How to Create Hotel Packages That Get Media Coverage and Impact Your Bottom Line
Let’s cut to the chase: the number-one question hotels ask LHG is, “What packages get media attention?” And rightfully so. Creating memorable and bookable packages is an essential hospitality marketing strategy. A great package can land you coverage on a national morning show (if you know the right contacts), distinguish you from competitors and, most importantly, drive sales.
Whether a five-star luxury resort, boutique bed & breakfast or budget-friendly hotel, if you stick to these three rules you’ll generate buzz and bookings.
Help! We are drowning in information overload. Media and consumers alike are hammered with content. Good editorial content has to stand out among approximately 900 Instagram feeds, binge watching “Game Of Thrones” and hundreds of email subscriptions while also getting boosted by savvy digital advertisers.
On the media relations side, keep in mind editors receive 40-60 pitches per day! Another run-of-the mill deal will not grab their attention.
Long story short, when it comes to packages, creativity is crucial. Buy one night, pay half for the second night is boring. Think about what makes your hotel or resort unique; offer guests something no one else can. LHG staff recently attended a food editor panel and the consensus was, “We want something fresh and new, not just another cooking class.” However, you have to start somewhere, and a cooking class may be unique for your property. If so, go big or go home. Perhaps taking guests to a private island via helicopter, where they fish and forage for their dinner, followed by a cooking class on a yacht and sunset dinner cruise. Any takers?
Don’t be selfish with your extravagant ideas; share the love with your destination partners, museums, attractions and tour operators. Brainstorming with like-minded partners is a good way to get creative juices flowing and nurture mutually beneficial partnerships. Remember, accommodations are just one part of a traveler’s vacation experience. Hospitality brands should promote themselves while also creatively selling the destination.
Value doesn’t mean cheap. After the market tanked in 2008, Lou Hammond Group launched the Value Blast program. This quick, one-stop-shop email distributed to media featuring the latest packages from across our client roster has proven a smashing success. Notice, we don’t call it a Discount Blast for a reason. Our clients’ nightly rates range from $98 to $9,800+. While the dollar amount does matter, the value you bring to the consumer is much more important. In some cases, an actual discount might not be needed at all. The value is in the combination of activities, experiences, services and memories offered.
All consumers – high-net-worth individuals included – seek value. If you’ve picked up a lifestyle magazine recently or read the latest on Skift, you know experience is today’s travel marketing buzzword. Even budget travelers are willing to spend more on out-of-the-ordinary offers.
Timing & Availability
Don’t wait until December 15 to plan your holiday package. If your package has a limited window of availability, the earlier you start promoting the better. On the contrary, don’t keep your booking window open too long, as the package might lose its luster and weaken your call-to-action for both media and consumers.
Think about when you can bring the most value to customers. Packages are a great way to boost profits midweek and during need periods.
Because one size doesn’t fit all, we curated a few package examples and trends in three key categories: Luxury, Mass and Exclusive
When it comes to luxury offers, more is more. Today’s affluent travelers simultaneously expect the expected and unexpected.
Our friends at Robb Report shared the following tips for distinguishing your luxury brand that we believe are worth sharing:
- Connect your hotel package to the destination’s distinct art, culture, culinary and design scenes
- Keep the entire family in mind when creating your package – the multigenerational travel trend is thriving
- Include activities that facilitate and encourage interactions with locals and industry insiders in order to offer travelers the ultimate authentic experience
So you want your hotel package on NBC’s TODAY show? Or perhaps in a USAToday.com round-up? These are great outlets, with the potential to reach tens of millions, but if you think your presidential suite offer is going to make it in, think again (although anything is possible). These outlets have mass appeal, so they want content to attract as many people and as broad an economic demographic as possible; therefore, think in averages. Ask yourself: what is the average consumer willing to spend? When is the average consumer going to use those four vacation days (the average length of an American vacation)? If you’re on the fence, for these outlets, less is more – as in less dollars. Don’t exceed $200 per night.
“5 last-minute Labor Day trips your family will love”
“Last minute holiday vacations that won’t break the bank”
“Summer hotel deals under $200 per night!”
“Last minute fall travel deals to prolong your summer”
Does the above sound familiar? For fun, we looked at the last 15 or so travel segments on the TODAY show and found that no package exceeded $200 per night, with the exception of two luxury properties ranging between $300-400 per night. The Salamander Resort & Spa’s $195 deal sparkled on a “Holiday Tips and Trips” segment.
Exclusive offers are a great way to experiment with package elements. Again, with information overload, media know consumers have limited attention and the competition is stiff. One way media messaging can stand out is by offering exclusive deals for their readers. In order for publications such as Travel + Leisure or BRIDES to cover an exclusive offer, it has to be – you guessed it – exclusive. Something just for readers that they can’t get anywhere else. The exclusive element doesn’t have to be over-the-top, just special for their audience. Below are the benefits of working with an outlet on an exclusive deal:
1) You’re guaranteed coverage and, in most cases, promotion by the outlet
2) You can more easily track results/booking
3) You can use as a barometer for creating future packages
Want more? Contact our hospitality experts here to learn more about public relations and marketing for your hotel property or hotel brand.