How to get in front of the staycation market

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Season 8 Episode 40. This is a recap of Facebook live video where I talked about staycation.

Here’s the audio for this episode:

Here’s the video for this episode:

Timestamp

02:50 About staycation
04:20 A sample scenario
07:10 Recent survey about staycation
08:30 Facebook ad radius
11:50 Contact a local newspaper in your area
13:00 Go to parks
16:00 Become your local expert
17:40 Focus on your previous guests
20:00 Print a postcard
27:40 Gift vouchers

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Transcript from the Episode

I want to stress the word staycation because I know there’s going to be a lot of people here tuning in from you know, your mainland Europe. And when I say mainland Europe, I mean, you know, you’ve got your Italy, France, you Spain, Germany, you’ve got Holland, and you’ve got Belgium and you’ve got the countries in and around all of that. Basically what I mean with staycation is that somebody will jump in their car, whether it’s a family, a couple solo traveler, or groups of people that will jump in their car, and they will drive to a destination.

Now the types of transport that I can see quite clearly being ruled out in the short term is flying. This episode as much as it is for everybody. I really want people to focus on the staycation aspect of it. So how you can start to attract people that are a drive away.

A sample scenario about staycation

I want to set a scenario for you right now. In 2019. There were 30 million people who took a cruise around the world. Now, what are that 30 million people going to be doing in 2020? Now, even if just 10% of those people will be booking their 2021 cruises. I was watching a lot of news report ends and clips over the course of the last sort of five days. And you know, one of them was saying that there are people that are booking their 2021 cruise cruises at present and Because it is a super reduced price, but it’s a very low number.

So there’s a lot of people out there that are not going to be taking their cruise. And what if those people that are that only vacation that they take in a year. So instantly, there are more people that are going to be looking to take an alternative type of vacation.

Secondly, and I want to set the scene. So airports and airlines are all talking about what the new normal will look like, say, a family shells out two grand on a holiday two or three grand on a holiday, save it, we spend all that money, we do all of the things we get to the airport and say Frankie, for whatever reason, has got a temperature because and the thermal scanner spot this. Now, what does that mean? Does that mean that we can’t fly? Does that mean just because you know, one of our family members, and then we can’t travel. And this is the sort of feeling and this is a sort of scenarios that so many people are thinking about and again, for us right now we’re in Scarborough. And we are, we are actively looking at how and when we can get back home to Spain.

And right now, we are not that confident about taking our young family on a flight again, because they’re saying everybody has to wear face masks, for example. But you know, anybody who has a one-year-old or two year old as a child, the chances of them keeping that face mask on is, is practically impossible.

So again, the confidence of jumping on a plane right now is very slim for us. So we’re actively looking at other ways and means of how we can get back to Spain. And then you got to think, Okay, well, how many people do you know that jump on flights and go on their holiday. So there’s all of them as well, that will be looking to get away they want to have a vacation, they want to be able to, to have something to look forward to.

And this is something that we have been talking about massively over the course of the last two months. We’ve been talking about how right now for, you know, nearly two months, half of the world has been on lockdown.

Recent survey about staycation

There was and a recent survey that was done out of the recent survey that was done. And people were saying what type of vacation Are you looking at making when you can potentially make the booking, and it was over 60% of them said that they would be going to stay on holiday, whether it would be a couple of days a week, a couple of weeks, within a 200 mile radius of where they live.

So 200 miles, you’re sort of talking, you know, four hours for four hours in a car journey away from where they are, and it was a large majority, the next one was a little bit further where they were, they will go up to 400 miles away. But the over riding majority of people were saying that they would jump in a car, nobody was confident enough to go on a cruise, nobody was competent to jump on a plane.

So what I’m saying for you right now, wherever you are in the world, and however you’ve been doing your marketing, whether you’ve been again, heavily reliant on third parties or you’ve been actively looking to get your own bookings right now, then, there’s definitely a lot of things that you can be doing to be proactive on this.

Facebook ad radius to target staycation market

If you are active on Facebook, and particularly Facebook ads, one of the cool features of Facebook advertising is that you can set an ad radius. Now what does that mean, in simple terms, is that you can go onto Facebook and they give you a map. And you can draw a big circle of 200-mile radius or 100-mile radius or a 50-mile radius around your property.

And if anybody is living within that area, you can have a Facebook ad pop up on their newsfeed where you can promote your property. So again, the terminology and the copy and the words that you would be using and I will be encouraging everybody to do this would be your ideal staycation vacation.

