How independent hoteliers can capitalize on the “staycationer” trend

In a recent blog post, we outlined a few of the reasons why more travelers are “going local” and opting for “staycations,” vacations that are within easy driving distance of their homes. STAY IN TOWN Google search data shows that this is more than a passing trend among travelers.  The popularity of staycations is increasing annually, so their momentum stands to greatly benefit the bottom line of even more independent hotel operators this summer.

To help hoteliers capture the attention of these locally-curious travelers, as well their valuable reservations and revenue dollars, here are a few tips for capitalizing on the staycation trend:

Hyper-localize your marketing plan
One difference between staycationers and those coming from further distances is, due to their locality, staycationers are more likely to know where to look to find “locals only” insight and information.  For example, instead of relying on Starbucks for morning coffee, staycationers may follow a neighborhood food blogger who recommends the best local coffee shops.  It’s with these hyper-local outlets, like blogs, tourism groups and event planners, that independent hoteliers should look to develop relationships and promote their property.

While mass marketing via online travel agents is still a vital component of a hotel’s marketing strategy, operators should also explore opportunities at the hyper-local level.  Some of these outlets have large followings and great influence, so leveraging their reach can be extremely beneficial when targeting staycationers.

Promote your community
We’ve recently discussed the basics of social media, what mistakes to avoid and the type of consumers who are using social media, so the next step is developing engaging and sharable content.  Filling up a content calendar strictly with information about the hotel will eventually get boring and stale with followers, so it’s important to incorporate diverse content.  This is where promoting the happenings of the surrounding local community can help generate and sustain interest online.

Travelers, especially staycationers, want to know what type of fun and interesting activities are available for them once they arrive.  To help fill in the gaps in their social media calendar, independent hotel operators can simply share this ready-made content with their online followers.  The local newspaper, event websites and blogs are great places to find information about events and attractions that would interest travelers.  Sharing this information not only helps fill up a hotel’s social media feed, it helps generate interest in the community as a whole and can help drive local tourism that will also benefit the hotel.

Co-promote with other local business
As the saying goes, “there is always strength in numbers,” so co-promoting with other local businesses is a great way to gather the attention of more local travelers.  Whether through a collective advertising buy or sharing social media links, pooling resources and leveraging the reach of partnering businesses is a great way to connect with a greater number of potential staycationers. Again, not only will this benefit independent hoteliers, but neighboring businesses and the community as a whole.

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