Holidays are a time when businesses and hospitality providers try to drive big crowds and capture their spending. With the pandemic mostly winding down, more people are venturing out again to start making great memories.
Hospitality marketers need to find ways to capture the pent-up demand of these customers. Milestone Inc. has put together this new list of ideas for hotels to consider and test.
Here are some ideas to seed into your 2023 budget plans.
1) Encourage people to celebrate Thanksgiving with you – Nov 24
For Thanksgiving getting together with family plays a central role in most people’s celebrations. However, many find the cooking and cleaning part of the gathering to be less enjoyable.
You can create Thanksgiving specials to encourage people to step away from their kitchens and instead gather in your hotel. By creating Thanksgiving specials, guests can come and celebrate the holiday without having to worry about doing the prep themselves. This increases the time they have to simply enjoy each other’s company. These types of arrangements can work particularly well for guests that typically have to travel to see family for the holidays. Out-of-town guests can stay in the hotel and keep from overcrowding their relatives’ houses.
The Thanksgiving Day parades are back across the country, and many people may have a new bucket list item to see the Macy’s Parade in New York or the McDonald’s Parade in Chicago.
If they are in your area, there are college and pro football games on Thanksgiving that people may enjoy including as part of their holiday plans.
2) Black Friday and Cyber Monday – November 25 and November 28
Orginally a focus for retailers, now consumers expect all businesses to offer discounts and deals on these quasi-holidays, these homages to capitalism and consumerism. Hotels need to compete with all other businesses for a share of wallet on these days. Hotels should consider room upgrades and book-2-get-1-more-night free promotions to be used during lower occupancy periods.
3) Christmas and New Year’s vacations
After two years of covid restrictions, people are ready to make up for lost vacations. Labor Day weekend travel TSA screening in 2022 were above 2019 totals 8.76M vs 8.62M. October 2022 numbers were just a bit below Octover 2019.
The 2022 winter holiday season is predicted to be very busy with the highest airline prices in the last five years. Since your hotel is likely to be at high occupancy, reduce the rooms available to OTAs and app-based discounters. Instead develop holiday experiences that will allow people to treat their families to three years’ worth of catch-up fun and enjoyment. Promote your local tree and menorah lighting ceremonies, holiday concerts, parades, holiday treats, and holiday meals.
Promote the destination activities and events near your property and work out special access, VIP access, and bulk discounts for your guests. And don’t just bundle and promote for parents and kids, but also create packages for families to bring grandma and grandpa along as well. They want to make up for lost time and holidays they missed during covid also.
4) Enjoying Easter – April 9, 2023
Easter often brings family and friends together with people looking for celebratory meals and opportunities to enjoy the spring weather. You can present your hotel as the perfect place for people traveling to gather together and book a stay in your rooms.
Offering Easter feast packages for brunch, lunch, and dinner can also create the perfect atmosphere for people looking for a place to gather with their loved ones without having to worry about cooking the food personally or the cleanup after. Find the Easter egg hunts or parades in your area and market them to the family and even grandparent demographics.
You can encourage guests staying at your hotel to take full advantage of your facilities, such as booking banquet rooms to plan their perfect Easter festivities with their group.
Creating these types of Easter-centered deals can make your hotel and amenities enjoyable options for those interested in celebrating the holiday.
5) Create a Mother’s Day promotion – May 14, 2023
When Mother’s Day comes around each year, people look for ways to spoil their mothers and make them feel appreciated. Spa days, dinners, and days of relaxation and luxury are high on the list. With a Mother’s Day promotion at the hotel, you can encourage people to treat their mothers to an afternoon of pampering, or they might even book the room for the night and offer their mothers a miniature vacation.
Similarly, adult children who want to travel to visit their mothers for this special day will find deals and discounts welcoming.
6) Celebrate Father’s Day – June 18, 2023
On Father’s Day, people want to find opportunities to make memories with their fathers. Research your local area to see what types of adventure outings are offered in the area and put together packages or promotions featuring these types of adventures. You can create promotions advertising the events you have in your area or even look for ways to offer discount packages. Offering guests a premade itinerary option can help them take the planning out of the process and focus on an enjoyable day with their father.
7) Entice customers with 4th of July Festivities – July 4, 2023
For Independence Day, people enjoy gathering to watch the fireworks and relish outdoor activities. Encourage people to come and visit your hotel by promoting your local lakes and rivers. Learn more about your area’s fireworks display and create packages that will help your guests experience all of the 4th of July festivities at once.
8) Run Halloween promotions – Oct 31
Halloween might not be a holiday that people typically associate with travel and hotels, but there are strategies you can still use to encourage bookings and guests. For example, if you have a dance floor or club, you can host Halloween specials where people can come and celebrate the night of the 31st in costume and then book a room so they do not have to drive home. You can increase the appeal of your event with costume contests, themed meals, and prizes to attract the celebrating adult crowd.
