As we know, this pandemic has had major impacts on our business over the last several months.
NB: This is an article from Travel Media Group
The most significant was the effect on mid-week occupancy, especially during the fall and winter months when most leisure travel has slowed. So let’s see how the mid-week traveler has evolved throughout this pandemic:
- Prior to COVID-19, hotels relied heavily on corporate travel to fill their rooms from Tuesday to Friday. Now, corporate travel has all but disappeared. What we are starting to see instead are remote workers looking for a place to set up an office outside their home and essential workers who have been traveling throughout the entirety of this crisis.
- Prior to COVID-19, mid-week stays typically meant mid-week prices, which were lower than Friday and weekend rates. Now, travelers care less about finding a deal and more about finding time to escape and take unused 2020 vacation time. They are also looking for a place that is safe – a weekday stay might be more appealing to travelers looking to avoid the bigger crowds of the weekend.
- Prior to COVID-19, we might have seen a lot of weekday regulars, traveling for work, events, etc. Today, you could be seeing brand new faces entering your hotel lobbies during the week, such as local staycationers that have never considered staying at your hotel before and are too nervous to venture lengthy distances.
- Prior to COVID-19, weekday forecasting was exponentially easier, with trips, events, and dates planned and booked far in advance. Today, weekday travel is more spontaneous, with booking decisions made closer to the guest’s arrival date due to uncertainty about the future. You could also see more road trippers that feel more comfortable driving to their destination, rather than taking a plane.
Hotels that understand the evolution of the post-COVID weekday traveler really have a unique opportunity to strategically target this segment and increase their occupancy.
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Comfort Level Spectrum
First, we have to identify a critical part of a traveler’s mindset right now: comfort level. For some, travel is necessary. Whether it’s traveling for their job or visiting a sick loved one, this mid-week traveler might not want to be traveling right now but has to. Others are traveling because they want to. These mid-week travelers might have extra vacation time to kill or just want to get out of their house. They’re both willing to travel and feel comfortable doing so. Hoteliers need to be extremely versatile and flexible at this time or risk alienating and missing out on midweek travelers at different points in the spectrum.
Social Media – Want To
Keeping the traveler comfort level spectrum in mind, let’s look at a couple of social post examples that would attract travelers that are willing and wanting to travel right now. Guests on this side of the spectrum are going to care more about things like:
- Hotel Amenities: Notice how the post about the hotel pool includes no guests. This is important since travelers are still prioritizing health and hygiene.
- Things To Do: People that are comfortable traveling now just don’t want to sit in their rooms as they have been doing for the past 6 months: they want activities to do and attractions to visit. Make sure you are including fun things to do in your area for your guests.
- Deals and Specials: Guests that are comfortable traveling right now are looking at this time as a way to get an awesome deal on a mid-week vacation, where there might not be as many people traveling. Create posts that promote incentive pricing for travelers looking to take advantage of this less crowded time.
Social Media – In the Middle
Now let’s look at posts that would appeal to travelers in the middle of the comfort level spectrum. These are guests that feel somewhat comfortable about traveling but aren’t going out of their way to book a vacation like the segment we just talked about. This type of traveler is going to care more about:
- Guest Rooms: Since they might not be spending as much time out or visiting local attractions, a post featuring a clean, spacious room would be more appealing.
- Travel Tips: Remember these guests are only somewhat comfortable with the travel experience right now. Why not post an article with travel tips, giving your guest peace of mind about coming to visit your hotel?
- Hotel Features: Posts about your hotel features, like Wi-Fi or food and beverage options, will help these travelers feel confident in booking at your hotel vs. a competitor.
Social Media – Need To
Finally, we have travelers that don’t want to be traveling right now but need to. These travelers aren’t going to be influenced by deals and specials like those on the other end of the spectrum: they are solely focused on why they need to be there and their own safety. That’s why these guests will care more about:
- Online Reviews: Posting an online review can really have an impact on these guests, who are being extremely cautious and strategic with their booking decisions. A positive review could be the thing that puts them at ease about choosing your hotel over another.
- Location: These guests are traveling for a reason and if your property happens to be in close proximity to that reason it puts you at a huge advantage over your competition. Make sure you are marketing your property’s location to its fullest potential.
- Safety/Health Measures: All travelers – no matter what end of the spectrum – will appreciate what you are doing as a business to keep your guests safe, but especially those that have to travel.
It’s going to be the hotels that understand the evolution and comfort levels of the weekday traveler that will win their booking.