Staycations, or mini vacations near home, are now more popular than ever. Google Trends reveals there have been over 75 million searches for staycations in 2018.
3 REASONS FOR CATERING TO THE DOMESTIC MARKET
1. Off Peak Holidays
Vacations can be taken all year round. Public and bank holidays can offer mini breaks that would be too short for overseas holidays.
2. Repeat Loyalty
International tourists do not expect to return, and will have a carefully planned itinerary of the top things to see and do favouring more famous locations. Domestic travellers do not have the restriction of their visit being a “once in a lifetime” experience, and are also willing to holiday in less well-known places.
3. Word-of-mouth Promotion
Local travellers who have experienced your hospitality may provide a good source of local advertising to friends, family or on social media, more so than international travellers.
HOW TO APPEAL TO THE DOMESTIC MARKET
Be Budget Friendly
The main reason staycations are becoming more popular is the expense of travelling abroad. A staycation venue won’t attract domestic tourists if it doesn’t provide genuine value for money.
Think of the appeal for domestic travellers: To relax? To explore? To re-energize? Not half as much as…To save money!
Do your Research
Start online. Go to the local government website and other websites to research local history and heritage. Find the events local to your area.
Get out and about as well. Be a tourist guide in your local area. Spend time strolling through local museums, natural history spots, and historical landmarks.
You may even be able to start a new local tour or attraction from your research. Explore a national park and look for new ecosystems, animals and habitats.
Remember to take time on your research in advance and decide on the day trips, dinners, and tours you would like to offer your guests.
Network with other Local Businesses
Consider collaborating with local businesses to offer an accommodation plus activities package deal specifically geared towards domestic tourists.
Capitalise on Local Events
Events like music festivals, trade shows, theatre and arts events all provide opportunities to attract domestic travellers. Offering special extras, such as free transport to and from an event can help differentiate from the competition.
Stage your Own Local Event
You can also stage your own event. If you have a good reception space or outdoor entertaining area, host a ticketed event geared towards the locals.
Pick a theme that will resonate well in the community, such as beer sampling from nearby breweries, or a benefit to help a local charity. Ideas include daily happy hours, special dinners created by local chefs, live mic nights or start a games night with tournaments in darts, beer pong, cards or table pool.
Create Package Deals for Staycationers
Help get guests in the vacation spirit. Start putting together experience and activity packages and develop several itineraries. Some ideas for packages:
• Road-trip: exploring local craft breweries, offbeat attractions or guided city tours.
• Beach theme: Have a beach nearby? Create a music play list of the Beach Boys.
• Mountain trip: So many activities: hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing, bike riding or horseback riding. Look for places that rent electric bikes or Segways.
• Pamper packages: If you do not have spa facilities, you could schedule a massage or beauty therapist to come to your establishment.
Offer multiple staycation deals. Plan different packages per season and give your guests the chance to build their own itinerary as well.
Include Extra Perks
As part of a staycation promotion, what perks are available? Perhaps a free drink at the bar? A discounted voucher or free transport to a local attraction or event? Or a specialised happy hour menu?
Locals Only Promotion
Provide local rates. Promote with a special “locals-only” promo code or vouchers and share it on regional blogs and community websites.
Have Local Bloggers Drive Local Interest
Reach out to the local bloggers and news outlets. Invite a few influential local bloggers to experience your venue or visit your attraction, offering a special promo code that the bloggers can share with their readers for a small discount.