Why the staycation boom is exactly what hotels need
City hotels are looking to locals during the lull in travelling further from home
The hunger for a vacation is palpable the world over after months of lockdown. But amid travel restrictions, and general public wariness around safety, staying in a hotel close to home – and in many cases the same city – is on the rise from the U.S. to Britain, and Vietnam.
If vacation is often understood as a long trip to a place far away from where you live and work, then travel in the sense of the staycation is a short trip to somewhere with a close proximity to your house or even your city. Staycation, at the core, is still the purpose of tourism that is to explore, relax and rest.
For China, since flights going out of the country is on halt, people are opting for vacations to cities nearby their local areas. Efforts to encourage travel after months of lockdown included online tours, livestreaming local produce, and promotional tactics like having the chairman of Chinese travel agency Trip.com donning costumes to hawk discounted hotel bookings.
There was good reason for the extra effort: With the global pandemic having grounded most tourism, the hospitality industry is banking on domestic travel to be the first stop on the path to recovery.
It has been a boon for hoteliers facing swathes of empty rooms. City hotels are all going after the domestic market, even though the quantum from it is by no means near to what hotels used to make pre-COVID-19 from international toursits, it is better than having empty rooms.”
During lockdowns, there was limited options for hotels to make any revenue from its rooms unless it was serving as a government-supported quarantine quarter. But more importantly, accepting staycations is a big morale booster for everyone in the hotel business to see and serve guests again.
For instance in Australia, regional properties outside cities are seeing a healthy spike in staycations as locals prefer to take a drive out for a change of scenery. In Vietnam, tourist cities like Da Lat and Nha Trang were filled with tourists on the weekends as soon as the the lockdown order was removed.
What hotels in smaller markets can do now is to increase its experiential factor. Beyond attractive discounts or bundled meals, it is a time for hotels to get creative, test out different engaging concepts and value-add to their guests.
Previously staycations used to be a one or two-night affair, but with many cities still enforcing working-from-home policies, a longer hotel getaway can be possible. In India, hotels have been offering “workcations,” which combine the ability to work in a comfortable hotel room with perks from gourmet meals to sight-seeing. This concept is very suitable for busy families with small children, during which parents can work remotely and still enjoy a vacation with their loved ones.
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