For most people, the upcoming holidays are some of the most enjoyable times of the year. For others, it’s easily overwhelming. Luckily, hotels can help out the hosts and guests to reduce stress levels. Yes, hotels can be the hero for both parties, all while boosting their direct bookings. How? I will explain shortly.
The stress family gatherings can bring
A few years ago, Motel 6 conducted a survey that revealed truths we all may think at family gatherings, but we would never admit out loud. It seems that, on average, three hours and 54 minutes is the amount of time a family can spend together before they start looking for reasons to make an exit. So, if people arrive too early for a holiday dinner, it’s just a matter of time before they reach their limit of “family time.” Moreover, three-quarters of the respondents indicated that at some point during the visit, they will need to step away and have some “me time.” Common family gathering stressors included: a lack of privacy, family drama, and a loud and busy home. This is why 30% of the respondents said their family would get along better if everyone had a bit more space to themselves. It’s not just the guests that feel this way, as the hosts reported having similar feelings. Apart from cleaning the home and preparing the menu, they also have feelings of responsibility to make sure everyone is happy, entertained, and to organize the bedrooms to accommodate the overnight guests. This is where hotels can step in and save the day for both hosts and guests.
A simple way to help during the holidays
A hotel in close proximity to the host's house can provide the “me time” and help reduce family time stress levels significantly. The challenge is, while the hotel wants to say they are there to be the extra bedroom or two of choice for the hosts and guests during the holiday season, how can the hotel do this without showcasing the message on the hotel website to every potential guest shopping for days outside of the holiday season?
How hotels can target messages to hosts and guests
This is where targeting and personalization can come and deliver the 1:1 messaging. Both hosts and guests can be targeted with different types of messaging. For example, we know Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 24th this year. We know guests visiting from out of town will probably stay on November 23 and 24th. If a person is searching these specific dates within 10 miles of the hotel, and they are searching before November 21st, we can assume that this person is a host looking for a place to house their guests. Messaging can be created to target this host by stating, “Having Guests In Town for the Holidays? We have a special offer that includes early-check in and late checkout, and we are pet friendly for those that are bringing their fur babies.” At the same time, communication for this period with website visitors searching from more than 30 miles away from the hotel can receive different messages stating, “Coming into town for the holidays but need a peaceful place to stay and get away for some quiet time? We have an offer that is perfect for you.”
Now messaging can be further targeted for those that don't plan as much in advance, but decide they can’t possibly spend that much time upon their arrival in town on that Wednesday or Thursday. In this case, the messaging could target people in the booking engine on those specific search dates and looking at stay dates during that time period that would specifically say, “We are here for you tonight when you need a quiet and convenient place to stay. Peace of mind is just a booking away.”
In each case, the hotel can communicate their offer of solitude and quiet during family gatherings by targeting hosts, guests, or people that decided they need to just get away.
The messaging can be further targeted and honed in the booking engine if the searcher indicates they are two adults with or without children. If they don’t indicate a child, the hotel messaging can include an offer of a bottle of wine for couples that stay with them during the holidays, for relaxation at the end of a long evening. However, if the searcher indicates in the booking engine that they are traveling with a child, the message can be automatically altered to say, “Enjoy some peaceful time together after a long holiday gathering. We have books and board games for your quiet family time.”
This is just scratching the surface of the multitude of ways hotels can target their website visitors based on the date they search, the stay dates they select, their physical geographic distance to the hotel, and the size of their travel party, which can all be combined to deliver a very specific and appropriate message to position the hotel as the perfect solution after a long family gathering. By hotels making themselves available to families during stressful events, they reinforce their role not just for a place to getaway but also as an important partner in the community. This partnership will become immediately apparent when hotels that utilize this empathetic messaging see increased bookings on their direct channel as well as increased conversion rates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael J. Goldrich, THN's Chief Experience Officer. After spending nearly two decades in digital marketing and project leadership for multimillion-dollar brands and startups, Michael knows what truly drives website engagement and conversions – and it’s not by leveraging the marketing trend of the month. It’s how well you connect with the potential guests you’re trying to help and communicate your understanding back to them.