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How to make the most of the staycation market

Helen Collingborn, Associate Director of the Foodservice & Hospitality division at Speed Communications looks at how hoteliers can maximise the current staycation trend into September and beyond.

UK staycations are having their moment in the sun – this is especially true in hotspots such as Cornwall with increased demand for ‘coast and country hotels’. It seems visitors can’t get enough of hotels in staycation destinations.

The pent-up demand from lockdown and challenges of travel abroad is giving hoteliers an opportunity to start to recoup lost venues from the last few months and could bring a £24bn boost to the economy. However, with restrictions meaning many can only open at reduced capacity and with pupils soon set to return to school, a drop off in stays is a dark looming shadow that can’t be ignored. While the Government’s quarantine policy is discouraging international visitors, attracting a domestic audience will be more crucial than ever.

What can be done to ensure that September isn’t a ghost town for hoteliers?

  1. Shout about your safety measures
    When consumers were asked whether they want the hospitality sector to prioritise their safety or their experience, the balance is weighted towards safety. 68% say they want to feel safe in a hospitality venue, no matter what COVID-19 procedures are put in place to achieve this[1].

    Guests will immediately notice if cleaning isn’t up to scratch. Now more than ever, housekeeping and front of house social distancing will be at the frontline – and it’s not enough to just have standards of cleanliness, the communication around this needs to be front and centre – pre arrival, during the stay and after.

  2. Offers and value adds
    Consumers are feeling the pinch and will be on the lookout for a good deal. From loyalty programmes, promotions, bespoke packages or a discount in September for returning guests, consider what will resonate with your target customer and bring to life your hotel’s USP.

    For instance, if there are great roaming options near your hotel, consider offering family package for half term that includes bike hire, a packed lunch and maps of key points of interest.
  1. Listen to the data
    Looking at data is a great way to inform your strategy but for the first time ever, looking at last year’s data and past performance will not be reflective.

    There’s a whole load of data in Google Analytics that you can use to understand your current customer base at this moment in time – we recommend looking back over the last 3 months for any trends in website visits. For example, who is looking at what on your website and where are they from? Are particular pages seeing a high dwell time or are your customers taking a new journey through your website before booking? It may be possible that certain types of bookings are suddenly popular, which could be a cue for you to change some messaging in you advertising and comms.
  1. Consider untapped customer bases
    It’s also key to look at who you aren’t attracting. If the audience currently visiting is families, this will likely decrease when the school term starts. Therefore, now might be the team to target couples and empty nesters to ensure rooms are filled for September.

    With this data, you can formulate a strategy, such as utilising digital campaigns to target locals within a certain mileage.

  2. Creative events to attract guests
    We’re seeing a lot of creativity with hotel businesses and this is acting as a catalyst for other brands to develop and grow their offer. During lockdown Whatley Manor unveiled the ‘Paradise Carriage’, a pop-up trailer offering food to go from Niall Keating, and Celtic Manor Resort launched ‘Celtic at Home’, offering online virtual events with their musicians and contactless takeaways.

    Events and pop-ups can be a great way to not only create a buzz but also boost revenue, attract new customers and encourage repeat visits.
  1. Understand your customer
    Consumers are more likely to engage with your hotel if they feel the brand is something they can identify with. It goes without saying that researching your target audience and pinpointing their interests is vital – this doesn’t just mean looking at the latest trends, as these won’t always be in favour, but researching your audience’s values and common drivers of purchasing decisions. Social listening is an effective tool to use for this.

The competition within the industry is arguably the highest it has ever been and all brands need to look for opportunities to innovate. Although there are some challenging times ahead, there are many opportunities to be had for those who keep one step ahead of competitors. By identifying marginal gains you can make now to stay ahead of the game will stand you in good stead for the coming months. 


[1] UKH Consumer Survey – Undertaken by CGA (June 2020)

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