Posts Tagged ‘flash-sale’

Black Friday- Make It Green for Your Hotel

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Black Friday- Make It Green for Your Hotel

It’s not too early to start planning for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mr. Larry Mogelonsky – CHA

Make no mistake, Black Friday is a beast. For those unfamiliar, I’m not referring to the stock market crash in 1929, but rather the busiest shopping day of the year occurring over the U.S. Thanksgiving long weekend. The day is hugely important for retailers with billions of dollars in sales, and I see no reason why your hotel can’t also capitalize come November 25, 2011. But first, let’s review some history and how it ties into present day consumer expectations.

The Thanksgiving weekend is the traditional time for people to start their Christmas gift purchases, something established long before the official naming of this grand sales event. Our current iteration of Black Friday originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s when the combination of fans for the annual Army-Navy football game and shoppers drove the city into a bottleneck. It has since evolved to more generically reference the bedlam at malls nationwide and the point at which retailers go from red to black in the accounting books.

With most people taking time off work and its prime placement before the upcoming holiday season, Black Friday has always been destined for great things. In an effort to lure this blip of consumers and heighten impulse buys, a few select retailers started by offering Black Friday promotions. This in turn caused other vendors to compete with their own Thanksgiving specials and extended shopping hours. Soon, everyone had their own limited-time deals, all vying for customer dollars.

With the Internet, this behavior went haywire. Flashy websites and social media inform shoppers of Black Friday promotions well in advance of the day, as well as inundate those consumers with reminders of the event. Many companies offer Internet-only specials. The World Wide Web also lets people comparison shop to better locate the best deals.

It’s peer pressure on a massive scale. Those who aren’t involved may feel as though they’re missing out, while those already in the fray may be inclined to ramp up their deals to stay ahead of the pack. As such, Black Friday specials are now the norm, and in order to continually draw attention, many retailers have resorted to exorbitant discounts, often far exceeding anything else during the year. This has also perpetuated a “wait until Black Friday” mentality which puts even more focus on this day.

Purchasing hotel rooms, however, is quite different from retail purchases. But, who’s to say hotels can’t join this phenomenon? The best way to get the ball rolling is to use your website to promote your deal as well as provide the avenue for transactions via your online booking engine.

Alas, it’s not that simple. Black Friday is the most competitive shopping day of the year and everyone else has already slashed their prices. A regular deal will only be met with a ho-hum response. You’ll have to be aggressive and add a touch of creativity if you really want to stand out and profit.

For starters, map out an offer your guests can’t refuse. The easy way is with strong discounts on room rate. This tactic makes sense if you are offering rooms in a forecasted lower occupancy period, but it might also erode ADR to the point of putting you back in the red.

You can avoid this dip by limiting the number of rooms at this deep discount. Or, in lieu of a significant markdown, build a moderate price reduction into a leisure package which might also include transportation, meals or spa treatments – anything that will make the future experience streamlined and carefree. Lastly, to mitigate loss, consider adding criteria such as full pre-payment and a limited or no cancellation policy.

Next, create a standalone flash sale site to further differentiate your Black Friday specials from your other promotions. The goal is to market your deal explicitly and drive impulse buys. The design should be straightforward with the specs bolded in a list on the home page, social media icons populated correctly and a direct path to purchase. Emphasize the holiday spirit of gift giving and perhaps consider placing a countdown ticker, keeping in mind that web sales don’t have to abide by regular store hours.

But all your web efforts and RevPAR number crunching will be in vain if you don’t promote the endeavor. Again, your home base is your website. Add a tiny banner or javascript announcement to the corner of the screen that links to your dedicated sales page or flash site. Next, leverage your social media connections to build anticipation with a slow drip of the inside scoop. As an aside, these networks are very pervasive tools to coerce shoppers the day of and to answer questions about your deal.

As you well should know, the only way to build this anticipation is through diligent preparation. If you’re going to rake in the crowds like some of the current retail juggernauts, you have to form a plan by the end of September at the latest so that the marketing engine won’t have to resort to last-minute tactics. If you give this project your full attention, I see no reason why Black Friday can’t be green for your hotel.

