In participating with webinars and roundtable discussions during the past month, the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater team has collected suggestions and ideas wholesalers and receptive operators are asking partners to consider. As you work with your management teams on strategies for the remainder of 2020 and beyond, please consider these thoughts put forth by the clients you contract with.
What Wholesalers Need Now from St. Pete/Clearwater Partners
- 2021 Rates – Consider holding/extending 2020 rates?
- Availability – Provide clear guidelines as to the availability of room blocks and available inventory – eliminate black-out dates.
- Create a more flexible cancellation policy – Travel will be uncertain at first, allow guests to change their minds in the early stages of recovery.
- Value adds – Be innovative. Beyond the scope of the property itself (free nights, breakfast, kids eat free, etc.) partner with area attractions. Stay three nights or longer, get… Free dinner cruise for two children with two paid adults or free admission for a child to an attraction with a paid adult, etc.
- Waive resort fees for 2021? Or drop fees to $21 in 2021?
- Provide cleanliness initiatives. How is your property or attraction going to ensure the cleanliness of your property and the ongoing safety of guests? Cleaning in front of guests, handwashing stations, spreading out pool deck chairs and beach cabanas, tables, etc.
- Create product updates to send to operators, produce new collateral for this unprecedented era in travel. Specifically, highlight any sustainability initiatives and eco-friendly travel options to continue the positive environment momentum this pause in travel has created.
- Brainstorm with your sales & revenue staff to review data from previous years, like average daily rate, revenue per available room, etc., to identify need periods.
- Set aside a budget for co-op marketing opportunities.
- Create the opportunity for consumers to pay for a package now ($50 off or value adds), but travel later to generate cash flow.
- Buffets no more - How will you handle food service without buffets? Making the consumer comfortable with these offerings will be the most attractive.
- With unfortunate staff changes and furloughs, be sure to update your short-term contact person to keep communication flowing.
Everyone agrees that the international markets will be slower to come back, but the more sellers can get out in front of these consumers with new offers that promote St. Pete/Clearwater as a safe, affordable and hospitable destination, the more consumers can dream now and travel later.