How hoteliers attract guests during autumn
 
How hoteliers attract guests during autumn
01 NOVEMBER 2017 7:44 AM

Over the past year or so, hoteliers spoke to Hotel News Now about plans for fall festivities and events at their properties. Here’s a recap of HNN’s fall content.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—To bring in business during the fall, hoteliers refresh menus, organize activities and host feasts to help guests make the most of holidays and the fall season on-property.

Over the last year or so, Hotel News Now has featured stories relating to how hotels work around the season. Here’s a look at how hotels celebrate fall:

Hotels in the United States and Mexico host events and celebrations around Day of the Dead and Halloween, which GMs said helps to book rooms and boost food-and-beverage sales. The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York, has a variety of family-friendly activities on-property, and the hotel is booked for Halloween.

“We sell out for Halloween each year and offer consistent annual activities guests have come to expect, such as trick-or-treating, games, scary decorations and Halloween movies in the theater,” said Shawn Goodway, GM at the hotel. “Some parents make a point of coming to the lodge every year so that kids can enjoy the Halloween fun.”

Another way to draw guests during the fall season is by refreshing F&B menus to include festive cocktails and fall colors, according to hoteliers from independent hotels.

The Godfrey Chicago hosts a Haunted Hotel event every year, and this year, the hotel is serving up a Dia de los Muertos cocktail, said Grant Gedemer, director of F&B at The Godfrey.

Gedemer added that the hotel also turns the fifth floor of the hotel into a haunted house for a “fully immersive experience.”

In places like Washington, D.C., and Woodstock, Vermont, fall is a prime time for hotel business, sources said.

Gary Thulander, president and GM at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont, said the hotel sees a spike in demand during the fall, and caters to three different markets.

“One is the leisure guest who comes up for … a week’s stay or four days or even a night, and then we have corporate groups that do travel to our location during the holiday season, and then we have destination weddings that come here,” he said.

Some hotels, such as the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, attract guests by playing up haunted tales.

Sam the Bellman died at the Fairmont Banff Springs 40 years ago, and guests have reported being shown to their rooms by the friendly ghost.

The hotel staff doesn’t deny the haunted history of the Alberta, Canada, resort; they embrace it.

“All of the legends of ghosts in the hotel, all of the stories passed down for years and years, are on the internet already,” said Stephen Tait, marketing manager for the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. “Anyone can find them with a Google search. Lots of times, the guests come in knowing more about it than the staff. So it’s something we know is out there, and we’ve just learned to embrace it.”

The Home2 Suites by Hilton Biloxi North/D’Iberville in Mississippi doesn’t get a ton of business around Thanksgiving, but the hotel does give back to its employees and the community around the holiday, said Victoria Littles, GM at the hotel.

“We give a starter Thanksgiving kit to all employees, and then we give three additional meals to the less fortunate,” she said. “We decided to donate all (additional meals) to a homeless shelter.”

While the Homewood Suites by Hilton Midtown Manhattan doesn’t serve a turkey on Thanksgiving, it does see a lot of business around the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Black Friday shopping, according to Karl Baugher, GM at the hotel.

“We have in the past done a Thanksgiving meal, but nobody eats it,” he said. “They’re all out. They’re at the parade, they’re out shopping. Ever since Black Friday really became Black Thursday evening, people are out shopping.”

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