By Jayme Schreiner
With the surges of COVID-19 variants still impacting international and long-distance travel, hotels and resorts need to get creative and think local to keep generating revenue. From couples and families to remote workers, most of us just need a break from being stuck at home – and your hotel can be the perfect escape. Creating special programs geared to locals is a great way to buoy ancillary spend while simultaneously setting your property up as an authentic community hub. If you aren’t sure where to start, we’ve compiled five easy tips to help transform your hotel into a haven for local staycations.
1. Provide Good Neighbor Discounts
There’s a lot to be said for being a good neighbor. Whether it’s a locals-only rate on overnight stays or a weekly happy hour with a good neighbor discount (bonus points for naming drinks after local landmarks and legends), showing some hometown appreciation goes a long way towards long-term loyalty. Offering a good neighbor discount is also a lovely gesture that shows your hotel supports and values their local community. It’s a win-win.
2. Offer ‘Daycation’ passes
Sometimes you just need a day to relax, recharge and clear your mind. After nearly two years of working remote, being constantly surrounded by kids/family/pets, and/or generally being stuck inside – more and more people need to find that mental break outside the house. Hotels and resorts with assets like a pool, tennis courts, beach services, and/or a spa can attract these locals with a ‘daycation’ pass that offers single-day access to the areas of the property typically reserved for overnight guests. Your day passes may also include a small discount on F&B or a complimentary drink to sweeten the deal. These small add-ons can easily generate additional revenue as guests order a second drink, treat themselves to dessert, or splurge on other upgrades like spa enhancements.
3. Host low-key local events
Hosting events and live performances at your hotel is an easy way to attract nearby guests while supporting your local community. By connecting with local vendors, you are basically assured of a built-in audience of other locals happy to make a short trip to your hotel to support their friends and family. Whether it’s booking a band to play poolside on the weekends, transforming your lobby into a local art gallery, hosting an open-mic night, or arranging a mixology class with your bartender, the goal is not to cram 100 people into a room, but create a series of smaller experiences where locals can feel welcome, make F&B purchases, and take advantage of other hotel services/amenities while on-property.
4. Create Staycation Packages by Audience
Even though the idea of a staycation sounds great on its own, sometimes you need to paint a picture for potential guests to see the true value of a local getaway. This is where the right offer can do the heavy lifting for you. Work with your team to create a variety of staycation offerings geared at different segments – couples, families, singles, and other audiences that match your local market. Consider ‘Date Night’ packages with dinner and an overnight stay, or a family weekend with bike rentals and a picnic lunch to-go. You can also connect with other local businesses and pair an overnight stay at your hotel with tickets to a local attraction or activity such as a botanic garden, museum, comedy club, and so on.
5. Add F&B spend to your loyalty program
The best way to nurture loyalty is to reward it. For many hotels and resorts, rewarding overnight guests with loyalty points is par for the course, but when it comes to local guests, only rewarding overnight stays leaves a of potential spend and goodwill on the table. The easiest fix (and a great way to entice locals to your dining outlets) is to expand your loyalty program to award points for F&B spend.
Attract locals sick of working from home with special weekday rates to use a guest room as an office space – including options for Wi-Fi and parking. To save on costs, consider turning several rooms into Work Lounges with the beds removed to cut down on housekeeping. Depending on your location and availability, you can experiment with a dedicated co-working floor to control for capacity and foot traffic while streamlining the cleaning and operational aspects of maintaining that environment.