Many consumers are booking longer trips than ever before thanks to the flexibility of hybrid and remote work. The virtual work revolution is one silver lining that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the travel industry. Travel and Hospitality brands must develop new digital marketing strategies to capture a share of the growing extended stay market segment.
Virtual Work Revolution
Long-term stays are expected to continue to increase as more companies offer fully remote or hybrid work schedules to recruit and retain staff. Gartner estimates 31% of all employees worldwide are now remotely working at least one full day a week. That number has nearly doubled since 2019 when only 17% of employees worldwide were working remotely. Gartner expects the United States to have the highest percentage of remote workers in 2022 with 53% of the U.S. workforce working at least one day per week remotely.
Wyndham Launches New Extended Stay Brand
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company, recently announced plans to develop a new economy extended-stay brand with 50 hotel properties. In the announcement, Wyndham reported that U.S. RevPAR for the segment grew 8% in 2021 versus 2019 while the rest of the industry declined 17% during the global pandemic.
Airbnb’s New Feature For Long-Term Stays
Airbnb is also experiencing high demand for extended stays on their vacation rental platform. Airbnb’s Q1 2022 shareholder letter highlighted that guests are staying longer than ever before. Long-term stays of 28 days or more is the fastest-growing category by trip length compared to 2019. The company stated that long-term stays reached an all-time high in the first quarter of 2022 and have doubled in size compared to Q1 2019. Airbnb’s Summer 2022 product release introduced a new feature called Split Stays for longer trips. According to Airbnb, the functionality shows an average of 40% more listings to users searching for long term stays by splitting a trip between two different homes.
Adapt Your Marketing For Extended Stay Travelers
Extended-stay guests have different wants and needs than other travelers. Digital marketing leaders in the travel and hospitality industry must refresh their strategies to reach the growing segment of long-term stay travelers. Here are three tactics digital marketing leaders should focus on first:
Guest Personas – Develop detailed guest personas for long term travelers by using internal and external data to truly understand this segment of the market. Personas will help guide the rest of your long-term stay marketing strategy.
Content – Use the learnings from your guest personas to create custom content for the extended-stay audience across all of your marketing touchpoints. Touchpoints may include your brand’s app, blog, email marketing, online travel agency listing, social media posts, and website. For example, you may want to spotlight amenities like high-speed internet, quiet guest rooms, and comfortable desk chairs if your property offers them. Another example is highlighting local area attractions and neighborhood hotspots that are available in the evenings if your persona research shows that many long-term stay guests work during the day and go out at night.
Ad Creative and Audiences – Create a target audience for advertising using the persona data you captured earlier. Produce ad creative for extended-stay travelers that messages the unique features and offers your hotel provides for long-term bookings. Those ads should drive potential guests to the custom content you previously created. Advertising effectiveness and website conversions will improve as you personalize more of the consumer journey specifically for your target audience.
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