The one sure fire way to tell high season is about to kick off is a sudden boost in occupancy. After the mad rush of summer and the slow pace of September and October, November serves as the herald of the upcoming busy period for hotels.
We all suffered through a pretty low September across the board, with both occupancy and ADR (average daily rate) dropping for that month. A phenomena caused by the lack of the Venezuelan market to tide us through a slow September and October period. One interesting thing that came out of that though, is with a quieter than usual pool/ beach area, we actually generated more sales of people wanting to come down this time of year. Which makes sense since once summer is done and school vacation is over, it gives those of dual income with no kids an opportunity to vacation to Aruba on a budget and without the hassle of waking up early to reserve a place on the beach or pool deck. The take away being if you want a relaxing vacation maybe consider September and October as the best travel times.
Of course the chill of the previous two months was bound to give way to the madness of the upcoming holiday season. Once Halloween is out of the way, most of us start looking toward Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. I like to separate this period into two groups, the pre-holiday vacationers who want to get away for a bit before the holidays and then be with their family at home. They’re usually the ones who come in the first two weeks of November to fill up your rooms. After them you have the next group who enjoy getting away from it all, especially the snow, by coming to Aruba and spending their holidays on the beach.
The second group gets to experience the holidays in a more low key way, with the resort doing all the decorating and promoting the holiday cheer. It’s a no muss no fuss type of season where if you want a big holiday meal all you need to do is hit up your local restaurant, which hopefully you’ve booked way in advance of your arrival.
Knowing these groups and being able to predict what they expect from their vacation is key to a successful busy season. In both managers and team meetings discussions are already being had about inventory and supplies. We take data from the previous year and go over what went right and what went wrong, in an effort to make sure everyone is working on the same page. Based on the information gathered and the holiday spread of either being in week or on the weekend, schedules are being adapted.
Everyone is giving employees as much vacation as possible now, so that we will be fully staffed once the hotel is at 100% capacity. We want to be able to deliver the best service to our most particular guests and that means making sure our employees are well rested and have all the tools they need to meet and exceed expectations.
All our guests should see is the calm, while the buzzing storm happens in the background as we get ready for the upcoming holiday period. It’s going to be interesting. Q
Aruban born and bred Shanella Pantophlet is passionate about tourism. That is the world she studied and works in, so we might as well call her a specialist. Luckily for Aruba Today Shanella also loves to write. And together with the fact that the majority of our readers are tourists, we found ourselves a perfect combination for a column: Hotel Hustle.