6 creative ways you can market your hotel for Outdoor Activity-Based Travel!

Written by Alexandra Kahr, Head of Communications at Stay22, with the data collected by Stay22 and its solution

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Outdoor experiences and activity-based travel are leading the recovery of the travel industry, as we’ve previously covered in this article. After collecting the data from our Stay22 solution and the 18M monthly users that interact with it worldwide from April & June we were able to reach the following conclusions:

  • Outdoor Activity-Based Travel (OABT) has experienced a 500% increase in bookings.
  • OABT has a superior click to booking ratio than other segments: 15% vs 6%
  • They also experience longer stays than the rest of the travel industry: 4 nights vs. 3 nights.
  • This segment of travel also strongly favors Airbnb: 80% vs 20%

Does this mean hotels don’t stand a chance in this travel segment? Absolutely not! We mentioned in our last article some of the reasons that may influence travelers booking behaviors, including:

  • Wanting to spend time outdoors after spending several months indoors due to the lockdown
  • Choosing outdoor activities away from crowds to respect social distancing
  • Airbnb offering flexibility, proximity to outdoor activities, as well as amenities like BBQs and outdoor spaces to enjoy.

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The public’s concerns have shifted, which means that as a hotel you might have to change your marketing strategy. Here are a few suggestions you should keep in mind if you want to remain competitive against Airbnb’s in this recovering segment of travel:

1.) Market your outdoor space: We live in a visual world where an image speaks a thousand words and video is king. So if your hotel has ample gardens, access to water, or any form of outdoor space that would be desirable to the public make sure you place a strong emphasis on marketing this! Take beautiful and appealing photos of these spaces, film videos of the greenery or spacious venues, and update your website and social media to make sure that people are aware you offer this. Hotels are no longer just rooms for rent, they’re an escape so market your hotel as liberating.

2.) Promote outdoor activities: Travelers are favoring experiences over location so if you want them to choose you, make sure you promote outdoor activities as one of the perks of staying with you. Whether it’s because you offer them, or are near them, make sure you market them. Perhaps you can even make itineraries of outdoor activities people can enjoy when staying at your hotel, and promote them to different demographics like families, couples, young groups of friends…etc! This also includes any outdoor amenities you may offer to your guests, those are experiences too! Do you have a fire pit for people to enjoy in the evening? Does your hotel offer bikes, paddleboards, and such as a part of your stay? How about BBQs? These types of questions are the ones your guests will be asking themselves when determining where they stay, so make sure you think of them too!

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3.) Communicate the outdoor spaces near you: When thinking about promoting outdoor spaces don’t just limit yourself to your venue, make sure you inform the public of what outdoor attractions are near you. Several people book their accommodation because they want to be at the epicenter of outdoor activities like hiking trails, lakes, and national parks. Associate your hotel to these activities so that you can become the epicenter. Offer maps of these outdoor spaces with your hotel at the heart of it, as well as the transport to these attractions to make it easier for people to reach them.

4.) Be present on OABT platforms: Nowadays travelers choose their activities first, and accommodations second. This means that the start of your guests’ travel journey will most likely begin on OABT websites and platforms like Hikster or Rove.me. Take the time to research which ones have content that covers your geography and how you would market your hotels to those users, directly on said platform. Stay22’s Hotel Sponsored Listing product is a great way, amongst others, to do so.

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5.) Keep your social media ‘green’: We’ve spoken about marketing your outdoor space, but don’t forget about social media! Show the world the greenery and spacious outdoors that you can offer, promote your plans, and share this information on all of your channels. Turn your social media feed into a beautiful escape into the wilderness to help the public associate your hotel to the outdoors!

6.) Don’t forget to let the COVID measures you’ve taken be public knowledge: I’m sure you are taking several precautions to accommodate your venue to COVID and the public’s health concern surrounding it. This is more than just effort on your part but a great marketing tool. If you can also find a way to tie communicating these efforts to promoting outdoor space you just might be hitting two birds with one stone. For example, you can post a picture on social media of a nearby hiking trail with the caption: ‘Whilst you enjoy a lovely evening out in nature, we have cleaned your room, disinfected the lobby, set up the restaurant tables outside so that social distance norms are enforced and much more to ensure you have a safe and pleasant stay to enjoy.’

We are currently at a crossroads as an industry, but survival is possible if we learn to adapt and evolve with these challenges. To not only survive but succeed in this, information is key! This is why we here at Stay22 are working hard on analyzing our data, to spot key trends so that we can share it with our community and be able to overcome these obstacles together. Our promise to you is that we will continue to do so.

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