The Best Staycation Marketing Ideas for Your Hotel
- Staycations are local holidays, where guests stay within travelling distance of their homes and enjoy local activities and facilities.
- Due to COVID-19, there has been a resurgence in the number of people looking to enjoy a Staycation in 2020.
- Hotels can attract Staycation guests by promoting their facilities, restaurants, and unique experiences.
- With the current climate of social distancing and awareness of health and safety, hotels should make it very clear what they’re doing to keep their visitors and guests safe.
- To market to Staycationers you need to know who your core customer base is and what will appeal to them.
- By creating flexible offers and package deals, hotels can also increase their room bookings by upselling to Staycationers who want to extend their trip for an over-night stay or weekend break.
- Having a strategic marketing plan designed to attract day visitors as well as overnight stays can increase your bottom line.
What is a Staycation?
A Staycation is a holiday where the traveller remains in their home country, rather than going abroad. Generally, it involves day trips, local activities and sees the guest stay within travelling distance of their own home so they don’t need an overnight stay.
The concept first gained popularity in the US during the 2007-2010 financial crisis and was taken up in the UK in 2009 as the strength of the pound dropped and foreign travel became more expensive. With the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Staycations are seeing a rise in popularity again as more people are looking to make use of domestic travel for their holidays.
For hotels, the additional income that Staycations can provide, and the adaptability to suit current social distancing guidelines and reduce dependency on seasonal travel, makes these visitors a valuable market to obtain.
“Britons are looking more towards the UK for their 2020 travel plans and are getting increasingly confident about booking their trip.”
Matt Foxx, Co-Founder & CEO Rest Easy Group
So where do you get started with your staycation marketing ideas, and how do you attract these guests to your hotel?
Why Are Staycations Becoming More and More Popular?
There are a number of reasons why Staycations are seeing a resurgence in popularity. For starters, with the impact of the Coronavirus still being felt globally, and many countries still restricting international travel, people looking to vacation are not having an easy time accessing foreign countries.
The very real threat of COVID-19 and the health impacts of the virus are also a huge concern for many people, and even with new, stricter hygiene and cleanliness protocols in place, many are still nervous about travelling and interacting with people outside of their own households or communities.
There is also the matter of finance. With so many people unable to work and having to support themselves and/or their families on Government funding, spending power is considerably lower than before, leaving many holiday packages to be unaffordable.
77% of people are more likely to book a UK break following the pandemic, and a further 19% said that even if they went on an international holiday, a staycation would likely be on the cards too.
UK Search Trends for Staycation
Which Locations are Drawing the Most Staycations?
The UK is a diverse country, with vastly different environments to enjoy within a relatively short distance. Whether people are looking for short city breaks or time in the countryside, there are plenty of beautiful, interesting and unique places to choose from.
Some of the top locations where people are choosing to spend their Staycations are:
- Lake District
- North Wales
- Scottish Highlands
- Norfolk Broads
- Isle of Wight
Staycations with Style: 5 of the Most Interesting Places to Stay
Not every hotel operates from a large premise, and some of the more unusual venues are attracting customers because they’re so different.
The Signal Box, Norfolk
This unique holiday home is situated in Norfolk and is a converted Signal Box that was moved to its present location in 2000. Near the village of Melton Constable, local specialities include a renowned butcher’s shop with award-winning sausages and incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
Harpy Houseboat, London
Originally an Edwardian Customs & Excise pontoon office, built in 1904, the Harpy Houseboat has luxury accommodation, 1920’s oak furniture, Wi-Fi, mains water, electricity and gas – as well as landline telephones in each room. Offering an incredible view of Tower Bridge and the Shard from the water, this location offers four bedrooms to travellers.
The Skyscraper, Suffolk
Despite the image given by its name, the Skyscraper is not a cold, glassy structure in the middle of a city. Situated in Woolverstone, it can hold 18 guests in its 7-storey structure and features a roof garden that stands 80ft off the ground. Guests can also enjoy a theatre-style cinema, bike rides, wildlife spotting and beautiful walks along the banks of the nearby River Orwell.
The Red Kite Conkers, Powys
One of the more interesting architectural designs, the Conkers accommodate two people in off-grid copper-coloured spheres and are billed as the latest in sustainable living. With its own private woodland and surrounding hills to explore, the venue also offers a terrace area, fire pit and outdoor kitchen. A highlight is the clever heating system which allows this venue to be a year-round destination.
The Red Rescue Retreat Fire Truck, Lake District
Situated in the Lake District National Park, this entertaining location offers fire engine beds, a firemanâ€™s pole and the opportunity for kids to dress up as firefighters and play with the old hose. Nearby attractions continue the quirky fun with Puzzling Place (a unique exhibition based on optical illusion) and the Derwent Pencil Museum, which boasts the Worldâ€™s Largest Pencil.
How Do You Actually Promote a Staycation Experience?
