Package your trips with a purpose: a thing to do, a skill to learn, a challenge to meet, a sight to behold, a reason for it all.
Pinpointing that purpose in a destination and communicating it in text, photos, and video is key to helping travelers envision themselves more clearly: trips with a purpose marketing also adds value and prestige to a nightly stay. It is the transformative experience humans want in an uncertain time.
Take advantage of the flexibility and agility of your small business (compared to the larger, more corporate infrastructure of the world's greatest boutique hotels) and begin marketing yours quickly for maximum effect. Here are some ideas to get you thinking...
With professionals (and their kids) now being told they'll be working (and learning) remotely for the foreseeable future, they can live out their sabbatical dreams in a place that is relaxing, inspiring, or maybe just warm. Create a blog post about the beauty of taking a mini-sabbatical to your destination. Provide all the relevant logistics (where they'll get their local groceries, how they'll get around) as well as some of the more aspirational stuff (where to watch their sunsets, the most invigorating morning walk and coffee spot).
Founded in 1979, Marathon Tours & Travel was the first innovator of travel services for runners. In partnership with hand-selected airlines, hotels and travel wholesalers, MTT crafts each trip around a marathon -- the anchor or "excuse" for exploring new cultures, spending time with family, and pushing one's self beyond the comfort zone.
While many of the big marathons are being cancelled, some swimming, biking, and running races are happening locally. The races that have been postponed to 2021 will be especially popular (begin booking now!) Find out any races big or small taking place in your area and give travelers an added reason to visit and feel purposeful.
Artist in Residence
Flights to your destinations grounded? Your normal lead flow completely blocked until travel restrictions ease? Consider trading some time in your vacation rental to a local artist.
Jens Bachem of Caragh Lake House in Ireland piloted an Artist in Residence program. Once a year, hosting artists in his low season (for free) who are encouraged to create and interact with the local community. By hosting artist, educator, and "wild swimmer" Vivienne Rickman-Poole, Jens channeled the aspirational nature of art and creativity in future guests. His program even asks the artist to give a talk in town to anyone who'd like to attend.
Brad Stewart from Stewart Mountain Lodging in Utah works with Great Basin Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center, for special guests to help release rehabilitated birds back into the wild.
In Yellowstone National Park, it's the reintroduction of wolves (and the fanatical fans that want a look) that is acting as the driver of ecological resurgence and winter tourism dollars. "Wolf Tourism," now adds $35 million a year into the local economy: a reminder that with the right context, any ecological virtue can be turned into a trip with a purpose. Do any local organizations have needs for volunteers? Can you promote supporting those organizations to your guests?