There’s No Place Like Hotels for the Holidays: Targeting Leisure Travelers this Winter [Webinar]

by | November 20, 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – a time where most Americans hit the road (or skies) to visit family and friends. Although COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on the hotel industry, data projections still expect an influx of travelers this holiday season. Let’s explore how properties can attract and capture winter leisure bookings during this critical time for hotels.  

Winter Travel Grid

Let’s start by organizing a grid split into four distinct quadrants. Where your property is located on this grid is based on two key factors: weather and COVID-19 restrictions. For most of the country, winter means cold weather, driving people indoors and slowing occupancy numbers. However, there are places that stay relatively warm where cold-weather travelers flock this time of year. In some parts of the country, there are still highly restrictive COVID-19 requirements, while for other locations, restrictions have begun to ease and loosen as more time has passed. As we start to form a strategy on how to capture occupancy this winter, we have to take into account where your property falls on this grid and the best way to target and attract winter travelers to the area.

Low Restrictions & Warm Weather

Let’s start by taking a look at what to focus on when your hotel is in the low-restrictive, warm-weather quadrant. A lot of these properties could be located in the sunbelt or southeastern part of the country, like Florida.

  • Outdoor Activities – Whether it is the beach, national park, or hiking trail, there is a reason guests travel to this area of the country during the winter, and it’s not to stay cooped up in a hotel room.
  • Indoor Activities – Travelers can also enjoy indoor activities like dining and shopping. This could be key in attracting travelers from regions that might have tighter restrictions and may not have the opportunity to enjoy these types of indoor activities.
  • Events – The low restrictions and mild weather make a perfect combination for the event industry. Make sure you are researching and highlighting any events that are in your area.
  • Attractions – Focus your posts on your local attractions and things to do outside of your property. Create special packages and reach out to local attractions for potential partnerships which could be mutually beneficial.

High Restrictions & Warm Weather

So what if you are in a market with the same warm or mild weather, but increased restrictions in your local area? These types of properties can possibly be found in the southwest or west coast, like California.

  • Socially Distanced, Outdoor Activities – Hotels should still be encouraging and posting about outdoor activities in the local area – only this time, we are keeping those restrictions in mind. Find outdoor, socially-distanced activities to attract winter travelers from other markets to your region.
  • “New Normal” Hotel Experience Posts – Start preparing your travelers and guests for post-COVID changes by posting what the “new normal” hotel experience looks like at your property. This might mean something like a “breakfast on the go” or contactless check-in. 
  • Hotel Amenities/Features – Unlike the low restrictions of the southeast, guests that travel to a hotel in this quadrant will be spending more time at the property due to raised local restrictions. Therefore, hotels should be posting and showcasing more of the hotel’s amenities and unique features.

High Restrictions & Cold Weather

For the next quadrant, let’s keep those heightened restrictions, but drop the temperature to your typical cold winter weather. Properties in this quadrant could potentially be found up in the northeast, like New York.

  • Guest Rooms – With strict restrictions and cold weather outside, guests traveling to this part of the country may spend the majority of their time in their room. Make sure to post pictures of the different types of guest rooms and room features for them to enjoy.
  • “New Normal” Hotel Experience Posts – Hotels should also start prepping guests for the type of experience they can expect when they arrive. Share different images and videos as a way to show travelers what your hotel experience is like today.
  • Hotel Amenities/Features – When all is the same outside of the hotel, travelers are going to make their booking decisions based on what’s inside your hotel. Highlight your hotel’s amenities/features and don’t forget to mention any new safety protocols you’ve implemented at the property.

Low Restrictions & Cold Weather

For the final quadrant of this grid, let’s keep the cold, winter weather, but ease the local COVID restrictions. Hotels that fall under this category could be located in the upper midwest or great plains, like the Dakotas.

  • Indoor Local Activities Lower restrictions means more activities for guests to enjoy indoors. Make sure your social feed features plenty of places to eat, shop, and stay out of the cold when travelers vacation to your area.
  • Hotel Amenities/Features Some guests might not want to brave the winter weather. To attract and capture these travelers, be sure to mix in some of your property’s indoor amenities and features.
  • Cold Weather Attractions – If your property is located in a cold-weather climate, typically there are activities like sledding, ice skating, and other winter-specific activities to do. Seek these activities out and post them across your social feeds so that travelers have the opportunity to take advantage of them this time of year.

Any Restrictions & Any Weather

Now let’s take a look at social strategies that are universal and can be leveraged by practically any hotel during this winter season.

  • Holiday Posts & Package Specials – No matter where your property is located or the level of COVID restrictions in your area, holidays – in one way or another – will be celebrated. Use social media to post specials and discounted packages to encourage travel during this busy holiday season.  
  • Cleanliness and Safety Posts – Actively create and share posts about the new cleanliness protocols implemented at your property and how you are keeping your guests safe.
  • Call To Action Posts – Now is the time to turn inspiration into invitation and use call to action posts as a way to direct online traffic and convert them into bookings.

No matter where your property is located on this grid, you’re equipped with ideas for how to leverage your hotel’s social platforms as revenue drivers for this 2020 winter season.

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