How to get your hotel ready for domestic travelers

There’s a reason CNBC recently published their top 10 cities for summer staycations.

As 2020 returns to some form of normality, taking a vacation in your own country is likely to be a common choice for many families.

This could be fantastic news for U.S. hoteliers. The ability to tap into a growing domestic travel market has the potential to quell any fears related to reduced international tourism – at least for the time being.

But is your hotel ready for domestic travelers in this unique vacation season?

Why are domestic vacations likely to boom?

Nothing is certain, but there’s an awful lot of chatter online and within the hospitality sector about an expected boom in domestic tourism.

Lonely Planet is even referring to it as “our savior in 2020”, and that same article highlights the reasons people are more likely to stage their vacations in the U.S. this year than anywhere else:

  • choices are currently limited with many countries imposing strict quarantine rules for foreign visitors;
  • stress-free travel is going to be the order of the day for the foreseeable future;
  • the pace of life has slowed for many, potentially resulting in less of a desire to travel far and wide at the moment; and
  • people want something to look forward to.

The last point is perhaps the most profound, and it’s something hoteliers can capitalize on this year. You could be the knight in shining armor for many vacation-hungry American residents.

So, here are a few quick strategies you can employ to ensure your hotel is ready for this emerging trend.

1. Make sure you understand the market

Unless you’re used to welcoming domestic guests on a regular basis, this will probably be a market you’re yet to fully experience. This is why you need to get under its skin.

What are their motives and reasons for not venturing beyond the four walls of the States? Those reasons won’t necessarily be related to the pandemic, therefore it’s sensible to spend some time looking at the personas of these potential guests.

You can do this by reading TripAdvisor reviews and speaking to anyone within the industry who you suspect might have a better grasp of the market.

Once you feel you know a bit more about domestic travelers, you can start to build stay packages that are tailored towards their needs, desires and expectations.

2. Become one with your destination

There’s a lot to be said for destination marketing. It centers on the idea that you can attract more people to your hotel if your marketing is influenced by your area.

If your locality is famous for sports, food or a specific genre of music, for instance, try and tie that into your marketing. The more in tune you are with your destination, the more likely you are to capture the interests of domestic tourists looking to visit the area.

3. Highlight why you’re a safe place

People always want to travel safe, but that will be a particular focus for domestic travel this year.

Your hotel should be viewed as a bastion of safety, security and peace. For domestic guests, there’ll be no language barriers, no foreign health systems and regulations to get their heads around and travel insurance will be far less of a concern.

For many people this year, this represents the dream destination, and isn’t that something you’ve always wanted your hotel to be?

4. Review your rates

If you haven’t historically attracted many domestic guests, your rates might be skewed towards international customers. Without knowing it, and over time, you may have built in headroom for increased GDS commission costs or any other overheads that are required to both accept and serve foreign guests.

If there’s enough margin for you to reduce your rates or include extras at no additional cost for domestic guests, go for it, and make a big deal of the fact on your website.

You could even set up a domestic guest ‘club’ which rewards loyalty by offering preferential rates for staycationers who return more than once.

Final thought

The local vacation boom may turn out to be more of a mild ‘bang’, but even that will present much-needed revenue boosting opportunities for the hospitality industry. 

Our advice above won’t cost you anything but your time – and it could be some of the best time you spend in 2020.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through InnQuest’s solutions.