While the one-night guest might not be your primary market, if you ignore them you could be losing out on significant revenue. A Google study published in 2017 revealed that travel-related searches for "tonight" and "today" had grown over 150% on mobile in the previous two years, and 60% of travellers would consider an impulse purchase based on a good hotel or flight deal.
In fact, many accommodation providers - from B&Bs to villa owners - are seeing a rise in the demand, driven by an increase in ‘bleisure’ (part business, part leisure), last-minute and one-night weekender travel. If you can focus on these markets to fill the gaps in your booking diary, it could lead to a significant boost to your RevPAR.
Weekend getaways have been popular for decades, but the huge increase in low-cost airlines means that travellers can often find affordable flights that leave early Saturday morning and return Sunday evening, essentially getting a full weekend break for the cost of just one night’s stay.
Many low-cost airlines fly to Italy, making this a popular destination for former weekend-breakers. “With the increased number of airlines reaching all destinations, it becomes easier for travellers to capitalise a two-day experience with a one-night stay,” says Ezio Indiani, President of EHMA (European Hotel Managers Association) and GM of Principe di Savoia Hotel in Milan.
Northern Ireland is another hotspot for low-cost airlines, and the luxury Hastings Hotels group, which has seven properties in Belfast and the countryside, has found a similar trend.
"Bookings across all of our Hastings Hotels properties reveal that the average length of stay is now 1.35 to 1.5 nights,” says Catherine O'Hara, Revenue Manager for Hastings Hotels. “This has been the case for the past two years and we can confidently say that one-night bookings are our most popular.
"As our hotels are high end, we think that pricing is a factor which contributes to the one-night booking, particularity for families. And we have a lot of guests who visit our central hotels for a city break and travel in on Saturday morning, leaving on Sunday afternoon."
If multiple airlines or international rail services fly to your destination, you might want to consider creating packages to capitalise on this, offering early check-in and late check-out, or even linking to local airline schedules. This can be particularly useful for business-focused hotels, where rooms are typically empty on a Saturday night.
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