For hoteliers and accommodation providers this means changing their marketing strategy to attract local guests. Domestic tourism and staycation are the talks of the town. But how do you get this in-demand – sometimes even elusive audience – through the door?
Pre-COVID, the word travel generally meant going away to far-away places and saving up holiday leave for a long getaway.
2020 changed all that.
COVID-19 has meant that we either don’t travel or if we do, it’s local. International travel is a thing of the past with no signs of things changing soon.
Let’s look at a few strategies.
1. Focus on the off-season
If you want to explore drawing in locals without spending a ton of effort, focus on the offseason. Remember: it’s the offseason for your community, too and chances are locals are itching for a little change of scenery… even if it’s just down the block. Entice locals with special promotions and package deals. Last minute deals are great if you have lots of empty rooms or sell staycation vouchers. Look at giving away free nights – good for publicity and brand building.
2. Promote stay and play:
Staycation is back, and from the looks of things, here to stay for some time. If you’re located in the city, promote city break to the locals (A Night In The City anyone?). If you are an off-beat location, create staycation packages that involve exploring lesser-known areas of the city. Collaborate with local businesses such as breweries or local restaurants to build packages that have greater appeal than just accommodation.
3. Create an event:
If health rules in the area you live in the permit, drum up an event that will have guests lining up. Create an event that the local community will enjoy – a beer festival, comedy night, cooking classes, or live music? Make it a room+ event offer so guests have a greater incentive to attend and make it a mini getaway for a day trip or so.
4. Flaunt your space:
If you’ve got the facilities, highlight them. Guests will more easily leave their homes if they also get facilities that are not available in their own homes. Play up the “you won’t get this at home message” in your marketing strategy, talking up your gym or sports facility, spa, good views, etc.
5. Leverage local influencers:
If you’re creating packages and promotions specifically geared to locals, you’ll need to get the word out. Reach out to local influencers to get your word out – remember, they too are affected by COVID and looking for local opportunities. Don’t miss making the most of these opportunities for brand growth and conversions.
6. Be creative with how you use your space:
Working from home is the new normal. And as people tired of staring at the same walls in their home office, offer your rooms as a respite. Let guests book in a day to “work offsite”. Remember to include free WiFi in the packages you create to attract such guests.
To be successful, now more than ever, it is important to be creative. What does your new normal look like? How are you pushing the envelope to get in the locals to book a stay with you? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments and inputs.