Promoting Your Hotel During The Holiday Season 2021

Hospitality Industry

Grab the opportunity

The holiday season is just around the corner, and we are sure everyone must be planning a short trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. A survey conducted by a leading online travel organisation found that one in every three Indians will plan to travel during the upcoming holiday season, that is Christmas and New Year.

According to the survey, over 70% of the respondents are hoping to celebrate and relax in the winter holiday season with their partner, spouse and family. While the rest of them are hoping to spend the end of the year travelling with their colleagues and friends. (Source: Hindustan Times)

As per various hospitality and travel firms, bookings have grown up by 50-70% compared to last year, even online enquiries are seeing a spike of 15-20% as travelers are exploring less commercial and secluded getaways. Travelers are preferring to go for staycations, tents, homestays, and heritage properties etc. So, if you are someone who owns a hotel, this is the apt time for you to start advertising. 

Lockdown effect on the hotel industry

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Source: IDC Insights Cross-Industry Consumer Response to Covid-19

Due to COVID-19 there had been a lot of travel restrictions which negatively affected the travel, tourism and hotel sectors in India. Almost 53% of the leading hotel operators were compelled to shut down over 80% of the inventory at the time of nation-wide lockdown. 

60% of the respondents said that 10% of their hotels were serving as quarantine centers mostly in the key markets, while some hotels were serving as rooms for the “Vande Bharat Mission”.

The impact of the pandemic has been so challenging for the hotel sector as there was a loss of Rs 1.30 lakh crore for the year 2020-2021.

“This is one of the worst crises to hit the tourism industry and it has impacted all its segments–inbound, outbound and domestic, and leisure, cruise, adventure, corporate meetings, conference, and exhibitions,” says Unmesh Vaidya, business head at a Mumbai-based startup, Iqomi Travel Services,.

However, the scenario is slowly changing as more people are getting vaccinated and lockdown restrictions have been lifted. Hotels are gradually experiencing an increase in bookings as travelers have been willing to visit outdoor locations lately. 

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Source: IndiaSpend

Effect on independent hotels

In the last 5 years, the hotel and hospitality industry has been growing tremendously, as small property owners are converting their places into backpacker hostels, homestays and guest houses. They have chosen to operate these properties themselves or as a side business; some have also leased their properties to other professional operators. 

The demand for such properties have primarily increased because of millennial travellers who are smitten by the travelling bug. 

But the pandemic has been pretty hard for the independent hotels as these operators enjoy very little brand equity and at the same time there is massive competition. Independent hotels faced a curb in their budget; potential clients for these properties have 50 other options to choose from.

Way back from the pandemic

The pandemic was difficult for the hotel sector, and the lockdown made it even worse, even after the lockdown was lifted people were reluctant to travel. However, things are gradually improving and Indians now are more willing to travel to nearby destinations. 

Every year millions of Indians travel to foriegn destinations, but after the global pandemic travelling habits have changed, and tourists are looking for quality alternatives in India itself. 

Tourism and travel sectors have been experiencing major growth in the last few months as lockdown and restrictions are lifted. People now are getting back to their normal routine and are willing to visit old and new destinations. 

The Report ‘Glance Spotlight on Travel 2021’ revealed the increasing consumer sentiment and steady trajectory of the travel sector in 2022.

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Source: Business Of Travel Trade India

A leading mobile consumer intelligence platform, InMobi Pulse conducted a survey on over 1,400 Indian mobile users. The survey was conducted in October 2021.

Major challenges due to the ongoing pandemic

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Source: Business Of Travel Trade India

Hygiene still a concern: Maintaining hygiene and cleanliness in the hotels has never been more important. Apart from following the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, it has also become important for hotels to maintain good hygiene practices inside the hotels. 

One of the most important things that hotels have to ensure is air hygiene in order to gain the trust of the customers. Hotels can take a lot of measures like, setting up air sterilisers, air purifiers, and regularly disinfecting the surfaces, etc.

Reluctance to stay in hotels: Though the lockdown has been lifted, and vaccination is on the rise, people are still reluctant to stay in hotel rooms. Most people still have the fear of being in contaminated rooms and are unwilling to stay in hotels. There is also a constant doubt regarding the cleanliness and hygiene of the hotels.

Budget: Hotels have faced a massive downfall during the ongoing pandemic, and lockdown. This has led to a huge decrease in budget, due to which the hotels are compelled to stop some of their services or amenities. But at the same time, they are required to attract the guests and also provide satisfactory services, which is a great challenge. 

Labor shortages: Tourist destinations are finally welcoming travelers, now that the lockdown has been lifted. Hotels have been keenly waiting for guests, but now that there is a good amount of room occupancy, there is also a shortage of laborers. Almost 50% of the workforce left for their hometowns and have found jobs, so they are unlikely to return. 

Is the hotel industry growing in 2021?

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Source: PR Newswire

According to the Travel services market in India 2021, during the year 2021-2025 the hotel industry is expected to grow by USD 11.11 billion, which is expanding at a CAGR of approximately 12%. The report also highlights that the impact of COVID-19 can impose new opportunities on the hotels. The negative impact of the pandemic on the hotel sector is gradually decreasing as people have started travelling again. 

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Source: Economic Times

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Source: Maximize Market Research

Holiday season returns

The hotel industry was ravaged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic last year, but for the first time the average occupancies in the hotels may reach up to 60-65% in this month. 

The occupancy rate for the top chains may even rise above this mark. According to the hotel chains they are expecting a phenomenal performance, as the number of COVID cases are declining and there are fewer restrictions across the states.  

