With daylight savings flipping our clocks an hour forward on the 12th and with the sun crossing the equator this past weekend during the March equinox, we are now officially into spring. This stretch of time can be quite variable for the books so it is deserving of particular attention so that you can set a precedent for recurrent stability and healthy occupancy.
While corporate and groups are perennially strong during this time with the zenith of group activity coming only after the schools have resumed the tail end of their semesters, the season can be meddlesome for the leisure front excluding any spring break family or college student getaways. Still, though, there is much that can be done to drum up sales between now and Memorial Day which traditionally marks the beginning of summer and the peak travel period.
First off, there aren’t many ‘rallying points’ during this stretch – that is, landmark holidays by which to anchor a package or promotion. The top three that come to mind are the Easter Weekend (Friday, April 14th to Monday, April 17th), Cinco de Mayo (Friday, Map 5th) and Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 14th). In other words, slim pickings. Taking a glass-half-full approach, however, this dearth of festivities and natural vacationing tentpoles simply means that you have to get creative.
Before listing off some ideas, the preliminary exercise you must do is to figure out who your customers are and what would entice them to splurge on a weekend getaway, stay at your property midweek or at the very least attend an event. In a very general sense, spring marks a renewed sense of adventurism and appreciation for the outdoors, and this is the energy that your marketing must capitalize upon.
Whereas winter represents a dichotomy between brisk activities out in the snow (in the West, Heartland, and Northeast) and relaxing in the warmth of a cozy indoor location, spring can be flexible. It’s a season when certain vigorous outdoor pastimes are ideal – the ones that are hindered by the presence of both the frigid colds and the sweltering summer heat. Without stretching the mind too far, think bike rides, hiking trails, birdwatching or outdoor aerobics classes. Playing upon nature’s reinvigorated growth during these weeks, your hotel might also organize wild berry picking excursions or mycology tours.
These are all great ideas, but they only work for rural resorts. This mindset of renewal, however, can be adapted for an urban hotel or any property under the sun for that matter. Consider hosting classes, be they culinary ones focusing on ingredients that can be grown locally, indoor mind and body workouts like yoga or Pilates, arts and crafts like painting, pottery, flower arrangements or birdhouse making, or garden starting classes. The theme throughout should be one of enriching people’s lives with something inspirational and highly seasonal.
Building off of the cooking class suggestion, food and beverage is a banner for which you undoubtedly have yet to reach your full potential. Great for cementing bonds with regional suppliers, consider hosting a small farmer’s market with under a dozen vendors. Although yours probably won’t offer much in the ways of fresh fruits and vegetables due to logistical concerns, preserves like jams, syrups, baked goods, chocolates, candies or cosmetics. Along these lines, a fantastic nighttime or midday weekend event would be a spring harvest festival with live music, delicious food and fun for the whole family.
The point here is that there are many ways for you to generate a few extra dollars during this steady-but-not-great few weeks of the year. What’s essential is to decide upon one or two that will help your hotel stand apart from the competition and that are unique to your particular location. Don’t overstretch yourself or the offers that you present to your guests. Then, give it all of your attention so that you can implement it quickly without any compromise on quality.
(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in HotelsMag on Tuesday, March 21, 2017)