Accommodation is often one of the biggest expenses involved with planning a trip. Therefore, travel shoppers want to ensure they’re getting the best deal, and a special offer can be just the incentive they need to make the booking. If you are a branded property, you already have access to special offers developed by your brand (e.g. government & military rates, bonus loyalty points, etc.). However, to truly stand out in your local market, you also need some localized special offers. Localized special offers are promotions unique to your individual property and, ideally, only available by booking direct.
Localized special offers contribute to the local experience of your hotel website. This is something the OTAs, and even your Brand.com, cannot replicate. They simply don’t know your property, your community, or your city better than you do. These local elements are all part of your hotel’s story, which can be used on your hotel website to connect with travel shoppers. Localized special offers are part of this story; they demonstrate that you are in touch with what’s going on in your local community.
Value Is In the Eye of the Beholder
Before we dive into how to create localized special offers, let’s clear up a common misconception: a special offer doesn’t have to be fixated on price.
The reality is, every travel shopper has a different set of needs and wants, and price isn’t always the determining factor in their booking decision. What travel shoppers really want is value, especially from budget and mid-scale hotels. “Value” could mean a discounted rate to one person, or something else entirely to another. For example, someone could find value in a complimentary drink on arrival, faster Wi-Fi, later check-out, a free upgrade, or first pick of the best rooms.
How to Create Localized Special Offers
- Local Events
Consider what events draw people to your area and create targeted special offers around them. Travel shoppers attending these events will be researching accommodation options, so it’s helpful to have some targeted content (and offers) around them to whet their appetite.
The Comfort Suites Alamo/River Walk has identified some unique events that bring people to town. It offers a Trinity University discount for parents visiting San Antonio to attend their children’s graduation ceremonies! This special offer is something that won’t be found on Choice.com, it must be booked through their vanity website.
- Local Business Partnerships
Partnering with local businesses can be another great way to develop localized special offers.
Some tourist attractions offer pre-purchased admission tickets, which you can combine with a room rate to create a custom package. You might also consider working with a local restaurant or salon to develop a special offer specifically for your guests. Better yet, think of ways to bring these local businesses into your hotel. Are you an airport hotel that attracts tired and weary travelers? Partner with a local massage therapist to upsell a relaxing in-room massage. Don’t have an onsite cafe or restaurant? Partner with a local bakery to offer your guests a delicious afternoon tea in the lobby.
Quality Inn Kamloops offers hotel guests 20% off BC Wildlife Park tickets with each booking. It’s a great way to improve your guests’ experience and build relationships with local businesses.
- On-site Amenities
Don’t overlook the power of your own amenities, like your restaurant or spa. While these amenities might normally attract a fee, you can use them to create more value. Are you located within walking distance to a major conference center? Offer free on-site parking for your guests. Does your hotel attract young families? Throw in a free breakfast for the kids.
The Crowne Plaza Boston Newtown achieves this by combining on-site parking with a pre-paid room rate to create a localized special offer.
Promote Your Special Offers
Whatever your special offers are, make sure you promote them on your website and social media pages. The more travel shoppers can see your special offers, the more likely they are to remember them and return to your website when ready to book. Make it clear that these local special offers will not be found anywhere else online and establish exclusivity.
Accommodation is an important decision when planning a trip, and travel shoppers want to feel like they’re getting the best value. Localized special offers can help you stand out in your local market and drive more direct bookings. When developing local offers, consider what events bring visitors to town and develop offers related to them. You can also partner with local businesses and attractions to create custom packages. And don’t forget about your own amenities; use them to target specific guests. Call out your localized special offers everywhere on your website, and make it clear that they can only be booked exclusively through you.
Ready to set up your own localized special offers on your hotel website? You can learn how here.