The birds are chirping, the weather is brightening and summer is on the way... hurray! If there is one thing we all need it's a brighter, warmer season and with that, great things to look forward to.
According to a recent Hilton survey of U.S. travelers*, more than three in four (76%) respondents experience negative feelings when they go too long without a holiday, with burnout (41%) and boredom (36%) being among the top emotions sited.
They found that upcoming summer travel trends will include:
- Travel with pets
- Holistic wellness
- Handy travel/accommodation solutions that help to take unnecessary planning off guests
Looking creatively at each and every one of these trends on their own allows for plenty of food for thought and opportunity when it comes to how you go about selling your rooms. Depending on your guest types/target personas, it will be smart to include the likes of the above when you are plotting out website content and rateplans.
Is your hotel pet friendly? Make it clear!
Do you have an award winning relaxation spa on-site? Talk about it.
Can you hone in on features that would make a remote worker comfortable? Can you offer them a good rate for an extra night on either side of their weekend or longer summer stay?
Are you talking about everything you have available on-site or in the area so your guests feel equipped with what they need to plan a great holiday?
These are just some initial considerations to take into account in relation to the mindset many of your summer guests will be in. Here are a few more pointers when it comes to selling rooms this summer season.
Make sure to plot out who your target personas are, and what offers/rateplans suit each of those guest types. Once you’ve nailed down who you’re targeting with your offers, you should consider pricing, especially for those times of the week when it's harder to fill your hotel. For example, try to incentivise midweek stays when your property is most likely quieter than weekends -
‘Avoid the crowds! Visit us between Sunday & Thursday and get up to 30% off!’
You could also consider referencing something that would attract workationers or remote workers here. With record numbers of people working from home (and incredibly happy about it), it's something that has changed the structure of life as we know it and for those who do WFH, they have flexibility that allows them to be anywhere as long as they have the ability to open their laptop and put the head down.
Another potentially key audience for you come summer is families. With the kids off school, summer is obviously a hugely popular time for family breaks, and you will most likely get a big chunk of your revenue from this market. Remember that they are looking for a place to stay that will provide them with financial value but also every little perk counts. Consider the following:
- Adding children rates to all rooms (not just family ones)
- Offering discounts for local attractions (museums, leisure centres, restaurants)
- Including a ‘book direct and receive 10% off the hotel restaurant / bar’ offer
- Providing a welcome drink for everyone in the family upon arrival
- Offering free breakfast
- Offering for kids to stay or eat for free
Another engaging way to fill rooms is through promotions. As we know, mobile is a device that continues to grow at lightening speed in relation to browsing and booking. Of all the shopping channels available to customers, mobile commerce is actually taking the lead. It is predicted that some 187.5 million people will shop via their smartphone by 2024 and global consumer mobile spending is expected to reach $728 billion by 2025... so yeah, mobile is big. Not only this, but when you consider how important mobile is in our daily lives, you will remember how much time we spend on social. It's definitely worth devising a social competition at some point to organically raise awareness of your summer offers.
Use your database of previous visitors to launch a ‘We miss you!’ email campaign. Let them know they deserve a holiday - don't we all after the last couple of years!
Remember that free add-ons like early/late check-in make such a difference. Even if they don’t end up booking, it will help make guests feel valued and they’ll consider you again down the line.
Make sure people know it’s not too late to book. This can be communicated through your phrasing: ‘Spacious family rooms still available!’
By continuing to use remarketing, you will also ensure that guests don’t forget about you the whole summer long.
Finally, remember to be very clear on the fact that guests can book now and pay later. This is crucial in the age of OTAs and pre-Covid.
Your guests consume media anywhere and everywhere so a clear, consistent message across multiple platforms should be your priority. Make sure all links are directing people to the correct offer landing page. Your campaign message and imagery needs to be strong and complementary, both on and offline.
When it comes to your website, don’t just focus on your offer’s landing page – consider all other types of content you can provide. Think about information you can give on local attractions, ‘secret’ spots, the best pubs, restaurants, etc. It transforms you from just a room in a property, to a source of inspiration, a destination. To magnify all of this, use your social media channels.
Back to our earlier point on how obsessed we all are with our phones, remember that people are present on a variety of platforms and will check different mediums to get a feel for who you are. Keep a weekly focus on social and use it to magnify blog content, your USPs, and even unique facts about your property that will grab attention. Customer feedback and reviews are also crucial to continued prosperity. As humans, we have a tendency to be influenced. So never underestimate the power of a great guest review.