We don’t know how it’s happened, but we’ve already reached March of 2023. How does it come around so quickly?
It’s always fun to relook at travel predictions from the very beginning of the year, see if they still ring true, and use them to prepare for what’s still to come.
What were some of the travel predictions at the beginning of this year? Some of the more ‘out there’ ones included transformation retreats, ‘set-jetting’ (recent data from Netflix revealed that 70% of programmes watched by Netflix users were filmed in a foreign setting, and the locations of chosen programmes were frequently their favourite holiday spots) and psychedelic immersions!
Some of the more common or predictable trends included ‘lisness’ (essentially another name of ‘bleisure’ travel), longer term planning and silent or quiet retreats.
Coming back closer to home, and taking on a more practical stance, let’s focus on the here and now, and the most crucial priority – which is managing the small things that will help you to increase your Easter and summer bookings as much as possible. We’re assuming (and hoping!) you have all of your Easter packages sorted and live at this stage, so our tips on this occasion is just how to enhance packages more than anything. You have a little more time on summer, so we’ve included a little more detail on what you need to do to prepare for that.
Starting with Easter…
Ensure your packages are inclusive and customizable
Generally, family packages tend to be heavily centered on a “typical” family unit of mother/father and two children under the age of twelve. Make your family packages are available to single parents with children in non-“standard” family configurations, such as 2 adults, 1 child under the age of 12, and 1 child over the age of 12.
Know your audience and play to your strengths
In the current economic climate, guests will be on the hunt for special offers and are more likely to shop around. Take the time to think about what your ideal guest would be looking for and how you can provide that for them.
If an all-inclusive package is not something you are able to offer, ensure your extras are available during the booking process. This way, budget conscious bookers can add them to their stay and will be able to pre-calculate their expenditure.
Keep it exclusive
All Easter special offers should be book direct only. This will reduce OTA commission expenses and may also result in a return or referral by your guests.
And now, preparing for summer 2023…
Be mindful of the practicalities
Try to have your summer campaigns set up no later than the week commencing April 18th.
Preparing your website content accordingly
Some key sections of your website you’ll need to update are:
- Your location, ‘things to do’ and activities pages
- Your family pages
- Your restaurant menu pages including child-friendly menus
- Your leisure pages, ensuring family times for the pool and other facilities are current
Continue to place a strong focus on the local amenities in your area. From big to small, zoo to ice-cream parlour, think of every last little attraction or local business in your area that could add pleasure to your guest’s trip.
No local activity is unworthy of your consideration if it adds something special to the experience.
Remember also to keep your FAQ page up to date. This helps your reception staff by easing pressure on the phone lines and also eases guests concerns or worries pre-trip if they can find what they’re looking for relatively easily on your website.
Accommodate different types of travellers
Urban hotels in particular should remember to accommodate digital nomads and workationers by providing great workspaces, extended stay deals and dinner/cocktail perks. Workationers are more likely to take their ‘workation’ during the summer while the weather is at its peak. Try and be creative when you’re devising rate plans, and remember that they will be mixing work and play so keep this in mind when you are creating your plans.
Again, when it comes to families (and predominantly we recommend you focus on the domestic family market), you need to consider different types and not just the standard 2 adults/2 children prototype. Make sure your packages are bookable for the likes of 2 kids, single-parent families, kids over 12 etc – as you need to for Easter!
Digital tools and practices can really aide your hotel performance, regardless of time of year. Automation is still the big word on the industry’s lips and adopting it across the board in relation to your email marketing, keyless check-in, chatbots and social content will be key as we continue flying through the year.
Rateplans and marketing
Make sure your rate plan descriptions highlight the main points of interest like ‘free cancellation’ and ‘flexible booking’, and maybe even include a note on your facilities or location. Summarise the key selling points that will attract the particular audience you’re speaking to.
Your rate plan descriptions are a great way to communicate the final pieces of important information to your guest before they book. For example:
Free cancellation | Walking distance (9 mins) to XXX town | Enjoy complimentary access to the hotel pool & gym | The beach is an 8 minute drive away | The kids club is available from June to August
Before marketing your plans, take a look at your personas and make sure you are advertising the right rate plan to the right audience. Plan for the markets you want and build your offers, content and attractions around them. Do this early and revisit them consistently – a healthy exercise for the relevant members of your team to do.
Update your website’s visuals for the season. People respond to images of people, ones express happiness and joy, inspiration or ones that trigger pleasant memories. Keep this in mind and use your visuals to help tell the story of the experience you are selling.