The promise of sunshine and outdoor fun spells the hottest season in travel, and, as the days warm up, hoteliers are getting ready to kick off their summer marketing campaigns. While occupancy generally tends to be higher during summer months, the market is also more competitive as travelers put more time and effort into planning their long-awaited summer getaways.
Whether you’ve noticed peak occupancy slipping in recent years, or just want your property to stand out, it might be time to revisit your summer marketing campaigns and try something different to make a big splash and earn some loyal guests this season.
Summer is the favourite time of year for family vacations. When designing packages for families, consider teaming up with local tour operators and attractions to offer activities that will appeal to these multi-generational groups. Theme park or zoo passes, tickets and transportation to a local festival or event, trail rides and canoe rentals are some examples of family-friendly experiences that can be packaged with a stay.
Highlight amenities at your property that families are likely to enjoy, like the pool, breakfast, playground, BBQs, games room and DVD rentals, and consider including paid amenities in family packages to add value.
Have you thought about hosting events to keep the kids and kids-at-heart entertained? Simple ideas include pool parties, movies under the stars and sandcastle competitions. You’ll find more ideas for on-property events in the following section.
And don’t forget to refresh your knowledge of family-friendly attractions, restaurants and things to do nearby. Have this information readily available to your guests via your website and maps they can take with them.
With a focus on fun family experiences, your property can become a yearly destination for family travelers — not just a place to stay.
Summer Events & Holidays
Take advantage of the buzz generated by local summer events (like parades, sporting events and festivals) by creating packages and themed campaigns around them, or by simply providing information about these events on your website or blog.
Holidays provide a great opportunity for some creative marketing. In addition to widely celebrated holidays like the Fourth of July and Canada Day, there are literally hundreds of little-known holidays that have the potential to inspire unique packages and attention-grabbing campaigns. Just google “unusual holidays” and you’ll quickly get the idea!
Pet Appreciation Week (the first full week of June) can be celebrated with a special pet package or “Doggy Days” event, and there’s no better day than National Selfie Day (June 21st) to stimulate social media engagement. July is Share a Sunset with Your Lover Month — and what better way to celebrate it than from your patio overlooking the ocean? Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day (July 10th) would be a hit with young families, and wouldn’t someone on your staff just love to don a Batman costume on July 23rd for Batman Day?! (Imagine the photos guests will share on social media!) In August we have American Artists Appreciation Month — think self-guided gallery tours or perhaps even hosting a local art show or artist-in-residence — Elvis week (10th – 16th) and Sandcastle Day (first Saturday). These are just a few of many fun (and official!) holidays waiting to be celebrated. Inspired yet?
There’s something special about enjoying good food al fresco and, come summertime, patios are in hot demand. Appealing to your customers’ appetites is a great way to celebrate summer — after all, the way to a guest’s heart is through their stomach!
For properties that offer on-site dining, consider shaking up your menu with new items that taste of summer — think grilled meats and seafood, bright salads, fun drinks and cool desserts. You could even consider throwing a weekly outdoor BBQ, cooking class or wine-tasting soirée (in the garden perhaps?).
Spruce up your patio with a fresh coat of paint, hang some flower baskets and replace those faded sun umbrellas to get guests excited about their al fresco experience at your property.
Properties without a restaurant can still put a gastronomic spin on their summer offerings to attract food lovers. Tailor your local dining recommendations to the summer crowd, suggesting great spots with patios and live music. Whether you simply highlight restaurants on your website, put together a self-guided restaurant tour, or offer packages that include dining discounts at local restaurants, wine tours or food festival tickets, the foodies are sure to come.
Health & Wellness
The health and wellness trend is growing at all types of lodgings — and you don’t need an on-site gym or spa to participate. In fact, activity and rejuvenation in the great outdoors is what summer’s all about. Properties without fitness or spa facilities could outsource yoga instructors, meditation gurus and massage services to host sessions in a secluded space in the garden. The third week of July is Everybody Deserves a Massage Week — what an irresistible excuse for a health and wellness campaign!
Other fit ideas for summer include teaming up with a nearby golf course to offer a summer golf package, providing guests with jogging or cycling trail maps, offering complimentary bike rentals, and setting up a volleyball net.
Use your website, blog, social media and newsletters to excite your customers about their prospective summer travel experience. In addition to freshening up website content to highlight your property’s summer appeal, and promoting your summer packages and promotions, provide helpful content across your digital channels about your favourite local beaches, the best restaurant patios, local events and festivals, scenic walking trails, and outdoor activities and attractions.
Search engines love this kind of relevant, helpful content because it’s exactly what travelers are googling this time of year.
During the peak travel season you have the opportunity to amass online reviews – make sure you aren’t dropping the ball, because reviews are often the deciding factor for a traveler choosing one hotel over another. Whether you politely ask at check-out or email post-stay surveys to guests, every guest should be invited to provide feedback about their stay.
Although you’re busy, it’s also important to watch for online reviews about your property and continue to respond to negative feedback promptly and appropriately, as more eyes will be reading them during the high season.
This summer, have fun with some inspired marketing campaigns that make your property shine!