Most modern dictionaries define a staycation as a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. It seems that more and more people are deciding to make their vacation a staycation for various reasons. Some may blame the pandemic or a down economy or any number of reasons.
But the truth is that staycations started becoming popular a long time ago. It may be because of the simple fact that some people would simply rather stay close to home. Dragging bags around and standing in the security line at the airports just aren’t too appealing to some.
It’s hard to deny that the pandemic put the brakes on people vacationing. It certainly slowed things down. So much so that airlines, trains, and hotels either went out of business or got real close to closing down. But even prior to that, some people just didn’t care for flying. They either feared air travel, didn’t want to pay the price to fly, preferred driving to their destinations, or all three.
Another reason people prefer staycations is that the road systems in most areas have been so upgraded that it doesn’t take as long to drive from point A to point B. Putting the family in the car and taking back roads to see the sights is still a way to build memories. A recent study by Longwoods International found that 74% of planned trips of vacationers will be by car, and 26% will be by plane. Interestingly, slightly more than half of those driving trips (52%) will be within 200 miles of home.
Finally, people are preferring staycations over more distant trips because they simply don’t have much time. Many employees are not receiving as much vacation time as they used to. Some use up their allotted vacation to take care of home projects or a loved one at home. According to research by Project: Time Off, vacation time has shrunk from an average of more than seven days 25 years ago to just four days. Put another way, one week has become a long weekend which is barely enough time to travel very far.
How To Leverage Vacation Stats
In a report published in 2021, Statista reported that 63% of adults in the US stated that they had taken a staycation while 37% had not. It was also found that 72% of Americans did not take a summer vacation this year. Of those who did travel this summer, 71% opted for a road trip rather than flying.
For planning how your business can take advantage of those who would rather stay near home, above are some stats from a survey of those asked if they went on vacation in the summer of 2020. Accessing this kind of information is not difficult, but is needed if your business is to attract locals to your hospitality business.
Many locals are staying home because they don’t know what is available locally for them to enjoy. It’s up to the hospitality businesses to educate them on what is available. A recent study by Deloitte found that, “Staycation” packages could lure city dwellers eager for a close-to-home respite from the stress of work; destination hotels and resorts could target consumers within a day’s drive, offering a safe, feasible getaway.”
There are four key things you can do now to attract people who want to vacation close to home. Adopt these and your business should not only see a bump in business, but a profitable bubble of repeat business.
1. Evaluate Accommodations
Take a good hard look at your resort or attraction and see if it is appealing to your local market. Would someone from the neighborhood want to stay at your hotel? Would they want to gamble at your casino? Drink at your bar? Use your hospitality services? If you need to change some things, then try to make it happen with the least amount of cost. Sometimes just upgrading or changing some minor decor items to suit your local clients is all that is needed.
2. Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse
A creative and well-crafted offer will attract high paying guests for a staycation. This will take some marketing savvy and a system to track how well your offers are working. Regardless of the segment of the hospitality industry you’re in, consider these offers or a combination thereof:
- Discount vouchers for dining
- Free Uber or Lift services
- Complimentary room upgrades
- Free gambling vouchers with specific dollar value
- Extra in-room amenities, such as champagne, chocolate, and fruit
- Complimentary minibar
- Free round of golf
- Tickets to a concert
- Tickets to a waterpark
- Free shuttle from airport
- Complimentary breakfast
- Complimentary dinner
- Early check-in or late check-out
- Complimentary parking
- Complimentary or discounted spa access or treatments
- Various fun activities for the family included
You might find that some offers are more successful than others. The only way to be sure is to track the pick-up of each campaign closely. You can do this by using a special code on all coupons and vouchers. If an offer is not working as expected, you may need to tweak it and adjust offerings as needed.
3. Promote Local Tourism
Create a campaign that speaks to your neighbors. Use print, radio, and television ads to let the locals know you are there for them. That you will provide the relief, relaxation, and refreshment they so desire. Use social media sites to get the word out. Consider partnering with other local businesses to start a campaign to attract the locals. For example, if you are a hotel, consider partnering with the local movie theatre, pampering spa, or great steakhouse to promote a package deal.
4. Promote Your Office Space
Get the word out that you have a break-out room that would be perfect for the professional who wants to take their family on a vacation, but still has to do some work. Let them know that you have a printer, copier, fax machine, wifi, desk, and so forth. Give them a reason to take a vacation close to home.
Support the Staycation
The world of hospitality was turned upside down these past couple of years. But that doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel. Finding creative ways to attract those who would rather take a break closer to home helps locals, the community, the economy, and your bottom line. Like a chameleon, you will have to change your colors to blend with the times. The effort you put into your local marketing campaign may help you to keep repeat customers for life.