Holiday travel is stressful, so hoteliers should play up all the ways they can help their guests relax after being cooped up with their family all day.
A number of family gathering-based holidays are drawing nearer, which became evident as Christmas decorations arrived in stores weeks before Halloween.
That means a good number of people will be traveling across states, across the country or even outside the country to be with family. For Thanksgiving alone, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration estimates there will be more than 25 million travelers (a 7% year-over-year increase) hitting the skies this year.
Think about all those people headed to their relatives’ front doors (it’s almost like a Hallmark Channel movie), and a good many of them are probably counting down the hours until they can leave (OK, so maybe not Hallmark).
The holidays are stressful, and add the stress of travel that requires an overnight stay (either at grandma’s version of Airbnb or a hotel) only compounds it. Families are great, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Not every family gets along. There are sibling rivalries, grudges, tiring traditions, anxieties over unmet expectations or some other issue or two in most families, even ones where everyone gets along normally. Things like these can really start to boil over when everyone is smooshed together in one space for hours, or even days, at a time.
Here’s where hotels need to step in. Obviously hotels have been the go-to source for people traveling for an overnight or multi-day stay. That’s nothing new. What I’m proposing is hoteliers should consider playing up their services and amenities to help guests relax after the festivities have ended for the day.
Discounted or complimentary drinks. Roomservice deals. Spa packages. Babysitting services. Designated quiet floors. Late check-out. Offering to call/text the guest at a certain time or after receiving an SOS message pretending like there is an issue at the hotel and the guest needs to return to the hotel immediately.
I think a marketing campaign highlighting these services and amenities or other similar ones could go a long way. Yes, there is the risk that some people might not like the idea of a hotel playing up tensions within families to increase business, but I say it exists and sometimes traveling families need a break from it. Potential guests will likely find this approach refreshing or even humorous if that’s the route the advertisements take.
I don’t know if taking this approach would increase the number of guests choosing to book a hotel room instead of staying with family. They’re more likely to base these decisions on whether there is room to stay with family, their own budgets and location. However, it might help nudge them along if they were already leaning in this direction and needed an extra reason to book a room.
The real benefit to hoteliers would be guest satisfaction. For the guests who already planned on staying at a hotel while traveling for the holidays, these relaxing and stress-reducing offerings will provide great relief to them and make them enjoy their stay more. There’s a good chance it could lead to a return stay, as holidays have a habit of coming back each year.
Do you offer family relief amenities at your hotels around the holidays? Do you think this approach would boost guest satisfaction? Let me know in the comments below, or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and @HNN_Bryan.
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