With international travel still, a distant dream, hotels, and vacation rentals are rolling out the red carpet to lure locals via staycation ideas.
The invitation to holiday closer to home gained popularity during the economic crisis in 2008. Faced with a tight budget, travelers had no choice but to escape the routine without travelling or by travelling in their free time near home for road trips or short trips. Over time staycation became a personal choice with followers world over.
COVID-19 has yet again brought the staycation center and front for anyone who wants to travel or step out during their vacation time. Fearful of airports, quarantine and border restrictions, travellers are opting to go for holidays within driving distance or on short domestic flights.
Whether you like it or not, a staycation is here for a while. In the short term it could become the lease of life many vacation rentals and hotels need. In the long run, it is a travel segment that is likely to keep gaining momentum. As hoteliers, you need to be ready to capitalise on this staycation trend.
Let’s look at a few ways in which you can attract these local travelers.
1. Understand the audience.
For any marketing strategy to be successful, you need to understand whom you are marketing to – the target audience. It is essential to have a deep understanding the demographic, what they’re interested in, what they’re going to be looking for, and how well you can cater to their needs so you can highlight the right areas of your business to attract their attention and make them want to spend their time and money with you.
Find relevant research into your new audience segment, look into past PMS data to understand likes and dislikes of local travellers better or just ask questions via a survey; there are many ways to understand your target audience better.
2. Build local partnerships.
Working with local attractions not just enhances the experience for staycationers, it shows them that you are committed to supporting the local community as much as them. Try building partnerships with nearby or local amusement parks, national parks especially during summer vacation/or holiday seasons.
3. Leverage local events.
Events are fantastic opportunities to amplify your domestic marketing efforts. Think about creating special packages or discounts around them. You could consider throwing in some extras that might set you apart from competitors.
Leverage your partnerships with local operators to create offers that will appeal to your target demographic. Where local events are lacking, create your own events if possible. They don’t need to be large-scale events, even special themed days are great.
Since the #golocal trend is becoming popular, you can partner with, local movie night events, film festivals, etc that can help you attract local/domestic tourists in your own town.
4. Create package deals.
Staycationers are looking to escape the daily routine. Remove the stress of planning for them by offering multiple staycation deals. Plan different packages per season or based on special events. Cater to different audiences such as families, single travellers, couples, etc.
Give your guests the chance to build their own itinerary as well. Allow them to choose the perks and events they care about most. Customisation will help them feel more like they’re on vacation even if they’re not going too far away from home for their holiday. Don’t forget to update your distribution channels with these offers.
5. Personalise the offers.
Delight your guests by offering something extra and turning them into lifelong guests. Personalised service goes a long way in building brand advocates – in times of crisis, these advocates are critical to promoting your message.
You could add a personal touch by offering a complimentary spa service or dinner at your restaurant. Perhaps you can offer discounted tickets to a local attraction?
6. Offer flexibility.
Nobody knows what the future holds or there will be another wave of restrictions and lockdowns that force people to cancel their planned trips. Being flexible with your cancellation policy is important at such times to get future bookings. If you offer a flexible cancellation policy, people will feel much more comfortable booking at your hotel.
At the same time, you can encourage them to postpone the trip instead of canceling if they need to.
7. Update your website and social channels.
Your website and social channels are your dedicated spaces on the internet. Make sure you keep them updated with the latest services and offers. Create a dedicated landing page for staycation offers to help your prospective guests find you more easily.
The new normal is beginning to take shape. Staycation is one part of this new normal. Stay connected to our blog as we speak to industry experts and share ideas on navigating the rough waters in a COVID-19 world.