More important to the question ‘do packages and promotions sell during a pandemic’ is ‘should we even be creating and offering opportunities to travel when people are being encouraged to stay home?’
The message from the CDC to the general public is to ‘stay home’. Yet, the hospitality industry is trying to reinvent itself and find ways to lure the traveling public to our respective facilities. So what is the ethical and financially responsible thing to do?
- Do we put our best, clean and sanitary foot forward and let the customer decide if they want to take a risk and travel? Or,
- Do we just keep sending messages to our customers that we are here when they are ready to travel?
Personally, I think it is a combination of both strategies.
So what is the strategy?
Change of Scenery Package:
Your guests want to keep their social distance, yet they need an outlet for their Covid-fatigue. Why not travel to a nearby city or a hotel around the corner just for the fun of it? Not gathering with family and friends doesn’t mean you can’t travel – it just means you need to be responsible and say within your family bubble.
- Promote your hotel’s and brand’s coronavirus protocols and let guests know that they can get out of the house safely. Invite couples to spend a night or a weekend ‘alone together’ or families to ‘get out together’ at the hotel.
- Tout what amenities you are offering. Is your pool open? Do you have a fire pit? What other types of things can they enjoy at the hotel that might be different from at home?
- Package your guest room with breakfast in bed, in room movies, bags or popcorn, cookies and cocoa, or other comfort, slumber-party foods/activities.
- Encourage guests to take a drive and explore all that Mother Nature has to offer in your area. Create a map that tours the top most photographed amenities in the area.
- Encourage guests to top off the night with dinner delivered! You can partner with local delivery services or restaurants that are open and offer a few opportunities from a casual pizza party to a gourmet dinner.
Holidays Away From Home Package:
Encourage guests to make a new traditions and opportunities ‘to do, see and taste” the holidays. Instead of going to Grandma’s house for the holiday, choose to go ‘over the river and through the woods’ to a nearby city or neighborhood and celebrate with style!
- Offer small, decorated Christmas trees to be placed in guest rooms.
- Decorate rooms with twinkle lights or flameless candle lights placed in guest rooms.
- Surprise the family with a Zoom visit from Santa for the kids letting the kids know that he will find them on Christmas morning no matter where they are celebrating.
- Suggest an in room Christmas breakfast.
- Suggest an in room Christmas dinner.
- Offer a Cookies/Cocoa basket with gourmet chocolate and marshmallows and/or spirits. Look for deals on keepsake mugs and baskets.
- Offer cozy, matching PJs, robes, slippers, throws, pillows, and other cuddle products to be placed in the room. Wrap them up and put them under the in-room tree.
- Hot toddies, mini-bar bouquets, and champagne splits are nice additions for clients who are of age.
- Indulge guests by suggesting couples massages or facials at local, nearby spas or in room. Create a relaxing retreat from the holiday hubbub.
- Suggest adding a Night Before Christmas books to be read in the guest room on Christmas Eve.
- Don’t forget Fido. If your hotel is pet friendly, let guests know they can bring their furry friends!
Yes, creativity takes time and might take some investment. Let your fingers do the shopping and look on line for deals. The biggest hurdles are to think in advance, plan, and then get the word out. If you don’t market your ideas then no one will know about them and no one can buy them!
- If you normally decorate your hotel for the holidays, order 2-3 mini trees for the lobby. If you sell the package, relocate them to guest rooms for the night!
- You might just have a Santa costume tucked in storage. Or maybe one of our associates has one at home. Recruit a willing associate to host a Zoom call for guests.
- Partner with a local restaurant(s) and market their offerings for breakfast baskets or dinner deliveries.
- Shop around for little “extras” that can be upsold as keepsakes. (One of my favorite cataloges is The Lakeside Collection.).
- Visit big box craft stores such as At Home or other local stores and stock up on decor.
- Set up craft or wrapping stations in the lobby for guests.
- Buy a few Gingerbread house kits. I recently saw one in my local grocery store that had EVERYTHING included and it was only $7.99.
None of the above suggestions are meant to be FREE. These should all be upsell ideas that you promote to your guests through salesmanship and social media. Start small and as you approach each upcoming holiday, get more adventurous. If you feel you can’t get anything ready for the December holidays, then start thinking now about Valentine’s Day.
What are you going to do to drive business to your hotel this holiday season?
Happy Thinking Outside The Beautifully Wrapped Box!