REPORT FORM THE U.S.—Hotels are using gas discounts and credits to attract their driving guests as oil prices continue to rise throughout the world.
Two of the new gas-related marketing campaigns hail from Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf Resort & Spa in Innisbrook, Florida, and the Copley Square Hotel in Boston.
Innisbrook is offering guests who drive or fly to the resort a US$75 resort credit for driving expenses or airline surcharges. Guests must book the three-night “Pass on Your Gas Charges” package, which is available through 5 September, with rates stating at US$189 per night.
“This whole area is very reliant on the Florida traveler. We are going to carve out a greater share of the market because of this package,” said Lloyd Williams, managing director of Innisbrook.
| The lobby at Innisbrook.
More than 60% of the resort’s leisure travel business is made up of the drive-to market. The package has already received healthy media pickup—the resort’s primary marketing avenue for the promotion—on the campaign.
Meanwhile, executives at Copley Square expect the property’s gas credit to be popular among guests this summer. The “Fill ‘er Up… On Us” package, available through 5 September, offers a US$50 hotel credit when guests show a gas receipt dated the day of arrival and utilize the hotel’s valet parking service.
“Boston is such a big drive market—everyone from the New England area drives in—but the hotel rates in Boston are climbing. Between market prices increasing and gas prices increasing, it eliminates people from making plans,” GM John Maibach said. Instead of offering gas cards, which can become an accounting issue, Copley Square opted for the credit, Maibach added.
Copley Square already has seen increased weekend business from the “Fill ‘er Up” campaign, which is marketed on its website, through social media and via public relations.
Some of the other new gas-related and summer promotions from hoteliers include:
- Guests of Choice Hotels who stay two separate times at a Choice property between 3 March and 4 May, 2011, can redeem a US$50 gas card through the Choice Privileges rewards program.
- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants recently launched a “Paw-parazi Pet Photo Contest,” which runs through 31 May 2011. Travelers can submit photos of their pets, and the grand prize winner will receive a complimentary two-night stay at any Kimpton hotel, two round-trip tickets on JetBlue, a US$500 credit to Pet Airways for pet passengers, and other giveaways.
- Accor Hotels in India recently launched a “Summer Saver Campaign,” offering a 25% discount on room rates for guests who book seven days in advance. Stays must be booked by 30 June 2011 for stays between 1 April and 7 July 2011.
- The Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport is offering meeting planners 15% off their total bill as part of the “Let Good Things Happen” global campaign. Groups that book their events before 31 May 2011 and hold their event before 31 December 2011 will receive the discount.
- Guests of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts who book four consecutive nights at participating Wyndham resorts in Florida, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Playa del Carmen and Manzanillo, Mexico, will receive a fifth night free and US$200 in American Express Reward cards. Stays must be booked by 15 May 2011 and completed by 31 December 2011.
- Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is offering the third night free when guests stay for two nights between 28 April and 31 July 2011. Rates start at US$699 per night for beach suites, and guests receive complementary daily breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Priority Club reward members with InterContinental Hotels Group can earn double rewards points or double air miles at most IHG properties for stays between 16 May and 15 August 2011.