Hoteliers accustomed to slower business the week between Christmas and New Year’s have come up with solutions for drawing guests, driving revenue.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—For many hotels, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is slow every year. To combat that, some hoteliers are using brand loyalty rewards programs, discounted room rates and special packages to bring in guests.
Isaac Rodriguez, VP of revenue strategy and distribution at Twenty Four Seven Hotels, said properties under his portfolio don’t “waste time getting too cute with the holidays,” and use the brand’s loyalty programs to draw guests.
“There’s no need to race to the bottom with your rates,” he said, “so what we try to do is, we try to leverage on the influence of the brand loyalty rewards programs that exist at all of our brand properties.
“It’s probably safe to assume that most people are looking to stretch their dollar as far as they can during the holiday season …. Just by offering that double, triple-point (loyalty) offer through our marketing outreach efforts, that’s typically been the most effective from what we’ve seen over (past holiday seasons).”
Tijuana Jenkins, director of sales and marketing at The Partridge Inn in Augusta, Georgia, said the hotel does a few promotions, like a bed-and-breakfast package, for guests staying during the slow week between holidays. Guests also are incentivized with additional HHonors points “for booking during need periods.”
The Partridge Inn is part of Hilton Worldwide Holdings’ Curio Collection.
Special packages, rates
Sources said they also go the traditional route of offering special packages and lower room rates to drive business the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Holly White, director of sales and marketing at The Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island in Jekyll Island, Georgia, said the property sometimes picks up last-minute business during that week if the weather is nice. But the hotel also offers special rates to bring in guests.
Typically, she said, the hotel is at 40% occupancy during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and that goes up to 65% for New Year’s Eve weekend.
“Since it is a slower time, we came up with the special ‘Happy Holidays’ rate starting at $109 per night for the weekdays,” White said. “We’ve also planned a New Year’s Eve dinner and party for Saturday night to increase business for the weekend.”
Laurie Hobbs, VP of marketing at Marcus Hotels & Resorts, said her team comes up with special packages targeted toward certain segments of guests, such as families and single millennials.
At the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Marcus Hotels is offering a special Christmas Day rate of $89.
“So what we do there is we have a celebration called ‘Christmas in the Country’ that runs through New Year’s Eve,” Hobbs said, “and we also offer things like a ski and swim package, which is targeted to families.”
Other revenue-driving tactics
Once guests are on-property at Twenty Four Seven locations, Rodriguez said, they are treated to seasonal cocktails and outdoor movie nights. By promoting what he calls “holiday space activation,” the hotels are able to bring in additional revenue.
Hobbs said Marcus Hotels’ Skirvin Hilton hotel in Oklahoma City is driving some business by offering special rates to those who help the community.
“They’re offering a special rate for first responders, military and teachers, (and) calling it the ‘12 days of saving,’” she said.