Can you believe that it’s already the end of June? Time flies when you’re putting in 12-hour days at the office, doesn’t it? Given the timing with which I’m writing today’s article, there’s an elephant in the room besides the impending high tide of summer travel – the rogue wave that is the holiday week comprised of Independence Day and, to a lesser extent, Canada Day.
With the Fourth of July falling on a Saturday this year and the statutory observation on the preceding Friday, it’s a given that many will book off the adjacent Monday or Thursday (or both!) to pad their vacation time. In order words, we are presented with quite a few people who have enough consecutive days off to warrant a proper getaway.
Earlier this month, I discussed Father’s Day and how your activities on that weekend might serve as a litmus test of sorts for the rest of summer insofar as placating dads (and their families) with promotions that directly appeal to their particular sensibilities. Today is slightly different as it pertains to whimsical summer travel with your actions to help sell Independence Day serving as a barometer for every weekend up until Labor Day.
As this upcoming holiday week is a gargantuan leisure travel period, it’s a time when your team is operating on all cylinders and when service flaws inevitably reveal themselves. Thus, measuring your hotel’s performance at this ‘all hands on deck’ juncture will be quite telling about the effective of your operations on any other occasion. As I’ve learned from my past and present dealings, a system or organization is only truly tested when it’s stretched to the limits.
As always, I ask questions with the hope of inspiring you towards some meditative thought process that will eventually elucidate an answer worthy of solving your property’s unique situational woes. So, what gets people excited about summer travel and, more specifically, the Independence Day long weekend? Thinking broadly, what are people looking for in a fanciful summer jaunt? Are there any new 2015 summer trends worth noting? And lastly, what makes for an ‘authentic’ weekend trip around this time of year?
For the aforementioned holiday, top of mind are the dog days triumvirate of extended relaxation time, great barbecue (or other exceptional F&B) and outdoor-dominant entertainment (that is, fireworks, live music, festivals, waterside events and all other alfresco social gatherings). If you have your house in order, I see no reason why you can’t satisfy all three parts of this equation. Again, it must be stated that whatever magic you concoct to lure avid Independence Day travelers will also work for the next eight weekends.
A key phrase to keep in your marketing mind is ‘spur of the moment’. That is, while it’s always great to have guests make their reservations months ahead of time, most of your promotions at this stage of the game will be aimed at the more casual consumers. These are the people who aren’t seeking a vacation outright. But when they come across your hotel advertisement or promotion, you spark an emotion in their heads which, if said aloud, would sound akin to, “YES! That’s exactly what I’m looking for!”
For whimsical travel of this nature, you want to lure customers in with only a single picture or one vivid sentence. Think about showcasing one or two aspects of your property that would help guests check off an item on their bucket lists – amazingly exceptional food, local attractions unique to your region, exploring nature at its fullest and opportunities to engage in incredible sporting activities all come to mind. These are all things that should be highlighted on your website, with the sizzle right on the homepage and persuasive details neatly expounded on specific subpages.
Lastly, on the opposite end of the spectrum from selling exclusivity, you’ll want to also entice potential guests based upon convenience. In short, is it easy for people to get to your property? Are you directing your advertisements at territories where reaching your hotel by car isn’t a prolonged ordeal? Moreover, are you expressing this effortlessness on your website with maps and driving routes to underline your proximity to major cities, nearby airports and popular local attractions? Give this some honest thought as it’s only a quick online update.
With a little push in the ways of exclusivity and convenience, hopefully this July and August will set new records for your hotel. Wishing you the best of luck and have a great summer!
(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in HOTELS Magazine on Tuesday, June 30, 2015)