With summer as peak season for most properties in our snowy nation, while the rest of the country may be thinking ‘vacation’, you should be thinking ‘revenue’ when it comes to driving the leisure segment. But instead of looking at ways to increase occupancies for the seasonal resorts, let’s focus on the city properties that still need help as the meetings and conference segment wanes. For this, you might include the following as part of a solid leisure plan.

  1. Re-examine your positioning. Summer isn’t just for families with kids. If you’re failing to get the numbers you want during the summer months, it may be because you’ve misinterpreted the market rather than having anything to do with your product. For example, empty nesters are a vastly underserved demographic at present, so consider promotional materials that show adult enjoyment, not just a bunch of screaming kids by the pool. At the same time, examine your property’s ability to simultaneously manage families with kids and those without.
  2. Embed yourself in the market. Product knowledge is essential. Look beyond your property’s walls to see what’s happening locally. Typically, there is a schedule of activities covering everything from music, to sports and, of course, food. Get involved by sponsoring events that are consistent with your brand strategy and that target guest interests. Being the exclusive hotel partner is not necessary. You want breadth of coverage in this case and not necessarily depth.
  3. More than just a sponsorship. I’m sure that some local, and perhaps regional, advertising and promotions are included when you sign a sponsorship agreement. That’s not enough these days. You need to broaden awareness on your website and through other relationship channels such as newsletters and in-house materials. Then add your own onsite features to elevate your property from just a hotel to an outright destination operating in tandem with the event.
  4. Everyone eats. What was considered exotic a decade ago is now thoroughly mainstream, meaning that you won’t be surprising or delighting anyone by copying your competition. Your guests want to try something new and something they can’t quite get anywhere else. Moreover, while it may sound sacrilegious to send a guest off property to eat, you need to face the fact that unless you’re a destination resort in a remote location, guests will want to roam. Why not give them the tools to do so effectively and thereby stay relevant in the conversation?
  5. Consider a beverage upgrade. Separate from food, drinks are a critical component in delivering a truly local experience. Many regions have local wine, craft beer or small-batch distilleries. Your responsibility is to proudly demonstrate your community spirit by giving your guests an opportunity to sample these unique creations, adding to their local knowledge and creating a memorable touchpoint. The lure of supplemental revenue from the national brands is strong, and I’m not advocating walking away from those long-established relationships. Rather, I’m suggesting a balanced approach that


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