Whatever your thoughts on Valentine's Day, it continues to be a significant spending holiday, and as a hotelier, it's very much worth your while to carefully craft a campaign around the occasion.
A recent survey found that spending ahead of Valentine’s Day soared by more than 450% in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
The spending power is matched fairly evenly across the country, new analysis from Bank of Ireland shows, with huge spikes seen on hotel stays, spa breaks, grooming and jewellery.
The same study showed spending on hotels soared by 1,001%, and that the 36-45 age group saw a 393% increase in spending compared to the same period in 2021. They were also the keenest to get away, with their hotel spend going up 966%.
Another key point to keep in mind is the well noted extra importance placed on experiences over 'things'. Booking a getaway is investing in time together - which means a lot more than a bracelet in the era we're living in.
Attracting guests towards your offer will take a smart and solid strategy, and plenty of thoughtful creativity. It's the little extras that will catapult you onto another level and help guarantee more bookings.
Here are five easy steps to follow for a strong and successful Valentine's campaign.
1. Prep your mailing lists
Email is your most powerful tool when it comes to winning repeat business, with its personal nature and typically high conversion rates.
For those hotels with much larger databases, you might consider segmenting your list into two main categories:
- People who stayed with you on Valentine’s Day last year
- People who are interested in your brand
Those who stayed with you on Valentine’s day last year are your most valuable leads – the warm memories of the guest’s last stay will trigger them to book again this year. You will need to entice them to come back with a better deal or adding something extra to the package.
2. Create tempting offers
Now is your chance to offer discounts and add value with complimentary add-ons to steal the hearts of the consumer.
For those who have already booked their stay for Valentine’s Day, you can offer them the opportunity to upgrade their room-type or plan aspects of their stay in advance, such as dinner for two, or cocktails in the bar.
Remember how important food is in the Valentine's equation - a romantic meal is usually at the heart of a couple's celebration, so make your menus special.
Keep your differentiating points in mind too. How can you use your location, surrounding area, facilities to your advantage while creating a Valentine's-themed offer? Be mindful with your language and use all the tools you can to entice.
Don't forget the singletons! You don't need to isolate people who are not part of a couple.
Think outside the box - to entice and include single travellers, you could:
- Host a speed dating night
- Offer or organise a walk via a local guide
- Host a movie night
3. Add a sprinkle of romance
It might seem a little cliché, but why not go all in? It's a novelty, and most people will appreciate a little 'romance' in the form of:
- Heart-shaped food
- Special, decadent dinner menus
- A fresh flower service
- Secret proposal service
- Rose petals
- Late check-out
- Candlelit dinner
- Couples spa treatments
- Wine or champagne
- Personalised playlists
4. Let people know
We're coming up close to the date now - send an email either this week or early next week to remind those who often forget these special dates that it’s fast approaching.
- Run Facebook Ads for your target market with emotive imagery.
- Bid for AdWords terms like “valentine’s day hotel stay with dinner” and “valentines day hotel deals”
5. Create an impact online
Finally, do something out of the ordinary to spark a conversation online during the Valentine’s Day period. This will increase your reach and your brand awareness - not necessarily just for Valentine’s Day, but for all year round.
For example, a U.S. fast-food chain gave out free food on Valentine’s Day to customers who brought a photograph of their ex and shredded it in the restaurant. What a way to turn things around!