How Independent Hotels Can Show Guests Some Love This Valentine’s Day

The month of love is almost upon us—is your hotel ready to woo guests? Whether you personally relish the romance of Valentine’s Day or think it’s nothing more than a marketing tactic, Valentine’s Day is a prime opportunity to boost the bottom line of any business in the hospitality industry.

Here are some ideas to make guests fall in love with your property this Valentine’s Day!

Offer Something Special

It goes without saying that romance packages do well during February. From wine and chocolates to spa treatments and candlelit dinners, romance packages are popular throughout the year. Consider spicing things up by offering something a little different to stand out this Valentine’s Day. Some ideas that go well with accommodation include couples classes (think painting, pottery or surfing lessons), tours and activities, event tickets, and in-room extras like massage kits, fairy lights and cocktail stations—and consider including babysitting for couples with kids. You could even go all out and put together a customizable proposal package!

Have you thought of offering something special for those without partners too? A self-love spa package could be promoted to singles, complete with a free drink at the bar during singles’ happy hour. Or perhaps an anti-Valentine’s Day package for groups of friends that could include tickets to a show, party or speed-dating event.

From activities to in-room extras, ancillary products and services that can be included in packages can also be offered as add-ons, allowing guests to customize their stay whether they book a package or a standard rate. People are inclined to indulge on occasions such as Valentine’s Day, so take the opportunity to offer relevant upsells to boost your bottom line.

Your imagination is the limit—just be sure to tailor packages and add-ons to your property’s key guest segments and to reflect the personality of your brand. Once you’ve created your special offers, make sure those packages and add-ons are available to guests on your property’s website through your online booking engine.

Celebrate in Style

Dressing up for special occasions makes us feel good about ourselves and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse for doing just that. If your property has the space and facilities, why not throw a party to celebrate your guests? The glamour and mystery of a masquerade ball, the seduction of a salsa dancing night, or the fun of a speed-dating event will attract both travelers and locals looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style.

Look to your locale for inspiration. Today’s travelers enjoy authentic experiences so injecting some local flavor into your event will help create a memorable affair. Whatever event you plan, make sure it fits your brand and clientele, and incorporate it into a swanky date-night package your guests can’t resist.

Set the Mood

Nothing sets the mood for romance like soft light, seductive music and succulent food, so dim the lights, choose a romantic playlist and add some aphrodisiacs to your menu.

When it comes to decorations, both common areas and guest rooms can be dressed up with fairy lights, flowers, heart garlands and such. Choose decorations that complement your property’s décor to avoid coming across as tacky, and resist the urge to go over the top—you don’t want to alienate guests who aren’t there to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

When choosing a romantic playlist, it’s important to select a soundtrack that also reflects your brand identity. Consider incorporating local artists and if you can host them live, even better. Imagine the elegance of live piano music or the soul of an acoustic guitar in your lobby.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spice up your menu with irresistible limited-time specials that will also attract local customers. Let your chef express their passion through creative and adventurous dishes like oyster shooters, sweet and smoky cedar-planked salmon, shakshuka, black truffle ravioli, and chocolate and raspberry torte. Don’t forget cocktails!

It’s important to set the mood even before guests set foot on your property—you’ve got to lure them through your doors via your website first! Do this by making sure your Valentine’s Day specials and packages are promoted on both the packages page and the homepage. Consider adding a popup, inviting guests to take a peek at your romantic specials. Update photos to include images that portray your romantic side, like an intimate table setting for two, a rose-petal-covered bed, a couple enjoying a drink at the bar.

Share the Love

Once all your Valentine’s Day plans are in place, shout it from the rooftops! Make sure customers know what your property has to offer.

In addition to promoting your Valentine’s Day specials and events on your website as mentioned above, send targeted email campaigns to segmented mailing lists. (Here are some great examples from our partner, Revinate.) Consider offering discounts or exclusive deals to guests who have stayed before or just to your most loyal customers. Send two rounds of emails—one a few weeks in advance to remind customers Valentine’s Day is coming and let them know what you have to offer, and another about a week before the big day to catch those last-minute bookers! Managing email campaigns is a breeze with a property management system that offers automatic emails and/or integration with CRM platforms.

