How To Shift Your Marketing Strategy To Attract Staycations

As COVID-19 worries put many Americans off air travel, road trips and staycations are on the rise. In addition to helping travelers avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID risks, car trips are easy to plan and can be arranged at the last minute.

Among Americans planning to travel this year, 72% are planning overnight road trips and 68% say they are likely to stay in a hotel.

Travelers are eager for information on destinations within two to four hours from home. Financial incentives, clear health and safety protocols, and flexible refund policies are all strong motivators.

The Staycation Appeal

People want a vacation, but COVID-19 has them questioning how much risk they are willing to take for some downtime. Staycations were this summer’s top choice. Travelers can get out of the house to sightsee and relax while avoiding crowds and staying close to familiar health care services.

What makes an ideal staycation? Wherever they go, travelers crave delicious food, peaceful relaxation, and lively entertainment. Hotels can create a memorable experience for local guests through themed events, luxury amenities, and no-hassle local sightseeing opportunities.

Here are six digital marketing tactics to promote staycations and boost your brand:

1. Target a Specific Audience With Each Marketing Campaign

Not everyone’s dream vacation is the same. Some crave entertainment while others long for solace. Some seek out fine foods while others prioritize adventure. To attract staycationers, know what your city or town offers your audience and appeal directly to them with tailored marketing campaigns. Examples of specific staycation audiences include:

  • Active tourists who want to enjoy local outdoor activities, like hiking or boating
  • Families looking for kid-friendly activities
  • Visitors in town for a seasonal or year-round attraction
  • Locals who want a romantic staycation

Digital marketing software employing artificial intelligence can segment audiences for you. To do it in-house, HubSpot created a buyer persona template.

2. Highlight Things To Do and Places To Go

Keep your marketing fresh and relevant by promoting local events and activities. People want fun and interesting things to do once they arrive.

You can source ideas from local newspapers, event websites, and regional blogs — all of which provide ready-made ideas for your own content for social media, emails, and blogs.

 By highlighting local events, destinations, and things to do, you also generate interest in the local community.

3. Offer New Staycation Packages

Stand out from the competition by creating packages with other local businesses.

For example, suppose your hotel attracts families with kids. In that case, you can collaborate with a family fun center, amusement park, zoo, outdoor cinema, or local farm to provide discounted tickets or free offers with admission.

Partner with local restaurants to provide food delivery to guest rooms. Include special COVID-19 protection packs with hand sanitizer and disposable masks.

You can provide maps with hidden gems and charming places to explore that other travelers might miss.

4. Host a Competition

Who doesn’t want a free night’s stay or spa treatment? Contests are particularly useful for local audiences because they don’t have to pay for travel to redeem their prize. Remember to check with competition laws before you begin.

Competitions are an opportunity to partner with local businesses to create an irresistible package. With multiple local companies participating, the prize value goes up, and your combined audience grows. A contest builds brand awareness, fills the top of your funnel, and adds new interested travelers to your mailing list.

5. Reward Referrals

One advantage of offering staycations is that, when local guests have a positive experience with your brand, they have the potential to help drive business by recommending you to their local friends and family members.

Develop a referral incentive program and give people a reason to refer your brand to their friends and family. Offers could include:

  • A gift certificate to the spa for every new traveler who says you referred them.
  • Bring a friend and save, or receive a special gift.
  • Unique add-ons when you bring a new guest.

6. Offer Last-Minute Deals

Last-minute deals are a win-win for hotels and staycationers. You book your rooms and they get a surprise getaway. Email local customers with an opportunity for a spontaneous weekend trip.

Travel Is Changing, but Hospitality Is the Same

A changing world calls for adaptive strategies, but the essence of hospitality remains the same. Travelers want a safe and comfortable place to enjoy some time away.

A staycation can be as wonderful as an exotic vacation — with less expense and less stress. An effective digital marketing strategy targets specific audiences, events, and attractions. It is an opportunity to remind people of the outstanding experiences available, just a short car ride away.

Contact REQ to learn how we can help your hospitality brand craft a targeted marketing strategy to build differentiated and enduring guest relationships.

Let’s talk.