What is the secret to successful hotel marketing in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama? How to make sure that the phones are ringing and that our sustainable luxury hotels and lodges have high occupancies.
No, it is not just the work of the public relations company. Not just the many visits all over North America to Agencies and Tour Operators or the participation in trade shows. Not just the Digital Content Creation or Social Media Strategies. Not the Website and everything related to it. It is also not the promotional efforts of the country’s Tourism Ministries. All of this is important and has an impact. But in the end, it comes down to a very simple thing.
It is the weather!
Dark Days, Cold Rain, Grey Skies & Slushy Snow do the magic. It starts in about mid-October and ends in late April or early May. We have noticed a clear correlation between a snow storm in the North East and the number of leads that our reservation team receives.
And what is even more interesting is that if the winter gets rough and starts very early or extends late into spring, there is very little ‘asking for discounts’ going on. This changes radically for the months of May through October. During those months, travelers are out shopping, knowing they can get a deal.
So, of course, we cannot influence the weather. But we can be ready for it. In our reservations office, we monitor weather patterns in our main markets and might even change staffing and schedules if a big storm is announced. The work of our reservations agents is key now. They need to answer requests and questions quickly and efficiently, help in the planning process and help eliminate obstacles. Get them here fast.
And of course, there is one other HUGE factor that has an influence on how occupancy is doing at the hotels and lodges. And it has nothing to do with sales, promotions, nor the weather. It is about the experience of our guests. Happy guests share their happiness with friends and family – or on Tripadvisor – and they will recommend us. So, at Cayuga and the hotels and lodges, the most important part of the marketing mix (product, place, price and promotion) is always the Product and the Experience.
Do you agree with us? Are you more likely to look for a tropical vacation when it gets cold and gloomy? Does your price sensitivity decrease as the temperatures drop? We would love to hear your comments. And yes, we have interesting green season values for the next months as spring arrives up north.
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San Jose, Costa Rica