Now if you’re thinking Well, I’m not entirely sure of which areas, then the cool thing is specifically, if if you’ve had guests before in the past, then if you just go into your property management software, when I say that, I mean free to book, Zeevou, Super control, etc. And if you go into the reporting tool, you’ll be able to find out where your guests come from. So you may already have, you know, out of 100 guests, you may have 50 or 60 of them that come from one specific area.

Now where we are now Scarborough I know from the reports and the work that we’ve done in the past, when we’re looking at previous cases that we get a large majority of our guests come from the the Leeds, Wakefield Doncaster, that sort of triangle. So for me, what I would be doing would be going to find local Facebook groups, Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, that sort of triangle, you can do the same.

And again, for bed and breakfasts out there, or small hotels, even rental properties. If you take guests registration forms, this is even easier, because you know, we’ve got a closet full of thousands of them. And we could just go through there. Again, just put half aside half a day aside, as you’re watching bargain hunt, or escape to the Chateau or whatever you, whatever you’re doing in the daytime will be gone that Netflix binge, and you could just start to sort them all out into locations, get the pile piles together, of where the most popular ones are.

Contact a local newspaper in your area

Now if you want to do something a little bit different, and again, nobody else will be doing this. So you’d be the first. And it would be the best time ever, probably in the last 20 years to do this, you only have a time maybe would be the 2008 financial crises that save it, for example, you get a large majority of your previous guests. And you know this from the records or if there’s an area that you want to target, then you can call on contact a local newspaper in an area. And right now, local print paid advertising, whether it’s the newspaper, or it’s one of those magazines that go out in every doorstep, they are wanting money, they need your money so bad. And you could negotiate a really good rate here where, say, for example, over a course of four weeks, if there’s a weekly newspaper, for example, you could have eight newspaper additions newspaper prints for so for two months, if it’s a weekly paper, you’ll have an advert that would be just talking about staycation.

And again, you can have it where it’s post COVID. So and again, we’re going to talk about your USPS very, very soon. But you could go to these places you can find these publications and you can negotiate a really, really effective right and again, I guarantee you nobody else is thinking about this right now.

These companies they will have had their income higher if not more, you know, they would have lost a lot of our revenue. So you’ve got the perfect chance now, just as the world is about to flip on again, and people aren’t going to be able to go out and move around and whatnot, you’d be able to start spreading the word.

Go to parks

Another tactic could be the more but and again, this is pretty UK centric, but you could do it anywhere, but go to the places where people are going to be. So parks, UK parks are where people are able to go and walk around and mingle. And what if you’re going to go down to your local park, why not have a couple of fliers and find a notice board and see if you can put your advertisement on a notice board, people are walking around, could want to go back home, and you know, the more that the restrictions are lowered.

And again, you could put that little advertisement up. Now that person who sees it may not be wanting to book but that they may know somebody who’s looking for accommodation, they may know a key worker who might need accommodation, or they may need to find somebody for an accommodation work soon because sooner rather than later, these restrictions are going to lower and are going to able to have people to travel and whatnot. So again, if you can just print off a couple of flyers, find a notice board in your local park where people are able to mill around a bit more now, or you know, or any of these sorts of community knows, but just go put it up? What’s the worst that can happen.

Become your local expert

If you’ve got a local radio station in and around where you are, there are so many people that are coming on to the radio show, there are people that are wanting to be interviewed. And again, you could become the local hospitality person for your areas. While you know it over the course of a couple of months, when once again, when somebody is looking to come to the area, and they ask on a Facebook group to say, Hey, I’m looking for somewhere to go. According to the area, who do you recommend, because you’re the person that showed and stepped up, then you’re the big bit of one that people will recommend.

Focus on your previous guests

Focus on the previous guests that are 100 200 300 miles away from where you are based. And those will be the first people that I would be honored to be contacting the second people that I will be contacting would be anybody who has canceled on you since March the 11th. So I guarantee everybody who is watching this will have had a cancellation. They will have booked with you for a reason. And again, just because they’ve cancelled do not just dismiss them, they will have booked with you for a reason.

Now is the time to be picking up the phone, picking up the email, picking up the text or whatever you’re going to do and get in contact with them. I would obviously start from the furthest away to the more recent but again, just five or 10 a day contacting people and just saying you know we are getting ready to reopen, I can see that you made a booking you’ll have the rate that they booked for how many nights they booked for say I am more than happy to move you to a future date we are getting ready to reopen. Would you like to rebook with us?

All you need is that one yes is that gives you so much confidence and then again, it will just give you the confidence to do more and more and more. I would be making the effort to pick in the phone up and try to have a conversation with them.

