Hotels have a new customer to market to—day guests

NATIONAL REPORT—With more and more hotels—not to mention home-sharing properties—competing for guests, hotels need to show off their best assets. For many, this means their amenities—pools, spas, etc.—but many hotels are seeing the value in marketing those amenities not just to potential guests, but also to locals, day travelers, and those staying in home-sharing rentals, which don’t often offer spas and other additional services. And ResortPass helps them do it.

An online booking platform that allows access to resorts and hotels for pools, spas, fitness centers, cabanas and other amenities without the need for an overnight stay, ResortPass is helping hotels drive revenue with a new type of traveler: the day guest.

“There is a large market of people who just want to enjoy the amenities at a hotel for the afternoon and don’t need a room to spend the night,” said ResortPass founder Amanda Szabo. “Experiences (both local and travel) are being more and more valued, and that trend will only continue to grow. People are seeking amazing experiences—whether relaxing, fun or exciting—and hotels have all the amenities and resources to provide those experiences. We are just connecting the two. Offering pool and spa amenities at a different price point is just another way to maximize the property, especially during non-peak days and times of year. It is in line with offering meeting and event spaces, opening the restaurant to locals, and providing spa treatments to the public. It’s just another channel.”

For Mohan Koka, GM of the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in Miami’s South Beach, it was precisely this drive to reach new guests that led the property to partner with ResortPass. “We felt that we underleveraged our cabanas and wanted to create an experience for guests who weren’t staying with us to not only experience the cabanas, but also soak in some Kimpton love at the Surfcomber,” he said.

With hotel guests demanding activated public spaces, especially spaces that make them feel like a local, hotels have been looking for ways to draw the community in and make them a part of the space. “Only a small percentage of locals will pack their bags and spend a couple of days at a hotel nearby just to enjoy the amenities,” Szabo said. “And these guests will typically only do this once or twice a year due to the commitment of time and cost. Segmenting out and offering the amenities individually will not only attract a significantly larger amount of people, but these locals will return often and more frequently because of the shorter time commitment and reasonable rate. On top of locals, visitors staying at accommodations without amenities also use our platform. Not only does this allow hotels to recapture guests now choosing vacation rentals, but it gives guests loyal to other brands an opportunity to experience the hotel. That trial to experience the property might convert guest loyalty the next time they are in town.”

Koka agreed. “We have seen a mix of locals and travelers, with the majority being travelers who have booked at Airbnbs or smaller hotels with no pool or beach access,” he said.

The platform can work for any type of hotel, Szabo said. “Any hotel that offers amenities outside of the rooms can benefit from our day-guest program,” she added.

When a hotel partners with ResortPass, it goes through the onboarding process. “We work closely with our hotel partners to set up their inventory offerings, pricing and account,” Szabo said. “The hotel has complete control over managing its calendar: limit the number of spots to offer, block out any days and adjust pricing. Our reservation and management system provides all guest/booking information, check-in features, reporting and data, and full inventory and pricing management. We provide this technology, along with all the marketing and customer support, and we only take a commission on bookings, so there’s no out-of-pocket cost to the hotel. We generate up to $10,000 a month for our city hotels and up to $50,000 per month for our destination resorts.”

As for how to best market a hotel on the platform, Szabo said it should “offer inviting packages (Can you offer validated parking or spa amenities?) and provide excellent service to day guests when they arrive. Hotels that get the most positive reviews from guests perform the best on our platform.”

And this can help play into a hotel’s overall position. “There are a lot of changes in hospitality, in large part due to the growth of the sharing economy,” Szabo said. “Hotels have to change how they operate and find new ways to implement revenue in order to adapt to this evolving world. One solution has been to charge a resort fee to overnight guests, but this is often received negatively. Introducing a new channel of day guests is a way to generate direct significant new revenue with no downside. Because these guests are managed efficiently through our inventory system, there is zero conflict with overnight guests and it works seamlessly. We are helping hotels shift how they think about their property and what it means to be a guest.”  

It’s a way for hotels to gain more—and better—visibility. “Allowing people to experience your hotel solely for the amenities puts your hotel on the map as more than just an accommodation,” Szabo said. “Highlighting your pool, fitness center and spa as desirable and a valuable experience sets a new tone for how your property is perceived. It is not only exposure to a whole new market of people in a whole new way, but this exposure also converts to real bookings and revenue.”

“This platform is easy to use, informative and, most importantly, well used by travelers,” Koka added. “ResortPass has built strong awareness and is helping us a lot with our visibility and exposure to non-Kimpton guests. Our results have been very strong and much better than expected.” HB

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