Staycation Destination: Marketing Your Property to Local Travelers

The world will likely see a reduction in international travel for the foreseeable future. Uncertainty around border restrictions and a wariness to book expensive flights in such an uncertain time means many people are going to be staying on their own soil for a while. But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost their yen for a getaway. They’re just going to have to get away a little closer to home. That’s why it’s the perfect time for you to be marketing your property to local travelers. Here’s how:

Identify your niche

Just like their international counterparts, domestic travelers come in a variety of types—families looking for space and amenities, couples hoping for a romantic getaway, weekend warriors seeking out a quick adventure, and escapists in search of a tranquil reprieve from regular life. You’ll need to identify which type(s) of domestic traveler your property appeals to so you can develop your marketing plan accordingly.

Focus on experiences

Local travelers aren’t as interested in seeing the sights as those coming from abroad. They already live nearby, so accommodation isn’t a necessity for them to explore the area. Rather, staycationers are driven to book overnight stays for the experience. A getaway filled with conveniences, luxuries, and special moments that aren’t available at home is just the thing to justify a hotel stay for the local traveler.

Consider offering special packages to create a one-of-a-kind experience for your guests. Maybe build a “Couples Wellness Retreat” with morning yoga, a couple’s massage, and cooking classes, or combine a bottle of champagne and a round of pedicures to make the perfect “Girlfriend’s Getaway.” You could offer a “Family Fun Package” with kayak rentals, and a complimentary breakfast. Whatever you choose, a well-curated package will provide your guests with the exciting, hassle-free experience they’re looking for. You can even offer special promotions to locals like waived pet fees or free valet parking.

Another option for enticing the experience-driven traveler is by hosting special events. Your options will depend on your property and location, and physical distancing restrictions, but experiences like a “Movie-in-the-park” night, or an intimate “Chef’s Table” event can be a fun way to stand out from your competitors.

Collaborate with local businesses

Now more than ever people are invested in supporting the local businesses in their communities. In the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, there is a renewed sense of responsibility to patron small businesses and get money back into the local economy. Try collaborating with other brands and businesses in your community to create the perfect, cross-promotional opportunities for local consumers to do just that.

Promote local travel

In addition to marketing your property and packages specifically, it might be beneficial to promote the idea of local travel in general. There are so many positive things about vacationing close to home that are worth a dedicated social media post. Reducing one’s carbon footprint, renewing an appreciation for one’s own backyard, or supporting the local economy (as previously mentioned), are all powerful motivators to turn a vacation into a staycation. And if you’re the one that convinced them to do it, it’s likely you’ll be the property they’ll ultimately choose.

Tourism is sure to look a little different in the post-COVID-19 world, but it has always been an industry of constant evolution. The trick, as always, is to adapt. Taking some time to focus on local travelers—at least for a while—is a good way to keep getting heads in beds. Besides, a loyal guest that’s only a quick drive away is a valuable commodity. They have the ability to visit often, spontaneously, and will likely recommend your property to friends and family.

Selling the Experience: How to Market Effectively to Today’s Travelers

A recent study conducted by Expedia and The Center for Generational Kinetics, found that 74% of Americans value experiences over things. That’s great news for the hospitality industry as most of those people are planning to travel in pursuit of those experiences.

So how can you capitalize on the emerging “experience economy”? For these travelers, the memory is the product. You need to adapt your marketing material to reflect that. It’s not enough to simply advertise a luxurious bed or first-rate amenities. You need to showcase the unique travel experiences that guests will have at your property. Here’s how:

Create video content

Video has become a powerful marketing medium across all industries. It improves SEO and boosts conversions—one study even suggests that including video content in a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. It’s also an ideal tool for showcasing experiences. If used correctly, the dynamic medium can inspire viewers and help them imagine what a stay at your property would be like.

Create videos that portray people experiencing everything your property has to offer (with #travelinspo footage of events and other highlights) and post them across your digital channels. Once viewers start picturing themselves laughing with friends over a drink on the patio, or kayaking peacefully on the lake out front, for example, they won’t want to book anywhere else.

Promote your destination

For most travelers, the destination is the draw. They’re looking to explore and experience the local culture. So, you should promote your locality as well as your property. Sharing helpful information about things to do and see in your area shows a commitment to experiential travel that guests will appreciate. And demonstrating your local expertise will earn their trust. Guests want to stay somewhere connected to the community with insider tips for getting the most out of their holiday.

Share UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is a big deal in today’s marketing landscape. And for good reason. Consumers are much more trusting of their peer’s reviews than traditional marketing material. And, as it’s the real-life experience of your guests, UGC is particularly well-suited for marketing in the experience economy. So, when a guest posts about their stay at your property, use it. It’s the most authentic promotional material you could hope for.

Considering the value of UGC, you should do what you can to encourage guests to post online. This can be done by creating a strong social media presence, hosting contests, and including calls-to-action on other marketing collateral.

Partner with influencers

For high-impact UGC, consider partnering with social media influencers. These are people with a significant number of followers whose content generates considerable engagement. Unlike traditional UGC, these posts will cost you (either in fees or free stays at your property). But if you choose the right influencer, it’ll likely be well worth the investment. 81% of marketers that have tried influencer marketing considered it effective.

Be authentic online

Part of selling the experience at your property is showing off your unique personality. Travelers today aren’t interested in generic accommodation. And if your digital content is uninspired and formulaic, they’ll assume your property is the same way. So make sure you’re being authentic on your website and social media channels. Avoid an overly formal tone and steer clear of canned responses to guest posts.

 

Today’s travelers are seeking exciting experiences they’ll remember forever (and can share on their social media pages). Make sure you’re creating effective marketing material so you can capture their imaginations and ultimately win their bookings.