I recently filled my gas tank, and even with the 10 cent discount with my Kroger Plus card at the Shell station, it still cost almost $60 to fill the tank. When I checked the mileage computer after filling up, it said I had just purchased 354 miles of driving for that $60. That’s enough for back and forth to Jacksonville with change left over, or a trip to Atlanta with about 50 miles short of the return to Savannah.
As the price of gas goes up, getting out of town means not really getting very far at all. With the price of gas creeping close to $4 a gallon, many people are ditching their plans for a European vacation or cross-country caravan trip.
The “Staycation” has become more popular, with families opting to stay closer to home or just stay put and change sleeping at home for a few nights in a local hotel or resort. This summer season, hotels and resorts are more likely to have guests arriving from across town than “Across the Pond.”
Here are some possible challenges and tips on how to keep your Staycationers happy and feeling like they have had their dream vacation after all.
1. People who plan a dream vacation far from home are more likely to feel comfortable spending more and staying longer. After all, they traveled “all that way” to get there and saved all year for this one extravagance. Staycationers are watching their wallets and that means shorter stays and smaller tips. Getting to know your guests quickly will help them feel relaxed and welcome.
2. People on vacation are usually excited and in a positive mood. Staycationers, while glad to get away, have to deal with disappointment of forgoing that dream vacation to Hawaii and settling for the high rise hotel downtown. They may challenge you to somehow make up for that disappointment. Treat them like they are from far away, and help them see the area in a whole new light.
3. Since so many people will be staying closer to home, discounts or special amenities can become incentives for them to choose your hotel or resort. Families with small children love the “kids eat for free” amenity, movies out by the pool, build-your-own ice cream sundaes, supervised crafts, or discounts for golf or tennis lessons. Offering discounts for locals keeps their costs down and is good marketing when they have family and friends looking for a place to stay in town.
Once the economy picks up, those staycationers will be looking for a place to vacation, and if they have had a great time at your hotel or resort, they may be drawn to another of your brand properties in another state or country. Paying attention to the needs of the staycationer can make a great memory for them and build future business for your property.
Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for Hospitalityjobsite.com. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing Alto II with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients discover what they love and spend their life on it. You can read more of her blogs at hospitalityjobsiteblog.com and view additional job postings on Nexxt.