you don’t have your sports club venue fully technological equipped, they will book elsewhere. Well and good if your hotel can wait for another opportunity to come along. For example, apprenticeships place a heavy emphasis on knowledge sharing, requiring start-of-the-art technological features at their events. In the apprenticeship arena, target groups can be broadened further to include hunting clubs, dog and horse breeders, for example.

Add clubs to your target group.

Important in any case is to adjust your marketing strategy. After all, if you do not speak to your new target groups, you may not be able to increase hotel occupancy or conference room use. Take advantage of the press, (social) media, and your home page to draw people to book your conference and hotel rooms over the weekend. Especially, when apprentices are coming from afar, you can kill two birds with one stone by booking both your conference room and your hotel rooms.

2. Build partnerships in the region

In your geographic area, are there businesses who have offices dispersed throughout the region? Then you should communicate your services to those businesses, since they will in time want to bring employees from other offices, or perhaps their business partners from other regions, to your hotel. All the better if your hotel and conference room is the first choice for those sorts of guests. Especially when they have made a long trip, you can score extra points by offering special discounted rates for Sunday night stays. This will certainly encourage some convention guests to stay an extra night, increasing your weekend occupancy rate.

Promote weekend packages and offer discounts for local business offices.

3. Make discount and package offers

Speaking of special offerings: Use discounts and package deals to ensure that your hotel and conference rooms are well booked over weekends. You can offer your guests something that they may not be able to find elsewhere, that is, what the competition does not offer. Special discount prices for using conference rooms or discounted rooms for convention guests who stay over the weekend are a great opportunity to book your rooms on Saturdays and Sundays too.

4. Keep your technology up-to-date

In today’s digital age, it is increasingly important to attract convention guests and business travellers with outstanding technology. Particularly in the case of hotels with conference rooms, it is extremely important to keep the technology up-to-date. There is nothing more annoying and intimidating for guests than non-working or slow technology. And, as you know, good news spreads fast. Concretely, this means that the better your conference room technology is, the sooner your guests will spread the word to other guests, increasing the likelihood that you can offer your convention guests a service beyond the work week – which brings us back to the previous point: expanding the target group.

conference hotel occupancy © Cressida studio / shutterstock.com
conference hotel occupancy © Cressida studio / shutterstock.com

But what does state-of-the-art technology really mean? Basically, it is a simple concept. Invest in an all-in-one solution to integrate all required technical devices, such as projectors, monitors, and speakers into a single platform. Furthermore, your guests will only have to connect using one system, then choose which technology and tools they need when. This saves users time and increases productivity.

Modern conference room technology will increase your weekend occupancy.

Directly related to full hotel occupancy is the subject of time-savings. Especially guests who attend weekend seminars do not want to feel like they are wasting their time. They value optimum productivity, which therefore makes them dependent on you and the technological equipment your conference rooms offer. Ensure that all hardware and software can be easily accessed by your guests. This will save them quite a bit of valuable time and prevents the frustration which can otherwise arise due to technology mishaps. Functioning and accessible conference room technology is also extremely crucial in order to guarantee your guests a spectacular meeting experience. It also guarantees that you guests will recommend your hotel and conference rooms to others. And this, in turn, will increase your weekend occupancy.

Modern and user-friendly technology and attractive discount options for different target groups are key to improving your occupancy on weekends. And – very important – communicate your achievements. When you do this, more is actually more. The greater the number of people that know about your services, the more your bookings turn out to be in the long run.