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Succeeding With Staycations

Hotels Can Broaden Appeal To Local Guests With Unique Packages

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Steve Pike
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The late, legendary Congressman Tip O’Neil once opined that “all politics is local.” In a way, the same can be said of vacations, particularly summer vacations. While it’s good for a family to hop a plane in Atlanta and fly to say, Vail, CO, or Monterey, CA, the costs can be prohibitive.

There, a new word has emerged in the hospitality vernacular the past few years. That word is “Staycation.” Simply defined, a Staycation is a trip that individuals, couples or families take within one day’s drive of their homes. A Staycation, for example, is a good way for someone who lives in Tampa to drive the 75 miles to Orlando for a couple of days; or even someone who lives in Orlando to experience life as a tourist at one of Central Florida’s resort hotels that offer summer packages to locals and in-state residents.

Properly created and marketed, Staycations are great ways for hotels and resorts to drive business from a group of consumers they might otherwise miss. The best part, the packages don’t have to be complicated to succeed. The new Conrad Fort Lauderdale, for example, has a “Summer Bliss” package that includes a day bed, bottle of champagne, appetizers, ice cream and 15 percent off drinks at the hotel’s Spinnaker Pool Grill.

The Row (El Dorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus casino hotels) in downtown Reno has debuted its luxury spa that is expected to attract the Staycation crowd in northern Nevada. The spa is the final piece to The Row’s fully-integrated experience that attracts Staycationers and multi-day guests alike.

Staycations, said Mario Busquets, area director of sales and marketing at The Wagner at The Battery Hotel in New York City, are particularly important in the summer months.

“Summer months in New York are considered to be ‘soft,’” Busquets said. “Staycation business helps fill the void left by the decrease of business travel and conferences/conventions.”

Some of the staple elements of a New York staycation, Busquets said, are rooms with views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty; breakfast included with the room; early check-in and late check out and in our case, picnics in Battery Park and the access to The Wagner’s branded bicycles.

“We design and launch specific packages aimed to the local consumer and partner with local business district organizations like the CVB and the Downtown Alliance, as well as area attractions as the 9/11 Memorial or Brookfield Place, to name a few, to disseminate awareness around the neighborhood and in the greater NYC metro area,” Busquets said.

Integral to the Staycation concept at The Post Oak Hotel in Houston, are home-away-from-home touches.

“Minutes from home but a world away in experience, guests can enjoy exceptional service, a variety of exquisite dining options and refreshing offerings that range from fresh handmade smoothies and expertly crafted cocktails to relaxing spa therapies and beauty rituals, all available without lifting a finger or ever leaving the property,” said Nikki Keenan, SVP of sales for Landry’s, Inc.

"At The Post Oak Hotel,” Keenan said, “the personality of the local market tends to impact and drive the transforming personality of the hotel, so we place equal importance on the staycation segment year-round.

“It’s been an interesting phenomenon to observe the property mimic the patterning of regular life, functioning as a high-powered business hotel during the week while transitioning to a relaxed and indulgent oasis on the weekend. The freedom of being an independent luxury brand has offered us agility in recognizing and adapting to the evolving needs of the local guest, which is important as we establish our new and distinctive position in the market.”

At Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando, the Staycation draw is to keep things as simple as possible for guests.

“People don’t want to spend a lot of time getting somewhere,” said Leslie A. Menichini, vp of sales and marketing for the company. “It’s simplicity at its best. Mom and dad aren’t asked to spend a lot of money on the little things. We have four pools, golf, fishing, tennis. We’re an alternative to the theme parks. There is a niche for everybody.”

In the hot summer months at We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center near Scottsdale, AZ, the property waives its resort fee and offers a $10.00 gaming credit per room at the casino. Golf is discounted through the Stay and Play packages at the resort, and twilight rates begin at 11:00 am.

“We at the golf club shy away from heavy marketing efforts during the summer because we can’t offer the same experience that we are known for this time of year,” said Matt Barr, general manager of We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. “We do a comprehensive aerification on both courses throughout July and early August and we transition from the winter rye to the summer Bermuda. The full transition isn’t complete until towards the end of August.

“We do, however, stay relatively active throughout the summer however with local residents and We-Ko-Pass cardholders. We pro-rate the price of the (golf) pass down to $69 starting mid-April for those who solely want to use it during the summer.”
Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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