Print a postcard

Design a postcard have it printed off. Handwrite your previous guests a little message and post it off. And the reason why I love this is just to say, Hey, we’re open is that right now we live in the world of digital, everything is his phone, everything is email, everything is whatever, nobody really gets anything in the post.

So if you were to send a postcard that instantly will get the attention now more than ever, where everybody is in his house. And if you were to act now, before lockdown and restrictions properly come down, it’s gonna get so much more attention. Now, even if they don’t look, just imagine if somebody goes, you know, it’s really nice. And you know, if I were to grab their phone, take a picture, post it on their Instagram stories on their Facebook wall or wherever and just say, thank you so much for the postcard, then that social media post in itself will be as effective as a booking.

Unique selling points for the staycation market

Our unique selling point in Grainary is a family-friendly farm stay property. Our USP is that you get to bottle feed baby animals you get to go on amazing walks from literally from here, you know, we’ve got hot tubs, we’ve got the views, you know, it’s it’s an amazing breakfast, you know, all of these sort of things are our unique selling points, all of this is going to change.

Two most important things that people are looking for based on the surveys and the studies that have been recently done by fuel travel and skift. And, and other big, big brands. Is that number one, they want to have safety. And number two, is they want to have a worry free cancellation policy.

Now what do I mean by that? I want to talk about both. So number one, safety is obvious what cleaning processes have been put in place by the business? When was the previous guest stay in there? What precautions of the cleaning team put into practice, that safety Am I going to be safe from staying in your property?

Number two is the worry-free. So the reason why 70% of people are currently sat on the fence is that they don’t want to make a booking for say, July, if they’re then going to have to cancel or to move it and have penalties for doing so. So this is where you’ve got to be super proactive mainly on these two things alone. And I would be shouting out about this from the rooftops as in on your website, on your social media.

And I don’t know how long you’re gonna have to talk about it. Now having a worry-free cancellation policy unless you’re willing to put control as your PMS unless you’ve got master cancel and you know, as visible things been set up. Unless you’ve got that in practice, then I don’t know how long you’re going to have to do this for and it’s again, for the world of hospitality, having a worry-free cancellation is something that is kind of unheard of specifically for rental properties and those have got super strict cancellation policies.

And again, I’m not going to tell you how To set up your policy, you know, you do what’s best for you and your business and you know, etc. But what I’m saying is right now is that I would be, this is how I would be structuring this and I will be bridging it is I would be looking to get the full fee for the booking upfront.

But I would also be saying, Listen, Mr. Smith, you have got a worry-free cancellation policy right now. So if at any point that you can’t travel it with us, we will move it for you, at any point to any day in the future. Again, I wouldn’t be stressing about the cancel word I’ll be saying about changing it or moving it even better.

I would be now looking to put more things that will entice people in and talk about it. Cause even when the restrictions are lifted, what you’re going to find is that people are just going to want to escape their home, even if that means that they’ll just drive 100 or 200 miles down the road to have a change of scenery for a week.

I wouldn’t discredit that so they’ll even like work from your home or you know your rental. But again for the family members maybe for the kids, you know what can you do to entice them? Again, by having things like Disney plus having Netflix by getting board games even you know things like a Nintendo Switch, things that you can do but a different from other people try and find these things that you can put in that again, that will make you you stand out.

Gift vouchers

I put this post and I put this question up in the hospitality community about effective ways of setting up gift vouchers that there’s a website called gift up app.com, where you can create gift vouchers and they just charge a small commission, there is square. So if anybody knows square, it’s a payment terminal. They’re doing gift vouchers.

But what I found out as well as a lot of the PMS is creating free gift vouchers within their booking system. Now the reason why this is important, is because you can create a credit system. And again, I’ve been looking to do so with the businesses, the local businesses.

So I’ve been going to the local coffee shop and I’ve been saying hey, can I buy Can I give you some money, you know, can know you can open, but can I give you some money? Can I buy credits, so I can when I do come back to Javea, I can just use a gift card or whatever to get my get my coffee.

And again, we’ve done the same thing to our Spanish tutor for Alfie. And we’re doing the same things for other places. But again, that the surveys and the stats and the results that have been coming out from these consumer surveys is that over 90% of them said that if a place that they stayed so in the past, reached out to them and offered this service, then they would go for it.

So again, this is what I want everybody to consider doing and if anybody has had a booking cancelled, you can create the gift service voucher and you could just give them a ridiculously good offer.

Before you leave

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