Baseball season is on the horizon, the salt stains are finally starting to come out of the clothes and a large portion of the Northern Hemisphere begins to emerge from their annual hibernation. There’s a presence of fresh rejuvenation in the air; spring is finally upon us!
The transitional weeks from the deep freeze to the increasingly warmer days may be a slower time for hotels. Winter lures travelers away for the Christmas holidays, getaways to picturesque ski slopes or never-ending beaches to beat the cold. Summer is stacked with weddings, is prime time for family vacation escapes and has all the outdoor appeal of the warm months. Now spring may not have the marketing allure that summer holds and still has one foot in the colder temperatures with the other heading out the door flirting with the warmth which means your hotel can get creative to entice travelers during this need period.
Here are five ways hoteliers can create a fresh spring time marketing plan. Bear in mind that these ideas are not mutually exclusive and can certainly be intertwined together.
5 Tremendous Ways to Beat the Spring Time Lows
1. Plan Around the Calendar
The 2015 spring equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere) kicks off March 20th until June 21st when the summer solstice takes over. This is a very crucial three month window that is comprised of many holidays and events worldwide that you can highlight at your hotel. There is Victoria Day in Canada, Memorial Day in the United States, Easter weekend, spring break, Mardi Gras and Mother’s and Father’s Day. April and May also spark the onset of wedding season, and although they aren’t usually optimal wedding dates like what the summer holds, you can promote early on for couples looking to book ahead for their wedding arrangements. These are only a few days celebrated as North American traditions, there is also Labour Day in China or May Day in the U.K. that you can highlight. Spring time is thriving with possibilities, so think of what other holidays you can build around the nucleus of your story.
The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster designed an Easter package that has something for the entire family. Everything from Easter egg baskets, wonderful breakfasts to the Easter Bunny delivering candy to your front door.
2. Look Local
The neighborhood starts to come alive in spring. After hunkering down for the colder months, local establishments shake off the frost and begin to look ahead to warmer days. Golf courses are beginning to open up, patio season is about to blossom at restaurants, there are amusement parks, festivals, carnivals, sporting events and other great events going on in your community. See if you can come up with a promotion mutually beneficial for both parties. Showcase your restaurant, maybe with new spring meal creations, breaking out the BBQ a little early and the “wine & dine” specials that you’re promoting. This is a great opportunity to enhance your role in the community by promoting local businesses and goes a long way in further solidifying the authenticity of your hotel’s narrative.
Marketing campaigns shouldn’t be always targeted towards the busy months, but rather to help fill low season occupancies. Many guests enjoy scheduling their vacations during non-peak seasons and would rather avoid larger crowds and enjoy the peaceful tranquility the low season tend to bring. You can design special offers on your website or get creative with social media. You can use popular hashtags or even create your own to add some flavor to your spring promotions. You can also link this to your email lists to trigger impulse getaways from travel shoppers looking for last minute deals.
Think of putting together a comprehensive package that aligns with your hotel’s story that is enticing enough for the guest to book directly with you. See if you can combine a few of the ideas in this article to build special offers that stem directly from your story so it doesn’t come across as a one-off deal.
4. Utilize the Weather to Your Benefit
Collectively complaining about the weather makes for excellent small talk and helps with a greater sense of community because everyone is in it together. Embrace the change in seasons and poke fun at yourself and the ordeal that you all have to go through.
For example: say your hotel is in the Boston area, your promotion could be along the lines of, “After a crazy winter like that I think the entire city needs a drink. Enjoy 2 for 1 drinks with an app for the entire month of May!”
5. Plan Ahead
It’s always best in life to take proactive measurements as opposed to reactive ones. That way, you are always looking a few steps ahead instead of constantly dealing with issues at the last minute. Take advantage of the momentum of the peak season when bookings are soaring and use it as a launching pad to encourage shoppers to save if they book ahead. This doesn’t have to always be the “book ahead and save” type promotion, but rather is still a concoction of your hotel’s story that offers travel shoppers special offers when booking directly with you.