Day 1: The Illusion of Buying Occupancy: Why It Doesn’t Actually Boost Your Bed and Breakfast’s Success

Last Updated on December 29, 2023 by Jhuffman

Running a bed and breakfast during the holiday season can be a delightful experience. However, it’s essential to avoid the common trap of trying to buy occupancy by lowering your rates. In this article, we’ll explore why the strategy of buying occupancy often falls flat, leaving you with fewer profits and the same number of rooms filled.

The Temptation to Lower Rates

As Christmas approaches, many bed and breakfast owners face the challenge of declining occupancy rates. It’s easy to fall into the temptation of lowering your room rates to attract more guests, thinking it’s a quick solution. However, this approach, known as “buying occupancy,” can be deceptive and counterproductive.

The Pitfall of Buying Occupancy

1. The Illusion of More Bookings

When you decide to lower your rates significantly, it may seem like a logical step to secure more bookings. However, the reality often doesn’t align with expectations. Instead of attracting a surge of new guests, you might find that you’re merely selling the same number of rooms but at a reduced rate.

2. Eroding Profit Margins

Lowering rates can lead to reduced profit margins. Even if you fill more rooms, the revenue generated per guest may not cover your operating costs, let alone provide a healthy profit. This approach can hurt your business in the long run.

3. Attracting the Wrong Crowd

Price-sensitive guests who are solely attracted by lower rates may not be the kind of guests you want to cater to. They might be less inclined to spend on additional services, making it difficult to upsell and increase your overall revenue.

A More Strategic Approach

Instead of falling into the trap of buying occupancy, consider these alternative strategies to ensure the success of your Christmas-themed bed and breakfast:

1. Maintain Competitive Rates

Rather than drastically lowering your rates, focus on maintaining competitive pricing while offering additional value to your guests.

2. Enhance Guest Experiences

Invest in creating exceptional guest experiences. Decorate your B&B with Christmas cheer, provide special amenities, and host holiday-themed events that set you apart from the competition.

3. Invest in Marketing

Allocate a portion of your budget to marketing efforts. Highlight what makes your bed and breakfast unique, especially during the holiday season, to attract the right audience.

4. Collaborate with Local Businesses

Form partnerships with local businesses to create enticing packages that include dining, entertainment, or holiday activities. This collaborative approach can attract more guests without compromising your rates.


While the temptation to buy occupancy by lowering rates is strong during the holiday season, it’s essential to resist this short-sighted strategy. Instead, focus on providing value, maintaining competitive rates, and delivering unforgettable experiences to your guests. By adopting these strategies, you can ensure that your Christmas-themed bed and breakfast thrives without sacrificing your bottom line.


1. Is it ever advisable to lower rates during the holiday season?

In most cases, it’s not advisable to lower rates during the holiday season. It can erode your profit margins and attract price-sensitive guests who may not contribute to your revenue.

2. How can I attract more guests without lowering rates?

You can attract more guests by maintaining competitive rates, enhancing guest experiences, effective marketing, and collaborating with local businesses to create appealing packages.

3. What are some examples of value-added services?

Value-added services can include holiday decorations, special amenities, festive events, and personalized guest experiences.

4. How can I effectively market my Christmas-themed bed and breakfast?

Effective marketing strategies include leveraging social media, creating a holiday-themed website, using email marketing, and collaborating with local tourism boards.

5. How do I ensure guests return to my bed and breakfast in the future?

Providing exceptional service, creating memorable experiences, and offering loyalty programs can encourage guests to return to your bed and breakfast.

Read on For Part 2 Here!

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