Are you a hotel marketing groundhog?

Next week is Groundhog Day According to the tradition, a clairvoyant groundhog in Pennsylvania named “Punxsutawney Phil” cautiously emerges from his cosy hideout each year.

If Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he predicts six more weeks of winter. If Phil does not see his shadow, he predicts an early spring.

It’s a silly holiday, but a helpful symbolic event for many hotel marketers. After all, you can’t lead your property if you’re hunkered down in your hole or sitting behind your desk, stuck behind closed doors returning emails and analysing spreadsheets.

Let the brilliance shine and spring into action. Here are three smart ways to get out of that winter rut:

1. Get out and talk to people… yes, really talk.

Build time each and everyday to walk your property. Chat with guests, find out why they’re visiting, how they found your property, how they’re enjoying their stay and if there is anything that could have been done to improve their experience.

Do the same with your conference space – walk the hallways and mingle with the event planning team and the attendees. Not only can this daily socializing unearth issues that would normally go unnoticed, but also queue up ideas for future marketing campaigns, ancillary services and unique amenities that you would never have discovered being holed up in your office.

2. Review compset properties that are outperforming yours.

Scour their website and, if time permits, stop by for a visit. Find out what they’re offering that your hotel isn’t. What is their staff doing differently? What makes their experience outshine yours? Take a look at what their guests are saying on TripAdvisor, how the hotel is responding and how they communicate on their social media channels. What promotions are they running, what packages do they offer, what are they offering meeting planners?

3. Create an authentic, local experience.

If you can’t upgrade your physical property, then enhance your hotel’s programming and destination experience.

Today’s travellers are hungry for one-of-a-kind experiences, so build packages around immersive activities that give them a true sense of place. What are the locally inspired gems in your neighbourhood? Where do the locals love to go? We’re not talking about the famous, big-ticket attractions that everyone already knows about in your destination. We’re talking about the small farm tours, the food tastings at a family-owned restaurant or winery, the tours run by a locally owned tour company.

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