Survey Reveals Key Leisure Travel Trends for Americans

Friday, August 19th, 2011
Survey Reveals Key Leisure Travel Trends for Americans PDF Print
Published by Ozgur Tore
Sunday, 14 August 2011 01:23
Make today matter: that’s the mantra of today’s resourceful and increasingly experiential travelers, according to the newly released Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of American Travelers(SM).

online-travelThis national survey of just over 2,500 adults tracks the emerging travel habits, preferences and intentions of American leisure travelers and provides valuable insights into the motivations that guide their planning and purchasing behavior.

At the core of this year’s findings is the sustained sense of “new resourcefulness” embraced by travelers, a response to Americans’ unwavering commitment to travel despite persistent economic concerns. Americans treasure their leisure and vacation time – citing travel as their number two passion behind family, the survey found. These travelers are also savvier and more self-reliant since the arrival of the Great Recession, however. Also enabled by the continued growth of the Internet, they are more determined than ever to obtain the most value from their travel purchases – though their definition of this is no longer based on price alone.

What does this mean for the year ahead in the travel industry? The 2011 Portrait of American Travelers(SM) reveals the following key trends:

THE YEAR AHEAD

• More than three-quarters of U.S. consumers (77 percent) agree they “have become a much smarter shopper thanks to today’s economic situation;”

• Among leisure travelers who have used the Internet to obtain travel information or to make a reservation, more than eight in ten say the most desirable features in a travel-service supplier website are the ability to check the lowest fares/rates (84 percent) and the lowest price/rate guarantee (82 percent);

• Fully three in ten (30 percent) leisure travelers took a “staycation” – an overnight trip within a 50-mile drive radius of their home – as an alternative to a vacation requiring a greater travel distance within the past 12 months, a significant increase from 26 percent taking such a trip in 2010;

• Nearly two in three travelers (64 percent) say they are willing to pay full price if they are guaranteed the quality and service they believe they deserve;

• Experience-based travel involving family and friends rules: the leading types of leisure trips remain visiting friends and relatives (50 percent) and family vacations (42 percent);

• Roughly one-half of leisure travelers (44 percent) have participated in outdoor activities such as a beach/lake trip, camping/hiking/climbing, snow skiing/boarding, fishing, golf, adventure/outfitting or hunting on a vacation during the previous year;

• Fully seven in ten leisure travelers (70 percent) have taken a “celebration vacation” in the past 12 months, coincidental with the recognition of a significant “life event” such as milestone birthday or anniversary;

• Nearly one-third of leisure travelers (30 percent) have taken a last-minute leisure trip (booked, on average, six days prior to departure) during the past 12 months;

• Two in ten (20 percent) leisure travelers purchased a travel service as a result of a flash sale – a time-sensitive offer delivered through an unexpected email from a travel-service supplier;

• The Caribbean (34 percent), Europe (33 percent) and Mexico (26 percent) remain the top international destinations visited by American travelers during the past two years;

• The percentage of travelers who have downloaded a smartphone travel app jumped from 19 percent last year to 28 percent in 2011;

• The majority of leisure travelers belong to one or more frequent-flyer (68 percent) or frequent-guest programs (57 percent);

• Roughly two in ten active leisure travelers (18 percent) utilized the services of a traditional travel agent in the past 12 months, and younger travelers (Millennials) are slightly more likely to book through a travel agent than their older counterparts;

• Social media are gaining credibility as a trusted information source: among those who have visited an online community, travel forum or blog to seek and/or review information about a destination or service provider, three out of five leisure travelers (61 percent) visited TripAdvisor prior to booking a hotel reservation, while one in five (18 percent) visited YouTube in the past 12 months;

• One-third of travelers (33 percent) have visited an online community, travel forum or blog to seek and/or review information about a destination or travel-service supplier during the past 12 months.

The Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of American Travelers(SM) is a national survey of 2,539 U.S. households that was conducted in March 2011. The results provide an in-depth examination of the impact of the current economic environment, social values and media practices on the travel habits of Americans with an annual household income of $50,000 or more who have taken at least one leisure trip of 75 miles or more from home requiring overnight accommodations during the previous 12 months.

Study shows U.S. travelers are pressed for time, eager to relax

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Study shows U.S. travelers are pressed for time, eager to relax

Peter YesawichPeter Yesawich, president and CEO of Ypartnership, talks to members of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association recently about trends in the travel industry. (Steven Graffham, Winter Park Photography / July 24, 2011
By Sara K. Clarke, Orlando Sentinel7:54 a.m. CDT, July 25, 2011

The latest snapshot of U.S. travelers reveals them to be a stressed-out bunch who remain sensitive to price and continue to suffer from a syndrome known as “time poverty.”

That could prove to be a challenge for Central Florida’s tourism industry, but there is good news as well in the newest research by the Maitland travel research-and-marketing firm Ypartnership. For one thing, the number of people who say they are planning to take a leisure trip in the near future is rising, a sign that demand is returning.

When asked about their travel intentions, 61 percent of those surveyed said they planned to take a vacation by October, up from 56 percent at this time last year. About 14 percent of travelers said they plan to take at least one business trip during the same period, on par with a year ago.

“It’s pretty obvious that the destiny of the travel industry is listing toward leisure,” Peter Yesawich, the company’s chief executive officer, told hoteliers recently during a gathering of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association.

Yesawich drew his conclusions from two sets of data: the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of American Travelers and a quarterly poll of traveler intentions.

When it comes to finances, travelers say they’re more concerned this year about just about everything: the cost of gas, the cost of airline tickets, the economy in general. More than a third say they’re using coupons more often, and 31 percent say they’re waiting for sales more frequently.

That reluctance to pay higher prices has manifested itself at Orlando hotels, where occupancy is rebounding more quickly than average room price. Hoteliers managed to raise rates 5.1 percent during the first half of the year, but average daily room rates in Orlando are expected to remain below their peaks in 2007 and 2008 through the end of next year, according to Smith Travel Research, which surveys the hospitality industry.

“We’re still seeing people looking for the best deal,” said Scott Tripoli, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal. “A lot of shopping going on out there, a lot of third-party bookings.”

To lure price-sensitive travelers, some in the industry have turned to time-sensitive discounts — also known as flash sales — that encourage consumers to make quick decisions when booking.

A full 20 percent of leisure travelers said they have purchased a travel service through a flash-sale email, up from 14 percent last year, according to Ypartnership. Private sales and collective buying, on websites such as Sniqueaway.com or via companies like Groupon and LivingSocial, are also catching on.

At the Mona Lisa Suite Hotel in Celebration, flash sales are a part of the marketing plan, used to drive demand during slower months such as August and September. The hotel recently offered a two-night stay in a suite, with complimentary breakfast, for $184.99 a person on Overstock.com‘s vacations website.

The short-term sales, generally good for a few hours to a few days, create a sense of urgency and are effective in helping consumers focus on a purchase decision, said Deborah Farish, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.

“As long as you have a wonderful offer, something that is intriguing, something the consumer perceives as added value, … you can get great success,” she said. “If you put the flash up, you often see immediate results.”

While flash sales are gaining speed, Yesawich says the “long-form vacation” is losing ground. Pressed for time — something Yesawich terms “time poverty” — travelers are abandoning the weeklong escape and looking instead for close, quick getaways.

Orlando appears to be capitalizing already on that short-haul market: Last year, the destination drew more than half of its 38.3 million domestic visitors from within the Sunshine State, according to data from Visit Orlando, the area’s quasi-private tourism-marketing agency.

When they do arrive at their quick getaway, travelers want to be able to relax as soon as possible. That’s one reason the hotel spa is one of the hottest amenities in the industry, Yesawich said.

And with no time to spare, even during a vacation, consumers expect to have their expectations met.

“Tolerance for anything going wrong today is zero,” Yesawich said.



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