With the sweeter season of summer officially behind us, it’s time to make room for a new season of travellers looking to get away for a quieter staycation in crisper weather.
With the nation waiting for more detail on the ‘stay and spend’ tax back scheme, it looks as though it will in fact be a benefit for people who choose to spend and support the hospitality industry in the form of tax back at the end of the year as opposed to a voucher. The fact that this is coming into effect at all is good news for hotels, of course – but we know that navigating this strange, newer landscape is still anxiety-inducing, especially given the corporate business many hotels would have relied on at this time of year will be essentially non-existent. The occupancy levels we are seeing for the September/October period are currently in the 20’s as opposed to being in the 70’s, and as we all know, Dublin hotels in particular are teetering on dangerous ground.
A few weeks ago, we wrote a piece on how to maximise your autumn bookings – we wanted to continue on that vein of thinking so your property is doubly prepared for a fresh new season and all its potential bookings.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to your packages. First off – you want to show your best value packages and ensure your rates are the total price, not per person. This saves you from an annoyed potential booker who wants to know what they’re spending before they get to the check out page!
Another thing to remember is what a crucial part the right imagery plays in your rate plans and packages. You may think the visuals are something you can just use stock for as a quick accompaniment to the package itself, but don’t underestimate them as powerful tools in their own right. Use brightly coloured, plush, enticing pictures of your rooms that your guests will leave your guests day dreaming. Put any impressive photography you have to good use!
Rate badges are something else you should consider. Think ‘free cancellation!’ ‘10% off!’ and ‘fully flexible!’ You want your guests to know the key details surrounding their booking that will immediately put them at ease – without them having to scroll through lines and lines of small copy. Remember, a huge chunk of potential bookers will be doing so on their phones.
You may have had a package or packages that worked really well for you this summer? That’s great – don’t stop them just because a new season has begun! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You might need to adapt the language or change one or two minor details to suit the season, but keep going with what’s worked well.
When you’re considering what to include in your package, remember that set price packages will appeal. Think of the time and context surrounding our situation right now – as guests of a hotel, people will most likely want to minimise the trips they’re taking outside of the hotel and grounds where they can. Including dinner or breakfast with your room is a logical thing to do for already-nervous guests who most likely will want to keep the number of people they come across to a minimum.
You want to provide added value straight off the bat and entice people in, so think of the below package ideas for starters.
Work & Relax Offer
Explore/Rediscover the City
Share Missed Moments
Dog Friendly stays
We’ve said it before… but content on the beauty/activities/surroundings/history/attractions in your area should be prioritised as part of your website right now! As a nation, we’re taking staycations like never before, yet we’re also going through a pandemic. This means we need to be inspired and informed on what we can do. What surrounds your property? What’s actually open? What jam-packed itinerary would you give me for an 8 hour day around your town? If you can, go above and beyond here. As well as including names of local attractions and recommending local restaurants, give a bit more – what insight as a local can you give your guest? If there are adventures to be had, what are the best cycle routes, and where can they get the bikes? Leave no stone unturned for your guests!
Your guests – who are they and what do they want?
Currently across our client properties, we’re noticing two main groups of travellers for the autumn period thus far – over 50s and couples/groups in their 30s. Consider this when you’re looking at your marketing and ad strategy. It’s possible that the over 50s group have waited to go away until the kids were back to school, and groups in their 30s may have spent the summer working, with the idea that they’d get away at this quieter, less hectic period.
Our marketing team are all well versed in helping hotels target whoever they need to reach, and these audiences are no different. For starters, prospecting ads on Google and Facebook are a good way to target newer markets. Facebook lead generation ads are worth considering – for a relatively small budget each month, you can target whoever you need to sign up to your communications through an ad, grow your database, and begin targeting them. If they sign up for your mailing list, maybe start with sending them an offer or a voucher code to kick off the relationship on the right foot.
Want to know more about any of our products? Get in touch!