Remember 2008? Or would you rather forget about it? Yeah me too, it’s over, kaput! Remember the term ‘staycation’? That alternative for vacation that popped up and became popular during the era between 2007-2010 where folks were encouraged to have fun at home instead of traveling to a vacation destination, like your bed and breakfast! Well it is still around. An interesting find was a ‘staycation idea’ website that lists suggestions for creating stay at home packages for family and friends. After reading through some of these suggestions I started thinking that they could also inspire ‘staycation packages’ for bed and breakfasts.
How many of you have guests that come from neighboring towns less than a 30 minute drive away? These folks decided to get away from home for their ‘staycation’. What a great demographic to start capturing. Your time-deprived potential guests are out there, close by, and they are seeking someone to tell them where to stay, what to do and how much to spend. Voila…
Staycation – Close to Home Yet Far Enough Away
Rick and I recently overheard two women at a table next to ours at lunch comment that they would love to plan a shopping trip to the Kittery Outlets and stay at a bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport. These women lived in Portland, a 30 minute drive to Kennebunkport and then another 30 minute drive to Kittery.
Besides shopping there are plenty of activities that could be incorporated into your ‘staycation’ Inn packages. Just think of all the local places you have longed to visit, the spa treatment you have wanted to try, the watercolor class you have dreamed of taking, but have not had the time. There are plenty of ‘time deprived’ people out there that feel the same.
I did a little research in our area and came up with a package I would sign up for.
- Rivertree Arts presents ‘Black and White”. Start the evening viewing an exhibition of historic mid-century B&W photos of Wall Street. Follow with a ‘Concert and a Movie’ event featuring live music accompanying a groundbreaking 1921 B&W silent film. End the evening with a late light supper at the Old Vines Wine Bar. All these events are within walking distance from the Inn. Start the next day with a wonderful breakfast followed by a walk on the beach or…?
This following idea was from the ‘staycation’ idea website.
- ‘Inn Our Own Backyard’ – Host your own tournaments, croquet, badminton, bocce ball, and horseshoes, with prizes. This could be a great inn to inn activity. End the day with a barbeque.
Of course all these package ideas may also be ideal for guests from far away, but your marketing to the ‘staycation’ guests will be different. I asked Scott Thomas, innkeeper and social media marketing expert from the Brewster House Bed & Breakfast in Freeport, Maine to comment and make some suggestions.
“Just last weekend we had a last-minute call from someone an hour north of us, who just wanted a one-night getaway. Great! I think that does call for some emphasis on reaching the ‘local’ market – from 30-120 minutes’ drive. I realize that the 2 hour drive takes people into the ‘normal’ range, but if there is a metro area near the edge of the 60-90 minute range, you wouldn’t want to leave them out.
“I would definitely urge people to be sure their Google and Bing local listings are up-to-date, and that they are taking advantage of putting ‘an update’ on the Google Place page (they are free, and stay up for 30 days). We recently had guests searching for Valentine’s packages and they say we came up first (which I doubt, but it depends on how they searched, I suppose). If so, it is because I had a Valentine’s package in the Google Pages listing. I also would definitely identify guests within a day’s drive and email them about the package.”
Thank you Scott. This is good stuff, especially the Google and Bing local listing advice.
You may have a local TV channel that has a community bulletin board. Use Facebook to promote your package, add photos and make it easy for them to book, now. Cross promote with the business partner you include in your package, i.e. the art center and restaurant. Remember, a package is for guests who want everything all wrapped up and easy to book with one all-inclusive price.
I end this with an interesting statistic.
“226 million vacation days will go unused this year resulting in some 50 million Americans becoming ‘vacation deprived’ says travel company Monograms.”
I think those 50 million Americans could use an ‘Inn staycation’. You agree?
* Money and keys image courtesy of David Souza, Tax Brackets.org Publishing.