Does your property offer packages?
By ‘packages’ we mean special rates for accommodation paired with something extra. That extra could have some in-house value – such as free breakfast or parking – or it could be an off-premise experience, such as tickets to a local attraction.
We’ll go out on a limb and just say it – packages are passé.
At least, the ones with common offers that don’t differentiate one hotel from another. Haven’t we all come to expect a bed and breakfast price everywhere we stay?
So with this in mind, how can your property stand out?
Increase hotel bookings with higher price points
Special offers and value-added packages will increase bookings at higher price points, but it helps when they have intriguing themes that get noticed. The best ones we’ve found have one or more of the following qualities:
- They incorporate local culture and attractions
- They serve niche demographic markets or lifestyles
- They tie in to holidays or special commemorative days
- They include an extreme or quirky experience
- They incorporate ultra-luxury, high-end elements
Let’s take a look at 5 great examples of hotel packages for inspiration…
1. Show off local culture and attractions
At the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas, the ‘Cowboy it Up’ package plays on local history and heritage.
This deal includes amenities – such as two pairs of cowboy boots, two Stetson hats, and a cooler with local craft beers and housemade beef jerky – as well as a target shooting session and a grilling demonstration.
“Our packages are always highly anticipated because they are so creative and elaborate,” said general manager Arthur Coulombe.
“This one strikes a chord because it showcases our unique Texas Hill Country ambiance, with a tip of the hat to our proud western culture.”
2. Serve your guests looking for a niche
Look at those speciality markets that you serve. Families with children, pet owners, or people in specific occupations will all appreciate the extra attention.
It’s always wise to cater to kids, so think about activities the whole family can enjoy.
The Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands recently introduced the ’Under The Sea’ package with a mix of active and educational adventure, including stand up paddle boarding, swimming with sea turtles, snorkeling excursions, night kayaking, and admission to the St. Thomas Coral World Ocean Park.
Even small properties can offer intriguing packages. At the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast in New York’s Hudson Valley, active military are entitled to a special ‘At Ease’ offer that includes a visit to the nearby United States Military Academy at West Point.
The Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Florida offers a VIP (“Very Important Pup”) package that welcomes guests to stay in dog-friendly rooms with their pets. Four-legged guests receive complimentary keepsake water bowls, a private dog walker session, and turndown treats. For each package that’s booked, the inn makes a donation to The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
3. Commemorate important dates
Another option is to tie in your package to an upcoming holiday or other significant date.
The advantage to this is while that phrase is trending in the news, there’s a greater chance that your package will be discovered in conjunction with it. The disadvantage is that it could have a finite shelf life, unless you extend it or re-introduce it the following year.
This year, the Bulgari Hotel in London offered a “Royal Package” to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.
The three-night stay included chauffeur service; private wine tasting; a tour of the royal parks, Westminster Abbey and Kensington Palace; and a riverboat trip to Henley-on-Thames with lunch at the historic Cliveden House.
To commemorate ‘Be a Millionaire Day’ (May 20 for those interested), the Sonesta Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida offers a ‘Be a Millionaire’ package available through August.
Deep-pocketed guests who want to live like a millionaire stay in a two-bedroom suite with an on-call chauffeur, in-room champagne and caviar; a private yacht excursion with a professional photography session; and a pair of freshwater pearl earrings.
4. Think outside the box and go OTT
If your clientele isn’t looking for money-saving packages, you can make your hotel stand out with over-the-top amenities. Incorporate luxury goods and services, like cars.
At the Mandarin Oriental in Prague, the two-night ‘Electrifying Prague’ package provides guests complimentary use of the all-electric BMW i3.
In Italy, Il Salviatino in Florence and Palazzo Victoria in Verona offer the Gran Turismo experience including a self-driven Ferrari tour between Florence and Verona with a stop in Maranello to visit the Ferrari museum.
5. Quirky works, too
Sometimes, the most impactful packages are the ones that get you noticed, even if they don’t bring in that much business. For example, the ‘Ink & Stay’ package at the Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, California includes a $100 voucher for a tattoo at the nearby Black Rose Tattoo parlour.
The hotel also throws in an ice pack and skin lotion, as well as a bottle of pain-numbing tequila. When the package was introduced, it was covered in major newspapers and online news outlets.
The bottom line here is to be creative. Think about what you can offer within a unique theme, give the package an eye-catching title, and promote it through every marketing channel at your disposal.
Don’t forget….package your packages into your website
The smart hoteliers we mention in this blog are selling these packages on their websites – direct and commission-free. It’s really important to use an online booking engine that can host bespoke packages with flexibility built-in.
There’s no point in creating a local vineyard package if it’s going to be closed during winter but still for sale on your website.
Here are a few more packages we think work well:
- The American Girl Dream Package at the Omni Berkshire in New York City
- The Experience Virginia Wine Country package at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Virginia
- The Guitar 101 package at the Westin Austin Downtown in Austin, Texas