Promoting a Staycation is quite different from ‘normal’ hotel marketing, as you’re not trying to get your guests to book a bed and stay the night, these guests are looking for places to visit, things to do, and great food to make their short holiday memorable.
The focus of these campaigns rests almost entirely on the services, amenities, and local opportunities that you offer your guests. From swimming pools and spa services to restaurants or afternoon tea, your marketing needs to showcase what you offer outside of comfy beds.
Your promotion needs to take into consideration:
- Your Hotel and the Services it Provides
- Local Tourist Attractions
- Local Areas of Interest
- Food and Beverage Offerings in the Local Area
- Public Transport
- Location Access
- Targeted Group Activity (such as Family Friendly, For Couples, Individuals, etc)
It is essential that you have a deep understanding of your target demographic, and that you’re familiar with what they’re interested in, what they’re going to be looking for, and how well you can cater to their needs so you can highlight the right areas of your business to attract their attention and make them want to spend their time and money with you.
How to Market Your Staycation to Stand Out from the Crowd
- Offer Events and Opportunities
Evaluate your hotel and the services you currently offer, then decide what would be appropriate for someone on a day trip. This could range from opening up your restaurant for a special lunch, issuing day passes for spa or health facilities, holding special events (such as book readings, concerts, talks, etc) in larger rooms or conference halls, to opening up private gardens for guided tours and art exhibitions. Social Distancing practices are extremely important when you’re planning what parts of your venue to open, and it’s essential that you’re guests are aware of the precautions you’re taking to protect them, and what will be expected of them, for example – if you’re requiring face masks to be worn when entering and exiting your restaurant. The types of experience you offer will largely be determined by the facilities you have available and the procedures you’ve put in place to run them safely. For example hotels with large grounds or open-air spaces, a focus on picnic lunches or afternoon tea could be attractive and easier to manage correct social distancing than having the meals indoors.
- Provide a Personalised Experience with Perks
Give your guests something really special to look forward to by creating a bespoke Staycation package. This could involve complimentary drinks at the bar, an upgrade to the dinner menu, a free dessert, or even services outside of your hotel.
When promoting your packages, you should consider setting up a newsletter for potential Staycationers to sign up to. If you’re planning on offering a variety of events or have facilities which are aimed at specific demographics (such as families, etc) you should create targeted newsletters that focus on those particular areas – then when customers sign up, they can choose what information is relevant to them, and you can send them specific details that will resonate with them.
- Create Package Deals
This requires knowing who your customers are, what they want from you, and what else they’re interested in. But once you have this information, you can create package deals that remove the stress of booking across multiple platforms, and essentially create a mini-break for your guests.
Making connections with your local community to support each other benefits your business, their business and your guest. You might think about approaching a local taxi firm and making a partnership deal where you recommend their services to customers, and your customers get a discount.
Offering different services, amenities and local attractions gives your guests the ability to choose what is right for them, and it gives you the flexibility to promote different elements of your business – allowing you to prioritise which areas get extra attention and bookings, for example: if you’re reopening your onsite restaurant for a limited number of customers, you’ll want to make sure you don’t overbook. By targeting specific demographics, you can control the numbers as well as the types of dishes you offer to meet their needs.
- Offer a Flexible Alternative
Whilst most of the Staycation guests will be done in a day and gone, there is still an opportunity to broaden your reach and obtain overnight guests as well.By combining Staycation marketing and offers with short-term promotions such as ‘weekend get-aways’ you can upsell to your Staycation audience in a way that increases your bookings and bottom line. Marketing your venue and your local area as having so much to do, that you’ll need more than a day, could be one way of attracting this audience.
5 Tips You Need to Know for Staycation Marketing
- Evaluate your target audience before you start is essential – if you don’t know who you’re aiming at, you’re wasting your budget.
- Promote the fact that you’re working with local businesses or showcasing local attractions. This not only shows a commitment to supporting the local community, but it informs your potential guests that the experience they get with you is unique.
- Clearly display your health and social distancing guidelines on your website and social media pages to put your customers at ease, prove your commitment to their safety, and reduce the number of customer service enquiries you’ll get about these issues
- Be prepared with your Customer Service. When looking for day trips and experiences, Staycationers aren’t bound by booking dates and room availability. If you don’t respond to them quickly and with the information they need, they’re likely to move on to their next option.
- Make use of different social media channels. Although you can easily cross-post from Instagram to Facebook, the channels are often used by people for different reasons, and they certainly have different best practices for image sizes, content and hashtag usage.
Take the time to evaluate your social strategy and make sure the most appropriate posts are going in the right places.
For example: Post gorgeous images to Instagram, updates and behind the scenes to Facebook, and video content to YouTube.
Even with lockdown lifting, and a new normal slowly beginning to emerge, it’s going to be awhile before business is back up and running properly. Making the most of the latest trends and appreciating the concerns of potential customers is now more important than ever.
If you’d like to discuss your marketing strategies or how your brand is doing online, contact us today and speak with one of our experts.