In the hotel industry, we are always thanking and we are always giving…. especially in November and December. Unless you are a winter destination or resort, this is the time of the year when business drops off a cliff and we scurry to scare up anything we can to help our occupancy, ADR, RevPar.
It is a known fact that if road warriors are traveling over the holidays it is because they must. We thought Sundays and Thursdays were hard to fill in season, but now that it is off season it’s nearly impossible to push business onto these two days – we are too busy trying to fill mid- and weekend business. Taking the time to especially thank these loyal customers is paramount to our success during this season.
Weather conditions are precarious. No one wants to be stranded in an airport overnight or longer. So, in essence, we are all looking the perfect, just far-enough-away business clients! We must prepare now giving guests an opportunity to buy our product later.
So What Do We Do?
Every hotel in your comp set is fighting for a piece of the transient pie. Share shifting clients from hotel to hotel is typically all about the almighty dollar and companies just have to sit back and wait for the lowest bidder.
Sales calls are replaced by marketing and social media, and revenue calls are focused on lowering the rate without giving away the house.
Owners and management company leadership ask the same questions over and over again – what are we doing to find business?
So What Do We Do About It Without Giving Away The House?
First of all, we can’t just fade into the wallpaper. We must stand out from the crowd and keep a presence in the market! Just because it’s slow season doesn’t mean sales calls, social media, advertising, and marketing should come to a screeching halt. We must adjust our course, and we must do it with purpose.
So let’s talk a little about the challenges/benefits of packaging and partnering:
- Packages don’t sell. They are a waste of time.
- There is nothing to package. We are in a nondescript and boring location.
- It’s impossible to partner with local businesses.
- There are no unique ways of marketing packages for my location.
Point #1 – You already have a Romance Package, a Beach Package, and a Holiday Package on your website and no one ever books a package. You only developed them for SEO purposes and to show versatility giving customers another reason to look at your hotel. Packages are a pain because someone has to get all the stuff promised in the package and deliver the message that we are so happy you found us.
Are they a waste of time? Have you put the time and effort into developing a unique package rather than the same ole, same ole package sold by every other hotel in the universe? Read on.
Point #2 – Every location has some redeeming quality. Even the World’s Largest Ball of Twine attraction in Lake Nebagamon, WI appeals to a genre of a customer. Link up with local attractions and give visitor’s to the “twine” a reason to stay the night at your hotel. It might be the convenience to the venue, it might be the distance to the next destination, or it might be because you serve “string cheese” on your breakfast buffet. Put on your thinking caps. Find local wineries/breweries, historic buildings, agricultural attractions, natural beauty, sporting arenas, children’s activity, shopping or artisan shops, seasonal fairs or events, etc. – something to encourage people to visit your city/hotel and link up with each other giving opportunities to stroke each other’s back.
Point #3 – Partnering with other like businesses only enhances your destination. There is always an opportunity to partner with organizations and companies to mutually market your businesses. Several great ideas for unique partnership or giving opportunities are listed in this article.
Point #4 – What have you done to help promote packages? You might answer me by suggesting that packages are for individual travelers and you are a group sales person. It is not your responsibility to look for individual travelers. OK, but what if selling the package indirectly helped your relationship building with corporate and group clients?
It would not take much for you to help with the salesmanship of a package. Put a copy of the package flyer in your sales kit and mention it on sales calls. Let your contacts know that we would welcome any local associates to book one of the packages and encourage them to post the flyer in their break areas.
Use the packages to entice pre- and post-meeting attendance for families or couples.
Attach a link to your packages into your email signature block. Use an enticing phrase and link it to the booking link on your website. For example: “Looking for a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day?”
As I mentioned in the linked blog written in October 2013 – “What if you packaged up gift baskets and sold them in your market? Include a hotel gift card (for room rate), items to complement the theme of the package, and then package the items in a cute themed container and have them “for sale” in your market.” Sell a package through selling a gift basket. (Think impulse selling like they do in grocery stores: did you really need that candy bar?)
Giving thanks for customers and helping them with gift-giving ideas is good for business. Explore opportunities with your staff and try to come up with at least one package for the holiday season. Then figure out how you are going to sell for success!
Happy giving and thanking!