By Richard Drummond, COO of Hop Software (www.hopsoftware.com)
After an almost apocalyptic forecast for the hospitality sector earlier this year, the demand for stay- cations has skyrocketed to record levels which is fan- tastic news for hoteliers, but what do Britons really think? Have they returned to their 1950’s and 60’s roots of the British seaside holiday for good or will this ship sail when travel restrictions are lifted? Our recent research into 2,000 UK holidaymakers explored what people want when holidaying in the UK this year.
HOME SWEET HOME
With the staycation boom in full swing, our research found a multitude of reasons why, for many, it may be here to stay.The convenience of a staycation was top of the list, with over a third enjoying the ability to travel in their own transport and one in four enjoying being able to bring friends and family along. So, how can hotels approach marketing to family groups in a way that doesn’t also alienate other demographics? What strategies and tools can they employ that demonstrate that their facilities are welcoming to guests of all ages?
Families going on holiday aren’t necessarily seeking childcare — this is time dedicated to them being together, after all. However, hotels can use their social media accounts to spotlight easy travel routes and the efforts being made onsite to facilitate families and group bookings. Producing content that spotlights how the hotel caters for different groups, such as communal areas designed to entertain children, is a great way to demonstrate that the hotel is simultaneously looking after the enjoyment of families, whilst also allowing areas such as the bar or terrace to remain a civilised and enjoyable space for adults.
Many hotels don’t offer the same on-site amenities or play areas as large park resorts, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to cater to family entertainment. Even small hotels tend to have the advantage of established relationships with local service providers or are connected
to a chamber of commerce. Families looking for a holiday are likely to be interested in how providers can help them make unique memories together. Hoteliers should offer suggestions and introductions to local tour guides or activities providers that can help to make a more tailored family experience. After all, one of the key trends in hospitality today is the potential for personalized experiences.
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST CONCERNS
Hoteliers, like any other business owners, react to supply and demand. However, with this in mind, the British public expressed concerns about congestion, availability and cost, with 39% worrying that prices would increase and one in four worrying about availability or having to book a trip far in advance to secure a booking. Now more than ever, it is crucial for hoteliers to craft and execute a hotel pricing strategy that goes beyond simply establishing rates for your rooms during particular sea- sons.
The first priority of pricing should be forecasting.This way you can predict demand and encourage travellers to book early. However, competitor-based pricing may also be helpful, this is where you compare your rates with similar hotels to see if you offer value to your guests. When done and monitored properly, this will help you to understand what customers are already paying and how much they will be willing to pay. Armed with these insights, tweak your hotel room price so that you can sell your rooms at competitive rates.
In addition to well thought out pricing, it’s also important that hoteliers are seen to be encouraging visitors to respect their surroundings during their stay.With rural campaigners warning that visitors are leaving behind mountains of rubbish and damage to scenic spots, holidaymakers are increasingly concerned about the damage this could cause to UK destinations. In fact, over one third (37%) of UK residents voted this as their biggest worry when it comes to the staycation boom. Simple notices both at the hotel and on your social media channels will be received well by the public and showing allegiance with your environment never goes amiss, but steer clear of appearing forceful. It is not about stopping people from enjoying themselves, it’s a plea for them to be responsible so that other guests can enjoy the beautiful surroundings your hotel has to offer.
With many holidaymakers looking for more meaningful experiences, hoteliers must cater to the needs of the modern-day consumer. By celebrating the fantastic local offerings, onsite facilities and unique surroundings that your hotel possesses, you will attract a range of holidaymakers with more individualised priorities this year. But keep costs fair. Responding to demand is to be expected, but a well-thought-out pricing strategy is key to maintaining your reputation in the long term.Whilst it’s true that there has been a shift in mood amongst Britons when it comes to holidaying and travel, these insights will help you to keep your customer in mind, and then you’ll be on to a winner.