Domestic Tourism: How to Secure More Local Bookings For Your Hotel
Going on holiday doesn’t always have to mean catching flights and exchanging currencies. There’s a lot to be said for taking trips within one’s home country. With COVID-19 making international travel riskier than ever, domestic trips could be huge this summer.
Whether they are visiting friends and family, going away on business, or simply taking a well-needed leisure holiday—domestic customers shouldn’t be overlooked.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the following topics
- What is domestic tourism?
- How can you gear your hotel towards a domestic market?
- How technology can help?
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What is domestic tourism?
Unlike inbound tourism (where people from one country visit another) domestic tourism is when people visit holiday destinations in their own country.
The UK domestic tourism is a booming sector that employs 2.6 million people. Tighter budgets and the rise in popularity of staycations and mini-breaks has meant that domestic visits were higher than trips abroad in 2018.
In 2019, domestic tourists from urban areas injected £25 billion into seaside and rural economies, creating jobs and growing otherwise ailing local economies.
And Britain’s love for domestic travel isn’t going anywhere. In fact, hotels have to connect with their local clientele more than ever before.
Domestic tourism may serve to compensate for a loss in international travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It can also stimulate the economic growth of areas of the country that have previously seen less investment, helping to address regional wealth imbalances and ensure prosperity after Brexit.
How to gear your hotel towards the domestic market
While you shouldn’t neglect your international customers, shifting your focus towards your homegrown clientele will provide a much-needed source of revenue during a lull in international travel.
It’s uplifting to see that many large hotels saw hikes in bookings of up to 575% in June 2020 once the UK government announced its plan to relax lockdown rules
So how can you prepare for the influx of domestic bookings to your hotel?
Learn from the past
Think back to before the pandemic: what kind of guests were staying at your hotel? Was most it families, or urban couples seeking escape? What proportion were lone individuals on business trips?
Use guest data collected on your hotel PMS software and CRM system to gain insight into who your guests are. Ask yourself whether those audiences are still viable clientele, and consider the potential that lies in the domestic market.
Some great hotel PMS solutions include:
Consider which aspects of your offering brought in the most sales. Analyse past sales data in your hotel restaurant ePOS. Was the bulk of your sales coming from your restaurant, or from room service?
If your hotel restaurant was a prime source of revenue in the past, it may be a sound strategy to market your restaurant to local clientele, and create specialised deals and promos in your ePOS backend.
Get into tourists’ heads
Social media is a valuable tool for connecting with people across the world, but it can also be used to connect with local audiences as well, and let them know you exist.
Now would be a time to engage with potential domestic clientele and get a feeling for what customers expect and what their pain points are. Use your presence on social media to gauge what guests are feeling, and start a dialogue about what they expect from hotels at this time.
Here are some tips for those of you who don’t have an established social media presence yet:
Choose the right platform: if you’re posting on the wrong platform, you’re not going to reach the people you want to. Consider which audience use which platforms. Older audiences have a larger presence of Facebook, for example, whereas younger ones spend more time on Instagram or TikTok.
Tap into local influencers: many small businesses invest in micro-influencer marketing, which is when you partner with individuals that align with your brand to promote your products with authentic, visual posts on their social media accounts.
This type of marketing strategy has such a high return on investment because influencers act as social proof for your brand, encouraging those who follow and trust them to try your product. Since the recommendation is coming from a trusted source, that influencer’s followers are more likely to trust and try your brand.
Follow the 60/30/10 rule: According to SnapRetail, the 60/30/10 rule states that 60% of the posts you create should be engaging content that gets people reacting, commenting and sharing, 30 percent should be shared content, and 10 percent should be promoting your products and services, sales, events, etc. Apply the 80/30/10 rule to maximize your engagements on social media with a mix of engaging, shared, and promotional content.
Learn from others
Pay attention to what other hotels are doing, and consider what you can realistically implement into your own hotel.
Is it possible to give temperature checks at the door? Have you introduced contactless solutions such as mobile check-in to your technology stack? Have you adjusted your floor plan to reflect social distancing measures?
- The Fife Arms in Braemer have installed sanitisation stations throughout their sprawling Victorian premises and have updated their technology stack for contactless online check-in.
- The Bird, Bath has discontinued its breakfast buffet. Breakfast can now be pre-ordered the night before. In their hotel restaurant, they are adopting a mobile app which allows for completely contactless ordering and card payment.
- The extravagant Chewton Glen in New Milton has redesigned its restaurant floor plan to accommodate social distancing, and has even removed salt and pepper shakers from their tables (these are available on request, and cleaned after every use). They’ve also been able to expand capacity by utilising their existing outdoor space.
Such measures are important for making guests feel safe and secure, and giving them the confidence to come to your hotel. Make sure you also communicate the measure you’ve taken on social media.
Leverage local assets
Guests’ movements have been restricted for months and they may now be hungry for adventure and new experiences. Now is the time to show off what your hotel, and your region, can offer.
What appeals to your international clientele might not be as attractive to your domestic market. Do your research into what your local area has to offer domestic tourists.
- Know your local beauty spots and advertise them (now possibly with less crowds due to less international tourists).
- Local industries in your area? See if you can work with local artisans to offer workshops for their crafts.
- Research nearby hiking routes for opportunities to offer walking tour packages.
- Make use of historical landmarks in the area, and invite guests to get in touch with local history and stories.
- Team up with local experts to offer wildlife excursions or nature trails.
Travel bloggers may well be setting their sights on domestic locations due to difficulty around international travel. Try getting in touch with a few to share their ideas and possibly promote your hotel in their content.
Email marketing is an effective tool for drawing attention to local attractions. With ePOS integrations like Mailchimp, you can target specific audiences with content and promotions that will interest them.
For example, families with children may be particularly drawn to attractions such as zoos and theme parks in the area – leverage these assets to target these audiences, and even team up with local attractions for mutual benefit.
Time to update your hotel tech?
Whether they’re taking a staycations or visiting on a business trip, domestic guests will still expect a frictionless hotel experience. With the right technology, you can deliver exactly that.
PMS and ePOS
Consider updating PMS and ePOS technology to make customer service more efficient. To get ahead in today’s market, your PMS should be able to connect seamlessly with other systems, such as:
- Central Reservation System (CRS)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Revenue Management System
- Channel Manager
- Point of Sale system for retail and restaurant
Legacy vs Cloud
If you’re using a legacy system in your hotel, now may be the time to weigh up the costs and benefits of switching to a cloud-based system.
Legacy systems are those established technologies that hotels, restaurants and other businesses have been using for years. They may be what you’re used to using and feel most comfortable with. But in uncertain times, innovation is key.
Cloud-based systems take a more integrative approach to technology for running your business, and allow both flexibility and security across multiple touchpoints and locations, and allow business owners to better access the data they need to drive their business forward.
They boast a range of features that are more crucial for hotels than ever such as contactless check in, order to room, order to table and charge to room.
Lightspeed cloud-based ePOS provides several integration options with PMS systems and mobile ordering, and can be used for your hotel restaurant, gift shop or golf course.
Curious what a hotel restaurant ePOS can do for you?
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