With schools closed for two weeks and the longer evenings setting in, Easter has become one of the most lucrative public holidays for family breaks. Nestled between the New Year and Summer, it is a prime time to take a mini-break.
Parents are looking to keep the kids entertained, step away from the grind themselves and enjoy a change of pace and scenery. In order to capitalise on this potential revenue stream it is important to plan your Easter strategy in advance to ensure everyone’s eggs are in your basket!
1. Research your target audience
Before setting up a strategy and implementation plan, it is important to understand who your audience is, what’s important to them and when they are making a booking. Review your data from last year to get a better idea of what worked in previous years – Google Analytics will provide a breakdown of age, gender, country of origin and interests. You can also run reports from insights/PMS on your 2019/2018 bookings. Ask the question ‘Who is our target audience?’ Couples booking a weekend away may not want to stay in a hotel for Easter that’s overrun with families.
2. Timing is Key
Timing is one of the most important factors for your campaign success. If you are able to grab the attention of your customers and prospects at the right time, you are halfway to achieving your marketing goals. Again, you can learn a great deal from previous years’ bookings. When did people previously book for Easter? Is there a longer lead-in from the US market vs. domestic? What was your rough occupancy?
Make sure you’re ahead of the game which will avoid the need to launch a flash sale to kick-start business. Have a look at your business on the books for Easter 2020 – you can use last year’s data to see how you’re comparing. Are the bookings for week one of Easter break quieter than week two? If so, what did you do differently last year to maximise occupancy?
3. What upsells could you include?
When setting up your rate, don’t forget to use some good quality Easter themed images! Be sure to tag the rate as ‘family rate’. Once you’re all set – think about increasing your ancillary revenue.
- You could include ‘Easter Sunday Brunch’ and only have it appear for guests staying Saturday and checking out Sunday.
- You could create a strike-through rate on Brunch, for example, to encourage in-house guests to book in advance to avail of a discounted rate.
- You could set-up a Late Checkout of 3pm, allocating X number of rooms per night.
- You could include Babysitting/ Children’s Easter Afternoon Tea (Teddy Bear Afternoon Tea – Chocolate Themed)
4. Stand out from the crowd
Offer incentives that are not available on OTA sites! Create a themed package that will attract direct bookings. You could get creative by offering activities for all the family! Why not host a Children’s High Tea each evening? If you include children’s dinner, parents will be more inclined to eat in-house too! You could also offer a kids club each morning that includes art competitions, Easter bake off’s, movie time or an Easter egg hunt!
5. Create a dedicated landing page
While you cannot optimise the Booking Engine, you can optimise the content. This will help ensure that your page shows on Google when people search for ‘Easter Family Hotel Breaks’.
Here’s our top tips for creating content:
- Create a valid title to explain what the page is about – use Keywords related to Easter.
- Use bullet points/ keep things clear and concise.
- Your word count should be 300+ to get the best rankings.
- Use Easter Keywords throughout the text but ensure it still reads naturally.
- Never date the content as you can reuse the page year on year.
- Add as a Sub Nav on your offers tab to direct people to the landing page.
- Optimise your landing page for SEO.
- Create an audience of ‘Easter Family Breaks’ website visitors on Google Analytics for everyone who visits the landing page, this can also be re-visited next year.
6. Anti-Abandonment Tool
Ideally, you don’t want a shopper to leave the site – so create an abandonment tool to encourage them to stay and book. This appears when the shopper is idle on the booking engine for a short period of time – approx. 30/45 secs. This message can link to offers, in this case, the ‘Easter Family Special Rate’.
7. Create Bumper Ads & Display Campaigns
Create a Bumper ad or In-Stream Ad to inform potential guests of your Easter offer. These can also be used to create brand awareness. These ads are 6-second videos where you can use still shots to create the same effect with an overlay message.
You can also create a display campaign to raise awareness of your seasonal offers. These images will be displayed on the Google Display Network to a specified audience. These campaigns create a lot of impressions and results can be seen in organic search!
8. Create an Ezine
To create a buzz around your Easter packages, create a targeted Ezine to promote your offers. Ensure that there’s clear content and a simple message – don’t be afraid to get creative with your subject line to increase the open rate!
Here are some tips to ensure your Ezine has an impact:
- Your content should be engaging with a clear Call to Action.
- Segment your audience – family audience/ family offer (there’s no point sending a family offer to a couple)
- Add your social share buttons to encourage sharing across social channels.
- Ensure you’re tracking is set up to track open rate/click rate/performance
- Research shows the best time to send out a targeted email are Tuesday’s or Thursdays between 12-2pm.
9. Engage your audience
Engage your audience in a creative way, start with the basics and update your hotel’s visuals by adding an Easter flare to website graphics! Update your cover photos across your social platforms to reflect the holiday that your hotel wants to target. Once you’ve dressed up your hotel’s social pages, amplify your content by starting a conversation with your audience.
Get creative with your marketing campaign, some of the most clever and memorable campaigns are those that get us to do something just for fun and with social media, accessing audiences and creating such games and competitions has never been easier!
Use this Easter as an opportunity to gain an edge in the competitive hospitality market. Ensure your content is relevant, entertaining and is accessible on the platforms and devices that travel shoppers are using. No matter the holiday or occasion it all comes down to one thing – your hotel’s story!