with brand awareness and creativity
It’s an obvious idea to offer outdoor dining to guests from 12th April onwards, based on the Government’s reopening schedule. But how you package your offering is critical in how many people you attract to book. All venues are competing for a share of the bigger staycation pie, so you need your outdoor offering to stand out. The Pig is particular suited to benefit with its hotels with walled gardens and ample outside space. It hasn’t rested on its laurels though and is promoting a Big Outdoor Lunch at its venues from 12th April – 16th May to capitalise on the outdoor dining window before full opening in May. Very nice.
Dog-friendly venues can add some new excitement for any four-legged guests staying with them this summer thanks to Marshfield Ice Cream. The Bath-based ice cream company has added Scoops to its range, a specially designed dog-friendly ice cream. As well as keeping dogs cool in the sunshine, the ice cream offers a range of benefits including, reduced fat, sugar and lactose content, glucosamine for joint care, Vitamin C for the immune system and Omega 3 for a glossy coat. Include it in your dog-friendly package and watch dogs drag their owners to your venue.
Slow living as a movement has been around since before Coronavirus but it’s grown over the last year with pace. According to Google, there were four times more You Tube videos with slow living in the title in 2020 compared to 2019. We are baking more bread, gardening, upcycling furniture, and making proper coffee while searching how to do these meditative tasks better. Hospitality providers can offer chef’s recipes, gardener or barista tips on their social channels to ride the trend.
Many in hospitality are promoting Valentine’s Day gift vouchers this year as romantic breaks for two or gourmet dining with flexible booking options. But florist, Bloom & Wild ran a fantastic campaign on why it isn’t selling red roses. Along with an ode that explains why not, there’s a dozen reasons provided too, including that their bouquets are more complex, like love. A great idea that smashes clichés around the day.
With Mother’s Day on the way in March, we look back at a heart-warming ad from Holiday Inn. Targeting professional women, the ad focuses on the story of a little girl missing her Mum, who’s away on business. The ad finishes with her parents taking her away on a surprise overnight trip to a Holiday Inn. The ad focuses on the customer’s needs and emotions when staying away from home, instead of promoting the hotel’s amenities - thereby connecting more deeply with the business Mum.
While we can’t go on holiday at present, we can still dream. Easyjet has tapped into the power of imagination with a series of #holidaydreaming extended social media ads launched on the flight company’s Instagram page. The ads remind us how lovely life was pre-lockdowns. Use the hashtag for your social posts with dreamy shots of your hotel or location.
While high street shops and hotels are shut some are making use of their window displays in creative ways. Fortnum & Mason enlisted six artists to dress their windows with artworks themed around “Joy” to brighten up people’s lives as they take their daily walks. For those with public rights of way nearby, you could create a memorable campaign with local artists to give something back to your community while supporting the struggling creative sector.
Many hotels and accommodation providers are offering takeaway services but some have gone further to allow guests to recreate their own version of iconic dishes. D and D in London is a great example but why stop at dining? Wellness packs or cocktail making sets could also provide some much needed home fun.
We love the bravery of St Moritz Hotel in Cornwall that has claimed socially-distanced dining as its own with The Anti-Social Club. Instead of viewing social distancing as a necessary evil, the hotel has turned it into a selling point with exclusive, private dining for bubble groups of guests. Shows us all how even the most negative situation can be turned on its head and into an experience benefit. Great stuff.
For outdoor swimmers, the lockdown has proved a long time to wait for some to get back into the water. In the meantime. The Outdoor Swimming Society ran a photography competition of beautiful locations where people swim. The results in are stunning. A great idea for hospitality providers to run similar contests and promote their locations via guests photography. Photo: John Stubbs
World Ocean Day
To raise awareness of World Ocean Day, swimwear brand StayWildSwim exchanged free shipping codes with followers who participated in a litter pick and tagged a photo of their work to the brand. Neat idea that seaside hotels, cottages and holiday parks could replicate with a value added gift of their choice. Photo: jonoimages
The Cary Arms in Devon has launched a waiting list for people who want to register their interest in staying prior to its re-opening. The list gives the hotel an idea of the level of interest in people wanting to stay while also creating a sense of special treatment for those on the list, who will get some free champagne when they come to stay.
For some, the idea of crowds of day trippers coming to their picturesque locations before their businesses are open is a sensitive issue. For others, perhaps more forward-thinking, they are offering free car parking to alleviate pressure on seaside villages. A smart idea to encourage some reciprocal good will post 4th July.
This was one we spotted earlier in the lockdown but it didn’t make the cut then (record pun). The Pig Group launched a Spotify list to help guests remember the experience and sounds of visiting one of its country house hotels while at home. Sounds like a hit.
Whilst follow Government guidelines, Woolacombe Bay Hotel have come up with a neat reverse psychology blog of 20 reasons why you shouldn’t ever visit the beautiful 1km beach. Ever. No really you shouldn’t.
If you’ve not used the hashtag yet, hospitality businesses have been using #virtualtraveltuesday to post beautiful location shots while not promoting people travel to where they are yet. Useful for hotels and accommodation providers to use in June, prior to re-opening.
Searches for delivered afternoon tea have rocketed during lockdown according to Google research this week. People wanting to treat themselves or celebrate birthdays and anniversaries are searching for “Cream tea” or “Afternoon tea” online above other food enquiries. Hotels not offering the service could look at the English tradition as a trial for re-opening post 4th July.
Turner Prize-nominated artist, Mark Titchner, has taken his 2012 artwork to the streets with a poster campaign message of hope to get everyone through these times – Please Believe These Days Will Pass. Something I’m sure in hospitality, we can all appreciate.
