Is it us or did the summer just zoom by? In a few more weeks, the holiday travel season will be here. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about how independent hotels can take advantage of the post-summer/pre-holiday shoulder season. With cooler weather and smaller crowds, lots of travelers are ready to explore new destinations, so independent hotels will have plenty of great opportunities to deliver unique and memorable experiences during this year’s shoulder season.
If you’ve gone shopping recently, online or in-store, you’ve likely noticed the marketing efforts retailers are putting behind their fall goods. The great thing about seasonal marketing is that it works as well for hotels as it does for retailers, so a strong marketing strategy can put an independent hotel in great position to grab the attention of shoulder season travelers.
The best place for independent hoteliers to execute their shoulder season marketing strategy is online. By updating digital channels, such as websites, social media and email campaigns, with content, including photos, videos and messaging, that reflects how the fall shoulder season will “look and feel,” hoteliers can begin to drum up interest among travelers who are seeking fresh, off-peak travel experiences.
Secondly, rates should be adjusted, and special offers launched to drive shoulder season bookings. In addition to cooler weather and smaller crowds, people travel during shoulder season to take advantage of great deals traditionally offered by airlines, hotels and other travel companies. You don’t have to give away room nights, but offering travelers good value is a great way to capture their reservations.
Lastly, independents must get the word out about what their hotel has to offer this shoulder season to generate interest from travelers. In addition to leveraging owned social media channels, hoteliers should share their travel deals and marketing content with local media outlets, travel blogs, tourism associations and other groups that focus on driving local market travel. Every new traveler who learns about your hotel and local community presents an opportunity to capture a new reservation and further ensure another successful shoulder season.