Sunday Night Fever

By , Director, Emerging Innovations Sales, Global Account Management


When your Sunday night strategy is a fun pricing curiosity with a bit of pitch-blackness

Blog Soundbites:

  • Sunday nights tend to be the slowest nights for occupancy in many markets
  • Sundays often represent some of a hotel’s greatest revenue opportunities
  • Hotels can drive bookings with length-of-stay incentives, package incentives or managing new business

With the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Fever” upon us, Vanity Fair recently described the pop culture movie as a “fun 70s curiosity with pitch-blackness.” The special anniversary release of this iconic film not only elicits nostalgic memories of obnoxious white suits and slick dance moves, but it also leaves me thinking about hotels and their Sunday night pricing. You see, Sunday nights can also be considered a fun curiosity with a bit of pitch-blackness.

For a large majority of hotels, Sundays are more often than not the slowest night for occupancy. However, for some hotels, Sunday nights are often treated the same as the rest of their weekday business. Is it the most profitable revenue strategy to price a Sunday night the same as, say, a high-demand Tuesday? Or, by doing so,are hotels unknowingly suffering from the Sunday night fever?

One might be wondering why some hotels price Sunday as a typical weekday rate. For some, the demand for Sunday nights might be high and a premium rate is well-warranted. For others, however, they might not be pricing their guestrooms dynamically, and are following a traditionally static pricing approach that offers a similar rate for Sunday-Thursday, and another for Friday and Saturday nights.

However, Sunday nights can represent some of the greatest revenue opportunities in many markets, and a weekday strategy that misses the mark by not pricing dynamically ends up sacrificing highly-coveted profits. If your hotel could use some remedies for mending a Sunday night slump, here are a few possible areas for consideration:

  • Does your hotel display all of your available offers? Are there opportunities to offer more incentives for Sunday nights than just your mid-week strategies? After all, you’ve heard it before: An empty room is worth nothing.
  • Since leisure and business travelers have different price sensitivities, can you use your technology and its pricing capabilities to entice these distinctive segments? Perhaps a Friday night reservation for three nights looks something like $199, $199 & $179 to encourage an extension into Sunday nights. For business travelers, perhaps a Sunday check-in is $229, Monday is $249, Tuesday $299, etc.
  • How does your hotel manage lower-valued OTA business? If there is demand present, and the ancillary value of those guests spills over beyond room revenue into the lounge and restaurant, can you better manage that business with length-of-stay controls to help fill Sundays?
  • Stimulating new types of Sunday night offers could be a great way to introduce new people to your hotel. At the end of the day, travel habits are just that—habits. You may end up capturing guests that are more likely to return to your hotel in the future.
  • Is there an opportunity to tap into special corporate negotiated rates for Sunday nights? Much like you might incentivize Thursday nights to extend into the weekend, can you deploy a similar strategy by incentivizing Sunday night check-ins with your corporate accounts?

In the end, the ideal Sunday night strategy is going to differ for every hotel, in every market, and may even change course every single week. But the cure for a slow day is never giving up on that slow day—and it may require you to think about how you can treat it differently. Length-of-stay incentives, package incentives or managing and accepting new types of business might be some areas worth exploring in the process.

While you might not need a white suit to sell out your Sundays, your hotel might just benefit from a few slick revenue moves.

Neil Corr
Director, Emerging Innovations Sales, Global Account Management

As a professional with over 20 years of hospitality experience, Neil helps hospitality organizations leverage novel technologies to maximize revenue opportunities and enhance strategic capabilities. As a fellow of HOSPA, Neil also holds CRME certification from HSMAI and regularly delivers workshops at various industry events and trade expos.

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