Staycations are one of the hottest travel trends of 2020. Even with restrictions easing, many travellers are choosing to avoid air travel and opt for travel by car or train. Some of these travellers may have never considered booking a staycation before and will be looking for an experience that is just as memorable as the travel they may be accustomed too. Research done by Think With Google found that 25% to 35% of travellers’ first post-lockdown trips will be staycations or driving trips to nearby destinations. Creating a strong offer for a staycation campaign is important. Without being influenced by plane ticket deals, the type of accommodation offers available is an even bigger factor in decision making. A recent report from 80 DAYS shows that there is a high level of interest in travel in September and October 2020. Start creating your staycation offers now to make the most of this demand. It’s easy to create your own staycation packages. You can use our tips to get started:
Create long-stay offers with competitive rates
This year many will not be flying abroad to their favourite resorts due to fears around travel, but the desire for a week-long vacation is still there. For hotels and resorts with activity and dining options, sell multi-night staycation packages. To help incentivise visitors to buy these rates, apply a length of stay discount. For example, book a 7-night all-inclusive stay package and save 15% when you book direct.
Encourage F&B revenue
Hotels that have F&B facilities available on-site have an advantage when creating staycation offers. Some hotels are lowering room rates to bring visitors to their hotel and once they have arrived, visitors are still spending on food & beverage at normal rates. Offering an extra night with a compelling discount to a visitor (shown only after selecting dates in the booking engine) can still be revenue positive if you also can encourage F&B spending. A good strategy is to offer welcome drinks to visitors checking in as a direct reward. If served in the restaurant, it can prompt the visitor to buy a lunch meal, dinner or dessert.
Remember urgency and scarcity
We’re all familiar with the classic demand messaging that is often used on e-commerce sites to encourage purchases. For the time being, showing messages like ‘32 people viewing our website right now’ has limited impact. People know that hotels are not full. However, scarcity and urgency are still powerful conversion drivers for hotels.
When presenting your offer, simply communicate two important facts:
- This is a once-in-a-lifetime offer. People know that rates are cheaper now— this is their chance to get a great deal that they will never see again
- The offer won’t last forever. Great offers that seem too good to be true won’t last, and the visitor understands this. Setting an end date or using a countdown timer can communicate this clearly.
Draw out the unique benefit for the customer
According to famous ad-man Ogilvy, we shouldn’t let a USP (unique selling proposition) do the talking, but instead, explain what it means for the visitor. Remembering that experiences will be top-of-mind for staycation guests, this is an important tactic to incorporate into your offer wording. For example:
- A free late check-out means no stressful departures from hotels, more time in bed, and more time for adventures.
- Free parking means the convenience to drive directly to the hotel, avoid crowded public transport, and to be able to explore a local area freely.
Add in low-cost extras
Most hotels offer room upgrades to their guests for free when possible, or give leniency for late checkout or early check-in. With low occupancy rates, you can capitalise on this as part of your packaged offer. If you are a lucky hotel with high Saturday occupancy, then only target visitors searching for non-Saturdays with your offer.
In theory, things like parking or bike hire should be considered. Although watch out for opportunity costs—the cost of giving away something that someone would have paid for. You can calculate opportunity costs by looking at how many guests buy these extras normally. For example, if bikes are always all booked but parking is only booked about 20% of the time, offer the parking as your added extra rather than the bikes where you can continue to generate revenue.
Don’t disincentivize your guests to book
The danger of packages that are for 1 night only is that you encourage visitors to book 1 night only. Your offer should be persuading visitors in the other direction—to add more nights. For example, book a 3-night weekend stay and save 50% on the third night.
Keep your offers realistic though. If you offer a package for a 1-night stay with an 11-course dinner, then don’t expect people to book 3 nights worth of 11-course dinners. Instead offer a 3-night stay package with just one 11-course dinner.
No, that’s not a typo! You don’t need to limit yourself to one staycation offer. For example:
- A short stay and long stay offer
- An offer with free extras and a package with discounted extras (meals, spa treatments etc.)
- An offer for friends and another for families.
At the same time, avoid confusing guests with too many choices. Increase the prominence of your most compelling offer and use personalised targeting based on length of stay, geography and segment to communicate other offers. Keep in mind how your visitors will perceive these offers—a free breakfast feels less “free” when you have to choose between it and another 20% discount offer.
Set up your staycation offer
Building your own staycation offer doesn’t need to be challenging. Think about the resources that you already have available to you at your hotel, plus, what makes your hotel stand out from your competitors? Combining these will help you to create an offer that’s not only appealing but is also manageable to execute for your team.
For more information about creating staycation offers or for help setting up your own staycation campaign, contact us here.