It’s no secret that the travel and hospitality industries have been among some of the hardest-hit sectors in this new post-COVID landscape. With a considerable number of would-be vacationers still wary of long-distance travel, many parts of the world firmly enforcing travel restrictions to and from their regions, and a significant number of people still preferring to hunker down at home to ride out the pandemic, attracting overnight guests to your property can definitely be a unique and difficult challenge. However, despite the ongoing reluctance to book trips to faraway and exotic locales, there has been one emerging trend that seems to offer a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel: staycations.
According to recent reports, staycations – that is, taking a mini-vacation at or near a person’s current hometown – are surprisingly on the rise across the nation. As it turns out, people have grown stir-crazy in recent months, and they’re quite eager for a break from the same four walls that have surrounded them for the past two years. Because of this antsiness and restlessness, planning a local getaway has a certain appeal to it, offering an attractive alternative to fighting crowded airports and dealing with the hassle of long-distance travel. If you’ve been looking to increase your hotel’s bookings, why not try these five tips to help lure staycationing guests to your property?
Highlight your amenities
One way you can draw locals to your property is to remind them of what you can offer them. What makes your hotel stand apart, not only from your nearby competitors’ properties, but also from their own homes? For instance, do you have an on-site gym and spa? Do your rooms come with organic cotton sheets and gourmet coffee? What about your delicious breakfast spread in the morning? Perhaps you’re just a couple of miles away from local hiking trails or the beach. As the old saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. If potential guests don’t know what amenities are on tap, then it won’t occur to them to stay with you.
Focus on local attractions
Another great way to attract staycationers is to offer them fun “stay and play” packages to enjoy while they’re staying at your property. This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with other local businesses, as well. For example, if your hotel is located in a big city, why not offer a meal voucher to a high-end restaurant on the same block? Other options can include offering a tour and tasting at a microbrewery, horseback riding at a local ranch, or tee time at a nearby golf course. No matter what you offer, your guests – and the business you decide to team up with! – will no doubt love it.
Take advantage of the off-season
If there’s one thing that vacationers love, it’s the feeling that they snagged a good deal. For many people, it can be hard to pull out their credit card and spend money on a seemingly-frivolous indulgence when their own home offers perfectly acceptable accommodations. Not only do you need to make sure your guests feel like they’re being pampered while they stay at your hotel, but you also need to make sure they feel like they got a bargain on their stay, too. Since the off-season tends to be slower anyway, this is the perfect time to slash the rates on your rooms or offer multi-night discounts for more long-term stays.
Make it easy to book a stay
The last thing you want to do when trying to attract local guests is to somehow thwart them in the booking or reservation process. To help make it easier for your potential guests to schedule their stay with you, it’s essential to make sure your online booking platform is easy to find and navigate on your website. For those guests who prefer to call your property directly to book their stay, you’ll want to have customer service agents on standby twenty-four hours a day to take their call. Hiring remote employees in other countries can also be a great way to facilitate this, as they can easily respond to inquiries and provide prompt answers to any questions, even during off-business hours.
Host a fun event
For hotels in sleepier, slower-paced areas, it can be a little harder to attract guests to your property. After all, if there’s nothing happening nearby, then it can be tempting to just stay home instead. To drum up excitement in your hotel, why not host your own event on-site? That said, you’ll want to be sure to check with your local city ordinances before you start brainstorming ideas. Once you get the approval from your government, though, your own corner of the world is your oyster. Why not throw a black-tie soiree, giving your community a reason to dress up again? Or how about a comedy night, or a cooking demonstration? The possibilities are endless!
If one thing is certain right now, it’s the importance of being able to pivot and adapt to the obstacles that the current pandemic has thrown at us. Businesses that stubbornly refuse to make the necessary changes to overcome the recession are also the same ones that will ultimately fail. However, by recognizing this current trend in the hospitality industry and taking advantage of it, you can help ensure that both distance travelers and staycationers keep coming. And in making your hotel appealing to both types of guests, you can also be confident that your property will be the choice of everyone who is craving a getaway in the months and years to come.