Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: creative ways hotels can attract local guests.
This time last year, hotels would soon be entering the holiday season, preparing to house travelers from around the world as they celebrate with their friends and families. Unfortunately – as it has with most of our 2020 plans – the coronavirus has all but made holiday travel impossible with the continuation of new COVID cases across the U.S. In fact, a recent report shows that “this summer, online searches for “holiday travel” decreased by 43% from 2019. “Christmas travel” is down by 46%, and “Thanksgiving travel” is off 38%.”
The hotel industry has taken a huge financial hit from the pandemic, having lost “more than $46 billion in room revenue” since mid-February. Because it’s estimated that holiday-goers will travel less, hotels should be considering how they can continue to bring in revenue the next several months if they hope to keep their doors open.
One great way to attract hotel guests without relying on tourists is to target locals. By focusing your marketing efforts on your community, you can offer a way for people to get away without needing the accompaniment of riskier activities like flying. Plus, you may end up attracting guests who return in the future or refer your hotel to others. In this post, we’ll be covering a few creative ways to attract local guests during the holiday season and into the future.
Discounts for locals
Consider offering discounts for people from your area. Similar to when businesses offer a student discount with an ID, providing a program like this is a great way to get people out the door and into your hotel. Simply ask for a government issued ID or proof of residency for a percentage off the bill.
Create a ‘burnout’ package
40% of Americans reported experiencing burnout during the pandemic, even when working remotely. Using ‘burnout relief’ as a marketing tool could be the buzz words that attract a working couple who needs a getaway. Customize your package based on what your hotel typically offers, as well as what’s popular in the community –– maybe that includes joining forces with a spa or contracting in-house yoga instructors.
Mini-moons or kid-friendly weekends
Think about the types of events we had to miss out on this year, then figure out how to offer something similar. A trip after a wedding can become a mini-moon, AKA a shortened honeymoon typically closer to home. Or a family vacation can become a cozy staycation at your hotel. There are so many options and ways to make your guests feel special while maintaining social distancing and mask requirements – be creative and consider your audience.
Let’s face it: people love free (and or/discounted) stuff. While the goal is for hotels to make money, offering free amenities or giveaways is a great strategy for getting people through the door. Consider inexpensive yet enticing offerings, like free prosecco for happy hour, discounted room service, or buy-one-get-one deals.
The hotel industry is facing a lot of uncertainty as some experts believe hotels won’t return to pre-COVID levels until at least 2023. For many, they can’t wait that long to start bringing in serious revenue again. By being creative and finding ways to market to your specific audience, you can prioritize attracting locals, and grow your revenue through the holiday season and beyond.