Some top US Halloween destinations include: Salem, MA, Half Moon Bay, CA, Keene, NH, Las Vegas, NV, West Hollywood, CA, and Anoka, MN.
9) Create anniversary getaways – Every week of the year
Every night, there are couples in the country celebrating their anniversary. Even though people have spent the last two years cooped up with their partners, thanks to the pandemic, struggling to stay on top of work from home meetings does not hold a candle to the enjoyment of a relaxing couple’s trip. You can offer anniversary package deals that can help these couples rekindle the magic.
Emphasize the importance of getting away together so that they can do nothing by enjoying each other’s presence. Your anniversary packages can include specials, such as champagne service, room service, dinner reservations, and even tickets to restaurants or events that are often hard to secure in your area. You can take the hard work out of planning the perfect celebration for the couple allowing them to just relax. After the stressful few years people have had, this can become a welcomed reprieve.
10) Celebrate with birthday getaways – All year round
There are 330 million people in the United States, which means that nearly a million people celebrate their birthdays every day. Everyone has their own idea about how they want to celebrate their special day, so you can create packages that speak to a variety of different interests. You can offer birthday adventures at local attractions, such as escape rooms, wine tasting, balloon rides, boats, and jet skis. You can also help people celebrate by helping them book a party bus for themselves and their friends. For those who prefer to stay on-site, you can also offer birthday dinner reservations at your restaurant or an afternoon at your spa.
Try to imagine different ‘bucket list’ items that people often have in your target demographics and what is available in your area. You can work to make your hotel the go-to place to celebrate birthdays with friends.
11) Weddings, honeymoons, and rememberances
While none of these three are holidays, they are significant life events that bring people together in a similar way to holiday, but better than holidays they can occur every day of the year. Hotels should be investing in capturing wedding RFPs as the pent-up demand for weddings floods back into the market in 2022 and 2023. See the newest Milestone research report on wedding RFP data.
Every hotel, even mid-class should offer their best room as the honeymoon suite and should create bundles and offers that could include: drinks, desserts, flowers, room service, in-room massage, musical entertainment, and even services like a photographer or videographer to capture this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Rememberances (funerals) or life celebrations will also have a need every day of the year and hotels can help with event space and room blocks for out-of-town attendees.
Create ancillary revenue by offering AV remote services
And for all of these options, add video connection and monitor options for the people who can’t make it to any of these events, so they can connect with love ones and celebrate remotely.
Update your website for the holidays
No matter what offers you decide to use, here are 9 more great ideas for site hygiene issues you must address before the holidays.
- Speed and Core Vitals – This holiday season, it is more important than ever because Core Vitals will be a ranking factor in 2021
- Google My Business Optimization – Google added several new features, like Google Posts.
- Update your images – It’s easy to get complacent with images because once designed, they look pretty good. Fresh images help differentiate and entice bookings.
- Check and optimize your book direct logic and messaging.
- Test and optimize Google Hotel Ads and Meta ads.
- Update your social media home page banners to keep them fresh and current.
- Create a new video to communicate the post-pandemic experience at your hotel.
- Put time and resources into your social media, especially Instagram and maybe TikTok.
- Remember that Google is the home page of all your home pages and that Local Search provides more than 1/3 of the SEO traffic to location-based businesses.
Keep fighting for share of wallet, tapping the pent-up demand to go out, investing in digital transformation, and combining virtual experiences to capture holiday bookings and growth in 2022.
What are the best holidays for hotel bookings?
Most hotels are busiest in the summer months when kids are off school and the weather is warmest with August the highest, June second, and October third in the pre-covid era. Given that weather is a big driver, Milestone recommends the holiday promotions above to fill rooms with celebrators all year round.
How should I promote my hotel’s holiday offers?
A multi-channel campaign will be best to promote your holiday offers, starting with the web page, PWA alerts, emailing your existing contact database, paid search, display, mobile ads, and display retargeting. You should also promote your bundles on Google Posts from your GMB account.
How can I increase hotel occupancy without discounting?
If you bundle and increase share of wallet, you can capture bookings without overly relying on discounting the room rate. Look for ways to bundle higher-margin products and services and secure fees for activities and excursions. Doing this will require some coordination with your suppliers and vendors and better organization of your front desk and phone booking agents. Leverage your marketing agency by planning well in advance of the holiday dates.
How can I learn the birthdays of my hotel customer contacts?
You can append date of birth to your existing contact database by purchasing through a data-append service. This will also give you age demographic information that will help you target them as more likely to be single-age, family age, or empty-nest age.