If you are hosting a themed event, create posters that can be put up around town, and start promoting it on social media weeks in advance.

Speaking of social media, occasions like Valentine’s Day generate plenty of fun and photogenic content to share on your social channels. As well as promoting your property’s special offers, take the opportunity to create themed content that strengthens customer relationships and attracts new ones. Contests and campaigns asking guests to share their own stories and content are good ways to drive engagement. Put effort into creating enticing images that provide a glimpse of what awaits guests at your property.

Run targeted Facebook ads, bid for online advertising terms like “Valentine’s Day hotel deals,” and make sure you communicate special packages through your OTA channels too. Selling special rates and packages on multiple OTAs is simple and automated when your property management system is integrated with a channel manager.

Whether or not you’re a lover of Valentine’s Day, it’s an occasion that lodging operators should embrace. With Valentine’s Day spending totaling approximately 20 billion dollars in the U.S. alone, this romantic holiday can be a lucrative one for hoteliers. We hope some of the above ideas help make guests fall in love with your property this Valentine’s Day.

An Independent Hotelier’s Guide to Hosting Private Functions

Large hotels have been in the private function game for a long time as they had the traditional banquet halls typically favored for weddings and holiday parties. But tastes are changing. Many people planning weddings (and other parties) today are searching for smaller, unique spaces to host their special celebrations. That puts independent hotels in a unique position. And it’s one you should consider taking advantage of. Not only do the events themselves provide great revenue opportunities, but they’re also an opportunity to land group bookings, expose your hotel to a broader audience, and generate more marketing fodder.

Interested? Here’s a quick guide to hosting weddings (and other private functions) at your independent hotel.

Use what you have

Take stock of the spaces and amenities that you have to offer. You might not have a large banquet hall, but you don’t need one. On-site restaurants, outdoor gardens, even a picturesque dock can make for an ideal ceremony or reception. Your individuality is your greatest asset. So find the locations on your property that scream #weddinginspo and come up with a plan. Where would the tables go? How many people can it hold? This will vary depending on the type of reception. A formal sit-down dinner requires more space per person, but a cocktail-style reception allows for a higher capacity. Have numbers ready for both.

Create packages

Once you’ve determined what spaces you have available—and therefore what type and size of events your property can host—it’s time to create packages. Every event is different so you should have a variety of options. When it comes to weddings, for example, some couples might be looking for a venue for the ceremony and reception, while others might only need a location to shoot photos. Some clients will require a hotel room for the wedding parties to get dressed, in addition to a honeymoon suite for the newlyweds. Whatever packages you offer, do something to make your clients feel special. It doesn’t have to be big—a complimentary bottle of wine or even a hand-written note will go a long way.

Make connections

Event planning is a big job. To help make it a more seamless experience for your clients, consider connecting with other local businesses in the industry. Juggling all the moving parts of a big event will be easier if you have a pre-existing relationship with caterers and photographers. You’ll already have a point of contact, and they’ll be familiar with your property. It’s also an excellent way to drum up more business as you can cross-promote one another.

Promote

Speaking of promotion, that’s the next big piece of the puzzle. If you want to break into the private function business, you need people to see you as an event venue. Create a page on your website dedicated to private functions and promote it across social media. You want people to fall in love with the space, so professional photos are a must. In fact, you might want to consider staging a wedding photoshoot so prospective clients can imagine their own weddings at your property. And when private functions are held at your hotel, don’t let the opportunity for great user-generated content pass you by. Ask for feedback and then use it in your marketing collateral. There are few things better for your reputation than a happy bride.

 

As an independent hotel with unique spaces, you’re in the perfect position to host intimate, personalized private functions. And given the potential for additional revenue streams and promotion, it’s an opportunity you should certainly consider.