ECONOMY

Hotels’ new booking tactic

A great number of Greek hoteliers are planning to create a safety cushion by attempting to gain more bookings in the November-March period, thereby following a different pricing strategy from previous years. Most of the contracts hoteliers have signed with foreign tour operators for the 2011 season provide for little or no increases in existing prices. Only the hoteliers who enjoyed high occupancy rates this year have now added small rises for next season. The new target by hotel owners is to see a large number of packages sold in international tourism markets for the November to March period, when early booking discounts apply (between 10 and 20 percent), which would entail a significant boost in custom for their units. Hoteliers aim at providing 20 percent discounts at the start of this period in order to boost bookings for Greece. They will later ensure a gradual drop in the discount rate, so that by the end of the early-bookings period, this will have come down to zero. This is also the guideline set out by the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers. Last year hoteliers had followed a different policy – which saw them start the early bookings period with a 10-percent discount that grew as the months went by. Now the aim is to have significantly fewer empty rooms by March 2011, compared to 2010.