Mandeep S Lamba, the president at HVS Anarock (South Asia) said that the holiday season will drive leisure travel to both offbeat and popular destinations across the country. Even corporate travel is improving as most of the offices and industries are shifting to hybrid or full work-from-office models and they have resumed business travel plans. Hotels may expect nationwide occupancy of almost 60-65% during November and December 2021. 

According to Zubin Saxena the managing director of Radisson Hotel Group, the month of October saw massive festive-season bookings and it will increase as there is a rising confidence in travel and vaccination rates are increasing. 

There has been a 60% increase in occupancy across 100+ hotels of the Radisson group in India. It is also anticipated that the holiday and wedding season will bring about a boost in the month of December. 

Surge in travelers

Millennials are willing to travel more than adults.

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Locations and accommodation preferred by travelers:

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Preferred days to travel, budget and location:

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With whom are Indians willing to travels:

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Source: PickYour Trail

Target audience

Millennial tourists:

Source: Business Of Travel Trade India

Business travellers:

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Source: Economic Times

Target everyone because :

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Source: PickYour Trail

Platforms to advertise your hotel business

User-generated- User-generated video platforms offer snackable content that is not time consuming, is addictive, and aspirational and does not require active attention. While the long-format video platforms struggled for content during the lockdown, these platforms were flooded by content generated by users sitting at home- from celebrities to influencers to commoners.

Our top pages for advertising on user generated video platforms are

Social media- Social media platforms are not just the younger generation’s best friend. Because from networking to chatting to sharing information on groups to keeping themselves updated with the latest news, social media platforms have become a companion for everyone. In terms of advertising, social media platforms have a variety of ad formats from images to video to messages to influencer content to target the audience.

During the lockdown, average time spent on social media platforms increased by 87% to 4 hours a day. The number of social media users is growing steadily in 2021 at a rate of 448 million.

Our top pages for advertising on social media platforms:

Influencer marketing- The youth in India are very aspirational. Apart from the film stars and cricketers, there are a number of influencers who have risen excessively. From being a part of the crowd to a role model for the youth. These influencers have played an important and active role especially in the lockdown period as they have been creating engaging content. In our opinion influencer advertising can be one of the best mediums to build trust among the millennial and Gen Z audience.

Our top pages for influencer advertising are:

Television- While the digital advertising options attract a young target audience, advertising on television is the best choice for running brand awareness campaigns to attract parents and students together. 95% of television homes in India are single TV homes which means watching television is a family activity. With people forced to stay home for longer periods, television has emerged as the favorite entertainment medium for the entire family.

During the lockdown, TV viewership has increased by ~50%. Even with the emergence of OTT and various digital platforms TV viewership is still on rise, as most of the consumers in India still prefer TV for entertainment. 

Our top pages for advertising on television are:

Advertising ideas for holiday season 2021

As economic conditions are recovering and travel plans are resuming from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s a great opportunity for hotels to make the most out of the holiday season. It is time for hotels to capitalize on the most lucrative time of the year.

Here are a few marketing ideas for hotels to advertise in this holiday season:

Have a plan: It is very important to have your goals set for the holiday season. You must know who your target audience is and where you can reach them best. Make sure you cater to solo travellers, families, and millennials and ensure that your holiday strategy includes both traditional marketing and digital marketing plans.

Deck the website: The website of your hotel is the digital front door so make it interesting, warm and welcoming. Keep your focus on beautiful pictures, or videos of your hotel that will look compelling to the guests. As per the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, pictures are the most effective way to engage the potential customers. Always highlight your holiday season offers, discounts, deals or any holiday themed beverage or food. 

Send Holiday-themed emails that will promote the specials and events: Customers are very fond of exciting holiday special deals. You can always consider advertising your holiday special packages and special offers on your website. 

You can even repurpose the existing packages which you offer over the year but with some holiday twist. You can serve new breakfast items, or christmas themed beverages and just refresh the names of the package to something related to holidays. 

Pay attention to your social media channels: Your social media channels must reflect the holiday cheer, so decorate them with holiday themed pictures and graphics. Ensure that you address all the social media pages, Instagram, Facebook, Tripadvisor and Yelp. You may keep it simple but make it a point to address every social media platform. 

Leverage the hotel’s location: Hotels are actively coupling their location with several local experiences in order to increase their revenue. You may collaborate with various local businesses, you may recommend and highlight nearby holiday events, locations and shopping hubs.

Encourage customers to share personal experiences: Try making your hotel selfie-worthy. The hotel staff may have spent hours and days putting up all the holiday decorations around the property, and gearing up for Christmas. You can consider putting up a designated location for selfies or even a selfie booth. 

Visitors and travellers love sharing their experiences, adventures and memories on social media so if they tag your hotel in their posts, it can easily promote your hotel and drive awareness too. 

Especially target millennials as they are actively posting on social media, take advantage of that and let them spread the holiday offer for your hotel experience.

Promote holiday packages: Spa treatments or homely food and beverages work best for guests who are on work-cations, “home away from home” themes work well. You can include other activities on your holiday package too, like movies, or pet-friendly discounts. 

Target your previous holiday guests: You can always go through your records and find people from your previous holiday seasons. It would be much easier if you have guests sign in through their email, you may entice those guests again. Generate an email marketing campaign and create a custom mail list.

In case you have some questions or would like to know more about advertising after lockdown, write to us at  Help@TheMediaAnt.Com.

Are you looking for ways to promote your travel website? Check out our blog Promoting a travel website.

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