According to Greg Dugal of the Maine Innkeepers Association, Maine is experiencing shorter average stays than a decade ago. This trend is mirroring a national trend and the root of this is based upon peoples lack of free time. Our lives are seemingly more complicated than a generation ago and we are pressed for the precious free time we do have. More activities for the kids, more pressures on the job front, more things going on after work, on weekends…with the end result that we’re becoming time "poor"!
OK, I know that much of that is true for me and from what we hear from our Innkeeper friends, they agree that this phenomenon is having an influence on the season. But what to do?
Bob Smith, owner of the nearly 80 year-old Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg has just opened a new spa and is in the midst of a massive overhaul that includes, new suites, and many other upgrades. Bob says that they are now trying to offer a wider range of guest activities and amenities designed to entice longer stays and that the early results are…positive. They are targeting the family decision maker, the lady of the house, because, according to Bob, she makes the family’s vacation plans about two-thirds of the time. Interesting statistic for future targeted marketing.
At the end of the day, it’s all about packaging and marketing. We hear this from other Innkeepers too… and they are ones that seem to be positively bucking this new trend and are enjoying a good season. Kudos to them!