Think about how many people visit your city every year, but never spend a night in it. The number must be in the millions. These people are called day-trippers and they represent a huge revenue opportunity for your hotel.
As stated, day-trippers are travellers who visit a destination and return to their own home on the same day. This can include business or leisure travellers and is a common activity for people who have young children, pets, or one-day business trips.
Often, it is simply more logical for them to go home than stay a night. The American state of Minnesota had 38.2 million day trips, compared to 29.3 million overnight visits last year. This meant hotels in the state only had access to 43% of the potential market.
Obviously not all day-trippers can be converted into guests, but for many of them, it might only take a small nudge to convince them to make the most of their trip and stay a night.
Here are some tactics your hotel can use:
Provide experiences that extend upon the local environment
If guests are going to resist the journey home, they’re going to need a good reason. Your hotel will need to balance their experience by providing them with a home-away-from-home feeling and also complimenting what attracted them in the first place.
On the one hand, this will mean making sure their favourite TV channels and breakfast choices are available to them. On the other, if your town is an arts and culture destination, advertise and even sell tickets (via a local partnership) to events like music concerts or art exhibitions. Promo codes, discounts, and gift cards that can be used instantly could give your hotel’s occupancy a sharp boost over weekend periods.
Your approach will naturally change depending on what segment is your target; business or leisure. You will know best what is the best option for your destination, but always keep in mind the importance of embracing whatever is bringing travellers to your city.
Revive the spirit of a traditional hotel stay
Historically, hotels and inns functioned as a retreat where travellers could meet, share stories, and socialise. A comfortable bed won’t be enough to get them through the door if an overnight stay isn’t strictly necessary.
Try designing your hotel in a way that embraces social constructs and soaks up local culture. The prospects of learning something new, seeing something different, or meeting someone interesting people may be the incentive travellers need to make a booking with you.
To help support these ideals you should make your restaurant menu as authentic as possible, provide large open common areas, such as the bar, that foster conversation, and collaborating with other local businesses to offer overnight packages with a little ‘extra’.
Be as visible as possible
In the modern era, ‘busy’ has taken on a whole new meaning. The amount of spare time people have for long-term travel is shrinking due to work commitments and disposable income restrictions. Instead, about 67% of US travellers plan weekend getaways, and those trips are action-packed with tours and activities.
Travel agents help people decide what they’re going to do when they arrive in a destination – including if they stay at a hotel or not. Your hotel should connect to as many travel vendors as possible, from large online travel agents to smaller local agents or information centres.
A channel manager can help you effectively distribute your rooms and update your real-time availability to as many agents as possible.
Make yourself bookable on mobile
Day-trippers especially will spend a lot of time on their mobile device, searching for activities, attractions, and restaurants. If they come across your hotel during this process, you don’t want to lose them because they can’t quickly or easily complete a reservation on your site.
Ensure your hotel website is built with mobile-friendly software and integrates with an online booking engine boasting similar functionality. Taking Australia as an example, more than a third of travellers now book via mobile so giving guests this option should be one of your highest priorities.