How to attract guests with the right staycation offer

17 November 2020
A creative and well-crafted offer will attract high paying guests for a staycation. It could take a few tweaks to find the right offer to delight guests and bring in revenue to the hotel. Keep tracking pick-up and be sure to evaluate the performance of each offer.

History repeats itself. Once again, during the pandemic, a staycation has become popular. The word staycation originated from stay and vacation and became familiar after a 2003 article by Terry Massey in The Sun News. Staycation became more widely used during the financial crises in 2008 when many people could not afford a real vacation. The current definition reads “a vacation spent in the home country, at home or nearby.”

The benefits of a staycation

There are many benefits to the guest. Staycations are likely to be less costly than a vacation involving traveling. Lodging costs may be at a local rate, and travel expenses may be minimal. Fees may include transportation for local trips, dining, and local attractions. Staycations are also likely to avoid some of the stress associated with travel, such as jet lag, packing, long drives, or waits at airports.

Staycations may be of economic benefit to many small local companies, who get customers from the area, providing them with business. During the pandemic, tourism bureaus promote staycations for their residents to help replace the tourism dollars lost from a drop in out-of-town visitors. Another advantage of staycations is that staying at home and short-haul travel has less impact on the environment and may reduce carbon emissions.

The reason for a staycation

Having a broad understanding of the reason for the staycation and the group size will make it easier for hotels to create an offer that will attract the right guests.

The main reason for a staycation is to break from your daily routines to relax, get inspiration, or recharge for yourself, your spouse, or the whole family. Use imagination to understand the needs for each occasion and group size thoroughly before crafting an offering.

How many offers

People like to choose, but too many choices will lead to a struggle to make the reservation. Categorize the offers by target group or content, such as family, golf, spa, and romantic weekend. Limit the number of categories to three to five to make it simple for the potential guest. Each type should have three offers with different price points. Keep in mind that rates are valid for specific dates and that you should always give the potential guest some choices every time the guest searches for offers for a particular date.

What to include in a staycation offer

Tailor offers to one target group’s needs at a time. If you hit the bull’s eye with your offer, the guest will likely come to you instead of just any hotel. If you want to target more than one potential guest category, create an additional and different offer.

Here are some ideas about what to include in your offer:

  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Extra in-room amenities, such as champagne, chocolate, and fruit
  • Complimentary minibar
  • Food and beverage discounts or dining credits
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Complimentary dinner
  • Early check-in or late check-out
  • Complimentary parking
  • Complimentary or discounted spa access or treatments
  • Activities (perfect for families)

 

The above ideas seem pretty standardized, so be creative in descriptions and pictures to differentiate from other hotels. Every hotel can make their offers unique with a little bit of creativity.

Restrictions

It is a misconception that restrictions only work during high demand. It is even more important to use the right restrictions to capture the right target group at the lowest possible cost. The best value offers should only be available on the hotel website to minimize commissions and distribution costs. Another often used restriction is that the staycation offer is only available for residents and not international travelers. When crafting the offering, increase the value when the guest stays longer. Use the minimum length of stay (MLOS) restriction for high-value offers. It makes sense to give a bit more if the guest spends more.

Many hotels have eased their cancellation policies during the pandemic to protect their brands and invest in customer trust. A better idea for new reservations is to add cancellation insurance and charge a small fee for this. This practice has been in place and worked well for many years in the charter and airline industry.

Track pick-up and performance

Some offers are more successful than others. The only way to find out is to track the pick-up of each campaign closely. If a rate is not selling as expected, it might need a tweak or two to start to pick-up. Before considering a rate cut, adjust the offer and the restrictions first. A rate cut should always be the last resort, if at all. If a special rate does not sell, the main reason is that there is no demand for that specific offer, and this will not change unless there is a dramatic change in rate. Create another targeted campaign instead.

Conclusion

People want to do something to break the boredom of staying at home during the pandemic. A well-crafted staycation is an excellent way for hotels to attract guests and give them a memorable experience.

Tracking in Demand Calendar

Reservation data is automatically transferred from the hotel PMS to make it easy to follow each campaign’s pick-up. Revenue and room night production from campaigns is instantly available on-screen or in reports in Demand Calendar.