As the whole industry strives to increase occupancy, we’re seeing great results from clients who choose to market the whole holiday offer – what makes their local area great – rather than just their own accommodation. Show your guests all the best places to visit and things to see or do and you will be seen as the real provider of “local knowledge” for them – ensuring that you are their first choice when it comes to choosing where to stay.
Try to view your local area from as many different perspectives as possible and identify things of interest to different groups who may stay in your accommodation. Many areas have DMOs (Destination Marketing Organisations) who will be able to provide free to use photos and video to promote the area.
Here are five great tips we’ve seen used to great effect…
Make it personal
Recommend a few good quality local eateries and mention your personal experience of them (maybe a dish you enjoy from the menu or a type of food they do really well). If they have websites, post a link. Although some people like to go with the flow on holiday, many like to plan in advance to take the stress out of finding somewhere to eat during their holiday. Make sure you try out as many things you are recommending as possible – if they are somewhat outside what you’d attempt (down-hill mountain biking isn’t for everyone…) then ask a friend or family member for advice on their experience of it.
Speak to local attractions to see if they are willing to offer your guests a discount or added value – make sure their leaflets are prominent in your welcome pack and have a supply of them to hand.
Be group specific
If you market your property heavily for mountain-bikers do you list local routes / cycle shops / places they can go to eat whilst they are muddy?
If there’s lots of art in your area, do you list the local galleries and the kinds of things they showcase?
Research the areas you are marketing. Ask a friend with young children what they like to do locally – you might be surprised! Families love info on how to have fun for free – best beaches, easy hills to climb, free museums etc.
Show the lie of the land
First-time guests might know nothing at all about the location or the local area. Using Google Maps, it’s easy to create your own personalised map showing the location of your property and any local attractions you are recommending. Again, it’s all about making it easy for them. Here’s how to do it.
Be available to answer questions
A big part of the personal service you are offering is being able to offer answers to questions. Obviously, there’s a fine line between helping and getting calls in the middle of the night to ask whether the property has a high chair. Actively promote on your site and through your booking confirmation process that you are happy to answer questions and put aside a little bit of time to deal with these enquiries. Get to know them and their interests.
So, those are five ways we’ve seen to “own” your area – what works for you?