A new campaign has been launched by Alan Lorrimor of Piano Works called the Great Outdoor Café, lobbying Government to direct local authorities to deregulate and extend the space outside existing hospitality businesses for distanced tables and chairs for eating and drinking. Alan is asking operators to support the campaign.
South Devon's Soar Mill Cove hotel has launched a crowdfunder page for people to support “The Cove” with forward-sell experiences and rewards to be taken later in the year.
Carbis Bay has launched a virtual holiday planning tool for people to book a video tour of the property and plan when they will visit the property in the future.
A new photo book is reviving Butlins, the iconic holiday park from the 1980s, with a selection of photos taken in its heyday. We love the strapline.
Many hotels and spas are using Gift Vouchers with flexible and long booking options for guests, to bring in cash now. We spotted Harrogate’s Majestic Hotel & Spa great upsell of bathing oil spa product which is great for home lock-down now but with a £25 complimentary spa day voucher for when things get back to business.
Many London hotels and hospitality businesses are using the brilliant Payitforward scheme set up by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Help businesses like the world famous Peggy Porschen Cakes survive by paying for your travel in advance.
We’ve mentioned the importance of illustration in this week’s communication as we progress down the road to recovery. Creative Review has highlighted London animators response to lockdown with a video of different works showcasing their creativity and also positives that they have taken from life in lockdown. Includes Emily Downe’s illustration as pictured.
Boutique Hotelier has put together a great list of the many different ways hotels are keeping staff motivated during their time working at home or on furlough, from Zoom parties to Quiz nights with takeway deliveries for the winning team members.
A couple of creatives on the other side of the pond are asking people around the world to send them their home views from lockdown via Twitter. They then recreate the views as vintage postcards with appropriate typefaces and greeting messages from different places worldwide. A nice idea hotels could recreate for their social channels, flipping the sharing of location imagery.
With more time at home and online, people are more receptive to longer content at this time. Blogs are particularly well received as long as the topic is tailored to the fact people’s circumstances have changed. Lake Country House published a lovely slow living blog this month, extolling the virtues of being at home and the benefits of enjoying a slower pace of life at this time. Other nice blogs we’ve spotted is this 'spotting wildlife at home' blog from Canopy and Stars and a great interview with St Michael's fish supplier, giving the human story on the hotel's food provenance.
Many hospitality companies are helping out the NHS from providing rooms for key works to giveaways. We have to highlight Harbour Hotels though. It's launched a giveaway of 250 two-night stays for NHS workers once lockdown has finished. Bravo. Nominate an NHS ICU hero to enter on its social channels.
While not hospitality related, the Red Cross has a beautiful poster campaign running which asks us all to be kind during the coronavirus crisis. We love the graphic design and sentiment of the campaign.
Virtual Reality (VR) has long been touted as a great part of the future of hospitality. You can take a trip along the waterways of the South West with great at home VR videos, demonstrating how the highlights of your location can be promoted using new technology.
Ye Olde Bell in Nottinghamshire hosts hundreds of weddings throughout the year and enquiries haven’t stopped despite coronavirus. To expand its service during this time, the hotel & spa is offering at home virtual tours of the facilities for any prospective engaged couples.
Hotel Penzance has recently refurbished bringing the beautiful seascapes of its location inside as well as refreshing some of the boutique hotel’s most used spaces. With people at home with more time to absorb longer content, the hotel’s website blog takes you on a virtual tour of the property and location and was also sent out as a link in an email campaign.
A lovely email from St Michael’s in Cornwall wished their subscribers Happy Easter, while reminding people that the sea, beach and hotel would be waiting post-lockdown. It also included a nice mindfulness video with their resident yoga expert talking over relaxing images and sounds of the sea. Now breathe.
While Easter Egg Hunts around Bowood House and Gardens were out, a Virtual Hunt for children (and adults) at home was well received. An anagram of letters were hidden around the Bowood website for eager beavers to find. A downloadable worksheet provided some clues and other activities for kids to complete.
With people at home in mind, The Glass House in Essex has produced a Little Book of Wellness. The eight page booklet features positive affirmations of health, meditations, yoga exercises and mindful colouring alongside vegan recipes and exercise workouts for people to try at home. The booklet has been emailed and shared on the Glass House social channels for people to download and/or print.
While Premier Cottages members have had to stop promoting travel to their cottages, the hospitality business has been highlighting its “save to favourites” website functionality. With lots of people spending time browsing online, visitors to the site can search for different cottages and save those they like the look of for later.
Whether we admit it or not, we all like a good talent show. Lady’s Mile Holiday Park is used to hosting theirs on stage at their park on Saturday nights. Unperturbed by events, the holiday park ran an online talent show with a prize giveaway for the best three performers as chosen by social media followers. Guys and gals posted their best turns on Facebook with best collated together in a final talent show post.
With the Government restrictions on travel and Cornwall residents asking people to stay away from their second homes, Tonic of the Sea swimmer, Katie Maggs has come up with a wonderful hashtag for sharing photos on Instagram. #sharedyoursaved asks people to share their saved photos from past visits to the coast from their homes, thereby helping people escape to the sea virtually. We love this idea and think it will be great for any hotels or hospitality businesses by the sea or with dramatic scenery to share with their followers and encourage photo-sharing of their beautiful locations.
With Spas closed and people at home thinking about their health and wellbeing, many innovative spa teams have designed at home spa treatment guides for people to try out.
Woolacombe Bay Hotel has a nice five-step DIY Face Masks treatment you can try in the comfort of your own home. The North Devon hotel and spa is then asking people to share their best face-mask pictures on social media as a bit of fun.
With the Easter holidays approaching, it’s time for parents home schooling to look at more fun activities for the children. Some holiday parks like family-friendly, Lady’s Mile, have already helped out with anagrams and word searches, online magic tricks and virtual bingo. Who wouldn’t want to get involved.