The word is already out: it will take a while before the business travel, business and MICE segments return in volume from 2019. Growth opportunities for many hotels are more likely to come from guests whose trip is purely private.
In order to expand the segment of short break and weekend guests, it is first necessary to understand their requirements and wishes, implement them and then actively communicate them.
Hoteliers and ‘hoteliers’ are responsible for the quality of sleep of their guests. A 100% darkened room, top soundproofing, high-quality mattresses that are regularly cleaned and replaced and a duvet that is adapted to the temperatures are an important prerequisite. Not to forget the pillow or better the high quality pillows. Guests who are not well-rested are not in a good mood and do not have an eventful day. Other important things are: large and long beds. Special beds for overweight guests (with XXL duvets), large showers. Separate toilets if possible and a large TV with streaming services, as we have become accustomed to this at home. Children’s sleeping berths should not be emergency couches. Special family suites where the children have as much of a realm (and sometimes privacy) as the adults are very important, at least if a family’s weekend getaway is in the scope.
Breakfast from 7.00 to 10.00 a.m. is a reason for many potential (short-holiday) guests not to stay with you. Flexibility is the new luxury. Life according to a precisely planned agenda with meetings every hour determines the working week. Being able to sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast is an important prerequisite for a successful weekend for many guests. If you and your team offer this service on a trial basis and find that guests are enthusiastic about it, you will find a way to implement this requirement operationally. Of course, this also applies to dinners in two shifts. That’s megaout!
Of course, it is not enough to copy the 10 most frequented sights from TripAdvisor and put them in your own guest folder. Especially not if the historic town hall (which can only be visited from the outside) and the Gothic church are ranked 2nd and 3rd. These are simply not reasons to travel for most people. Find people in your team who like walking, cycling or jogging. Search on GetYourGuide for the best providers of creative walking tours, guided hikes or cycling tours. Organise the best 3-course 3-location tours with colleagues from the catering industry. Maybe eat-the-world organises tours in your city? Become a partner and simply sell these services along with them. Boredom was yesterday.
If your hotel is close to a long-distance hiking trail, you have a good chance of becoming a hiking meeting point. A long-distance cycle route or many, great cycle paths can make the hotel a cyclist’s paradise. Your chef fancies vegan cuisine? And so do three other restaurateurs in the area? And three farmers swear by organic farming? Then this expert status could become the starting point for wonderful culinary AND sustainable experiences. Focus, specialisation, coordinated communication and new distribution channels are the key to success. As a long-distance cyclist, I love easy washing facilities and a meeting point (barbecue area, pub…) where I meet other cyclists. With tips for the best stop on the next stage.
Three-course menu of the chef’s choice, candlelight dinner with 2 candles but no standing violinist, half board with a choice of two main courses, rich breakfast buffet… the world is full of boring platitudes and full of products without emotion and surprise. Therefore, we need to replace these terms with descriptions that make you hungry for more: The best Alpine breakfast buffet with pretzels, white sausage and everything you love about your breakfast, the 3-course surprise dinner with as much asparagus as you like and the best side dishes. The fireside dinner for two in the separee with Alexa for the private music selection, etc….
What happens when you Google terms like city break to my city or hiking weekend in my destination? If you learn how potential guests search for what you like to sell, you’re already halfway there. With the right content, Google will help your website to be found by the right people, both organically and through ads. It would then be good if the offer is also very easy to book online.
When a weekend guest asks at the reception where a chic restaurant is within walking distance and which bar is hip at the moment, the staff must go into raptures because they really know their tips. And they know where to find the best ice cream parlour in town on the way to the museum. Exploring the city and experiencing the best recommendations for yourself should be part of the induction programme. During working hours, of course.
In order to keep the short-stay visitors enthusiastic (coming back and sending friends), we should not leave it to chance that they actually find the really nice places. Half an hour before dinner could be the welcome cocktail with a little picture show and explanations of what to see and lots of tips on how to get to these corners, how much time to plan and much more. Many Airbnb guests rave about how their host took them to his favourite pub and introduced them to the landlord. We can learn from this.
Netflix in the room with chips and drinks, the mobile masseur and, of course, the cosy sauna area with well-kept fitness room help to get through a rainy day. An offer of personal trainers for a sight-run, the Nordic walking lesson, the limousine city tour or the shopping consultant also give the feeling that a rainy day can also be exciting.
Of course, the offers have to be bookable on your own website. They get reach through, for example, Kurzurlaub.de/ at, KurzmalWeg or direct marketers like Travel-Circus, Secret Escape or classic organisers who are also looking for something special. References to Tripadvisor, HolidayCheck or Trivago and of course Google Business do not hurt.
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