What is the meaning / definition of Shoulder Date in the hospitality industry?
Sometimes a hotel can generate extra revenue by selling rooms on Shoulder Dates; these are basically dates that fall very close to other high demand dates. For example, a couple decides to treat themselves to a luxury break at a sumptuous rural hotel. Their reservation is for the last Friday and Saturday night in August. But they enjoy themselves so much that they wish to extend their stay by another night, the Sunday. This would be a Shoulder Date booking, simply because it falls right next to/immediately after the other pre-booked dates.
At small and large hotels across the world, most shoulder date bookings tend to occur before and after a high demand date, or multiple ones.
Smart revenue managers consider carefully shoulder dates and try to attract extra demand for these dates by applying several strategies, also called stays control, such as:
- MLOS / minimum length of stay
- Maximum lenght of stay
- Min / Max length of stay combination
- CTA / closed to arrival
- CTD / closed to departure
- Stay through restriction
Note: Usually, shoulder dates are next to full or very compressed dates. If a Tuesday and Wednesday are forecasted to be sold out, and Thursday is not, Thursday would be considered a shoulder date in that example.