Advertising & Marketing

Advertising At Home: How to Market to Staycationers Near You

With inflation and gas prices on the rise, many travel destinations are beyond the budget for vacationers. But that doesn’t mean your travel business is out of options. Hotels and destination attractions can still rake in profits with another type of vacationers: staycationers. When the locals get antsy for something fun to do with their time off, you need to be the one ready to give them the vacation experience they can only find at home. Check out these top marketing ideas to bring the staycationers to your door year after year. 

What Is a Staycation?

A staycation is a vacation taken in your home area, whether that means checking into a local hotel or just using your own home as your vacation base. This is a great way for people who need to save money to enjoy a vacation experience—taking time off and enjoying the sites—without having to travel far. It’s also a great way for people to explore activities and experiences local to their area the way a tourist would. Staycations can be as short as a single day or as long as any other vacation. The big difference to you? These people are going to be in your area all year long. 

Marketing to Local Families

If there’s one demographic that needs some serious staycationing, it’s families with kids. Travelling with tiny tots, itty bitty infants, and “I won’t want to leave my friends” teens can be a serious pain for parents who just wanted a little time away from work doing something fun as a family. These are the people that will be searching for something local that can still carry that “wow” vacation factor but without the stress of road trips and flight juggling. When looking at local activities, parents will be looking for these factors: 

  • Child friendliness: Do you have anywhere for mothers to breastfeed? Changing tables? Shaded play areas? Stroller-accessible areas?
  • Family activities: What can the family do as a group? Do you have something for all ages? Even just aiming too much at the kids can be off-putting to bored adults.
  • Food options: Do you have good places for families to eat nearby, or will the family have to lug around a cooler if they plan to stay long? Remember, even most picky eaters like french fries.
  • Family-friendly pricing: While a ticket for two may be affordable, a family of five may favor more savings-friendly places. Consider offering discounts for families and for children under a certain age.

Marketing to Local Singles

Singles may not have the same restrictions as families, but they are also less likely to take a lot of time off of work for a long staycation. However, they are more likely to pay more for a shorter stay or event. They also love to go places with friends and seek out activities that feel unique or exciting. Here are some factors that single staycationers look for: 

  • Sense of luxury: Singles want to live in the moment, so offer them a chance to pamper themselves with spa services, waited dining, and more.
  • Sense of adventure: Singles are more likely to be adrenaline junkies, so give them something exciting! Thrill rides, haunted walkthroughs, exotic food, etc.
  • Brag-worthy: Does your venue have a sense of exclusivity? Is there something there you can’t get anywhere else? Give those singles something to brag about to their friends.
  • Insta-worthy: Pics or it didn’t happen, singles want places to take great selfies to share online. Set up scenic spaces for singles to get their best pictures.

Pro tip: When trying to balance staycationers and vacationers, consider offering staycation specials in the off seasons. This will pad your year-round profits and give staycationers a chance to enjoy your venue when the holiday crowds are gone. 

Coordinate With Local Businesses

When marketing to most tourists, it’s a good idea to get your business promoted on travel sites and magazines because that’s where vacationers look. But what about staycationers? Staycationers will be checking coupons with their big store subscriptions, finding deals with their employers, and using local activity subscriptions. This is where you want to put a lot of your special deals, benefiting both you and the businesses you work with. 

Coordinating with other businesses can also help you expand what you offer. For example, hotels can offer discounted tickets to local events to their guests, and restaurants can set up special dining services inside local amusement parks. When you work with other businesses in your area, you increase your business potential. 

Increase Your Return Appeal

Staycationers are more than just your typical one-and-done visitors. Because they live close to your business, they can quickly become return customers if they feel there’s more to come back to. For example, an escape room company can have the most exciting escape room in the area, but they won’t get much return business if they only have the one escape scenario. Find ways to keep things fresh by offering a variety of experiences.  

Marketing Ideas for Hotels

Need ideas for how to keep things fresh for the locals? Here are some ways you can shake things up and stay competitive: 

  • Themed rooms: Even if you have a central theme for your hotel, you can play off that theme to create unique experiences for different rooms. For example, a beach resort can have an under-the-sea room, a sand-and-sun room, a boat room, etc.
  • Seasonal dining: Use local and seasonal foods to keep your in-house restaurant fresh year-round. If you don’t have one, coordinate with local restaurants to offer exclusive dining experiences to your guests.
  • Celebrate the holidays: Get festive with your decorations and dining during hot seasons like Independence Day, winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and others so customers are drawn back to experience something new with every holiday.
  • Partner with smaller businesses: Does someone in your area offer horse-drawn carriage rides? Yoga classes? Custom flower bouquets? Expand what you offer by giving discounts and complementary services when customers order your “staycation package.”

Marketing Ideas for Destinations

Want to become the local go-to staycation destination? Here are some tips to keep things fresh and turn your name into a household brand in your area: 

  • Host field trips: Schools are always looking for ways to bring a little fun to their curriculum, so offer a yearly discount for your future brand ambassadors! These kids will insist their parents take them again and again, and grow up with your business as part of their childhood nostalgia.
  • Host trick-or-treating: Need to introduce your local families to your destination? Host a spooky but family-friendly trick-or-treating event!
  • Contribute to the nightlife: When it’s dark and families go home, it’s time for the singles to party! Become the place to be with your own late-night events for singles and couples to get out of the house and into the best time of their lives.
  • Embrace all seasons: Too cold for your water park? Set up an ice rink! No apple picking in the spring? Set up some space for pictures and picnics. Find ways to use your venue all year round so locals always have more to come back to.

Promoting With Swag

Both hotels and destinations can benefit from sharing their swag locally. Whether through promotional giveaways, contests, or just selling their swag in their own gift shops, staycationers still love taking souvenirs back home and showing them off. Here are a few common staycationer swag items you can promote with: 

Promotional T-shirts 

Promotional t-shirts like the Hanes EcoSmart® 50/50 Cotton/Poly T-Shirt are a great way to circulate your brand in any community. Whether you’re promoting to staycationers or vacationers, everyone can enjoy wearing a part of their experience home in style. 

Travel Mugs 

Looking for ways to remind people about the awesome time they had? Whether it’s a complementary hotel gift or a novelty mug full of hot chocolate, travel mugs like this 14 oz. Stainless Steel Noe Camp Mug with Lid are a great way to get your brand into the homes of your local staycationers. 

Overnight Bags 

Staycations are often shorter than those big cross-country trips, so make heading to a hotel easier on your guests with a trendy and convenient overnight bag like The Weekender Deluxe Duffel Bag. Branded with your hotel or destination logo, you can be sure they’ll remember you on every trip they take. 

Picture Frames 

Let your customers enjoy their own staycation family photo, sponsored by you! Sell your own branded picture frames like this 5” x 7” Photo Frame so they never forget where their family memories came from. 

Novelty Pens 

Want something small and easy to share? Novelty pens like this Focus Flashlight Pen can be great fun for kids and parents while keeping your name around the house.  

While it’s important to market to traditional vacationers, staycationers are a much under-utilized resource for many travel companies. Staycationers are the people who will bring the most repeat business and are most likely to share their positive experience with others who are in a position to be future customers. Take time and assess how you can market to staycationers and attract business all year long. 

Katie Yelisetti

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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