The holidays are coming! While travel is not yet at near-normal levels, there are many reasons and occasions people will choose to stay at hotels throughout the winter season, from visiting loved ones and wanting a change in scenery to celebrating traditions and creating new ones.
NB: This is an article from WebRezPro
Now is the time to consider and amplify all the merry-and-bright offerings your hotel can provide to bring a special twinkle to this time of year. Fortunately, making magic happen may not be as hard as you think; keep reading for ideas on how to generate demand and increase your bookings for Christmastime and all winter long.
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Help Guests Rest Assured
First and foremost, assure your guests that you are following all safety regulations for a healthy hotel stay. Remember, guests’ hotel expectations have changed due to the pandemic and it’s important you uphold them for visitor satisfaction and positive reviews. Use social media, email marketing, DMOs, and your website to put visitors at ease as well as to provide that human touch in a touch-free world. Positively communicating the ways your property is reducing physical contact and enhancing safety (for example, self-check-ins, opt-in housekeeping, mobile messaging, smart room amenities, etc.) removes a big fear barrier for guests and gets them one step closer to enjoying a stay at your hotel.
Flexible Booking Options
>>Cancellation Policies: Another way to put guests at ease is to implement flexible cancelation policies, if you haven’t already, and make this information readily available on your website. Guests may need to cancel travel plans for many reasons such as illness, changing regulations, and contact tracing. Help your guests make plans by letting them know they have an ‘out’ for their vacation if their circumstances change at short notice.
>>Encourage Multi-Day Stays with Value Adds: Does your hotel require a minimum length of stay? Consider dropping this if you’re having difficulties filling up rooms, and instead incentivize guests to book for longer with discounted nights for multi-day stays or value-added packages.
Create a Winter Wonderland
Capture the spirit of the season with décor, inside and outside of your hotel. It’s not really enough to put a Christmas tree in your lobby, although that’s a great start. Think about your decorations as a marketing initiative that will bring social media eyes to your hotel when people share pics from your property.
Make your décor so lovely that your hotel is a talking point and a destination in its own right! And if you get creative, you can save on expenses while providing a community activity. Use your property for:
- A Christmas tree decorating competition in your hotel lobby or outside property (entrants supply their own decor).
- Gingerbread House competition: finished pieces can be displayed in a meeting room or your lobby.
- Create an outdoor winter wonderland with trees (potted trees work great if you don’t have a forest on your doorstep), lights, inflatables, and the like for visitors to meander through while enjoying a hot drink.
- Invite a local volunteer choir to come sing (outside) as part of another event or on their own. Maybe a caroling competition could be fun?
- A Christmas Grotto and Santa Village will bring families to visit in droves. Adopt a creative way for kids to talk to Santa in a socially distanced way that’s also a lot of fun, such as a sanitized walkie-talkie or simply from a safe distance over an ice wall.
- Incorporate fire bowls and camp chairs for small groups for roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate.
For these initiatives, reassure your visitors that protocols are in place as outlined by local regulations (such as masks and capacity limitations). Booking time slots for visits can help manage numbers. If made available to the public, consider charging a nominal entry/participation fee while making it free for guests as a value add.
Since this is a marketing opportunity, be sure to incorporate a hashtag and promote the activity on your social media channels.