You’re probably already familiar with term ‘staycation’ – a vacation where you don’t travel far, but stay in your local environment. During the Pandemic, this travel trend has truly gained foothold amongst travellers, as we want to feel safe and secure yet still need new experiences. I personally love the idea of paying more attention to the environments in which we live – and this type of travel form holds massive potential for hoteliers as well.
So how do you reap these benefits? And how can you, as a hotel, boost your business by preparing for staycation’ers? Continue reading to get the answers.
Where does the word ‘staycation’ come from – and what are the benefits of taking one?
Before we dive in, let’s look at the origin of the term ‘staycation’ – cause it definitely isn’t a new invention. It was originally created by the Canadian comedian Brent Butt in 2005 who tapped into the concept of ‘staying at home while on vacation’. Maybe he meant it in the literal sense – to actually stay at home – but over the years (and especially during the Pandemic), a staycation has become more about taking a holiday in a nearby destination. In other words, it doesn’t involve much travel. There are several benefits of choosing a staycation over a far-away holiday: it’s safe (in the light of the Pandemic), it’s relatively cheap, and it’s good for the environment. In other words: it’s a win-win.
Why should hotels buy into it?
The travel industry will recover, but it’ll take time, as travellers now have a profound need to feel safe and in good hands when venturing out. That’s why many of them are choosing to embark on a staycation. Hence, focusing on domestic travellers will definitely be key to recovery for most hotels. Or put in another way; if you’re running a hotel, you simply can’t afford not to prepare for staycation’ers. Luckily, it’s not too late and there are several ways to do it.
“Tourism recovery typically begins locally. Travelers tend to first venture out closer to home, and visit their local eateries, stay local for a weekend getaway or travel domestically before a robust demand for international travel returns.”Elizabeth Monahan, spokesperson for Tripadvisor.com
1. Evaluate your guest persona
Needless to say, a hotel must know its target audience – or its typical guest persona – in order to bring value and sell more rooms. Perhaps you already know your target audience very well or perhaps you have no clue who they are. No matter what, now is the time to evaluate in order to figure out your market tactics and get ahead of your competition. While you’re at it, take a look at the hotels in your area – what are they doing to attract more local guests? And more importantly, what can you do different? What can you offer that they don’t?
2. Highlight your destination and promote local tourism
Get to know your local environment as good as you can, and even better; team up with them! By building local partnerships, you’ll be sure to attract a broader segment, and in the process, you’re making new connections. Supporting your local community is a thing these days, and luckily, it’s one of the easiest things for you to do! Here are a few ideas:
- Partner up with the local tourism board to offer special deals, tours or workshops.
- Collaborate with local shops and tour guides to provide your guests with new and exciting experiences while staying at your hotel.
- Partner up with a car rental agency to secure a good deal for your guests.
- If you have a restaurant, get your produce from local farmers and communicate it through your website and social media channels.
- Create a flyer (or an online magazine) telling the story of your hotel and/or local environment. Or perhaps you can install a QR-code which guests can click on to get the full story?
The sky is the limit here. Be creative.
3. Leverage social media
I bet you’re already on there, but how’s it working for you? Evaluate your social media activities (read my article on how to make an audit of your Instagram profile here), and see where you can do better.
When tapping into a new segment of travellers – the staycation’ers – being visible on social media is crucial. More than that, you must be consistent. One post a week won’t do much good.
Apart from regular posts on Instagram and Facebook, try paid ads as well. It’s usually the combination of high quality content you put out (also called ‘owned content) and paid content that sets the deal. Especially because you can target a specific audience when boosting ads (e.g. couples between 35-55 years old in your area).
Speaking of social media; I’d recommend you to consider having one or two local influencers staying with you as that can be a great way to get more bookings as well. In my opinion, micro-influencers (5.-25.000 followers) work much better these days, as they’re usually more connected to their audiences.
4. Create a comfortable office space
Tap into a growing segment: the work-from-home segment! As wonderful it can be to work from the comfort of your own home, there will be days where you simply need an escape – this is where your hotel comes into the picture. Whether or not you’re already catering to business travellers, setting up a comfortable office environment for your guests shouldn’t be too much of a hazzle. Every room should obviously have its own desk and comfortable chair, and you’d need to provide fast WiFi and perhaps a coffee machine. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
Provide a daily office space rate and create a special staycation package for the business travellers in your local area.
Wondering how to plan your next staycation? Read my post “How to Plan the Perfect Staycation”.