Now that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, independent hotels are officially in their shoulder season. As we recently discussed, even though it’s considered “off-peak,” shoulder season can still generate strong bookings and revenue for well-prepared hotels. And with travel media sites, like Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and U.S. News, promoting shoulder season travel, independents have a great opportunity to build upon their summer success. Here are a few marketing ideas to help you capture the interest of curious travelers and position your hotel as the perfect shoulder season destination.
Last taste of summer
Fall doesn’t technically start until September 22 and there are plenty of travelers still looking to squeeze more out of summer before it drifts away. Independent hotels located in warm climates, such as along the Gulf of Mexico, have a great opportunity to offer special packages that extend summer fun for a few more weeks. Packaging tickets to local attractions, like beaches and amusement parks, discounted parking passes, gift cards for outdoor restaurants and other seasonal activities with guest rooms creates an attractive offer that should draw in those shoulder season travelers who aren’t quite ready to give up their long, sunny days.
Ease into autumn
For as many travelers who aren’t ready for summer to end, there are plenty who can’t wait for the brisk days of fall to arrive. Independents in cooler areas can use shoulder season to get a jumpstart on their upcoming busy fall travel season. For example, hotels located near national parks have an opportunity to leverage the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign to market themselves as lodging destinations to travelers online. Although autumn isn’t officially here, there are plenty of travelers looking to get their fall fix as soon as possible.
Even though kids are back in school, it doesn’t mean that travelers aren’t looking to continue having some family fun. Since families usually can’t travel too far, shoulder season staycation packages that include tickets to state fairs and fall festivals are a great way to attract travelers who live within a short driving distance. Offering affordable family fun is not only an excellent way to drive bookings and revenue, it helps build long-term loyalty that will keep families returning for shoulder season year after year.