Pat Hyland - Dec 7, 2015
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Locals can be the answer to making extra revenue during slow periods, hoteliers are now finding out. Some of the biggest hotels in the world are now focusing on day services such as gyms and spas in order to appeal to locals who may take advantage of this opportunity, thus allowing them to make the most of their offer, even in periods when tourism slows down in the area.

Non-guest revenue is not a new concept, of course, as hotels have hosted events, conferences, teas and dinners, and offered experiences which are fairly open to non-guests for a long time. Some hotels, like the Cavallo Point Lodge, for instance, are even better known for the experiences they offer – a culinary school, in this case – than for their traditional guest services.

However, some hoteliers are just now making note of the opportunities presented by non-guest services, which allow them to use the space available wisely, make some extra revenue and can even lead to future stays or recommendations that may not have happened otherwise.

This means marketing teams have to find new ways to reach locals, whether by offering free services on top of non-guest reservations, like the free yoga class at the Ritz-Carlton’s spa or inviting bloggers to write about such opportunities, the tactic used at the Wine & Align event.

Non-guest activities and promotions aren’t just meant to fill vacant or slow periods, though. In fact, some hotels have marketing strategies specifically for local residents, which include discounts during the week, for instance, when these facilities are generally less busy, or ever-changing services, which are more appealing to someone who has access to them frequently than a set offer, which they may try and not want to repeat the next week.

However, it is not just the marketing strategy that is changing at these hotels. The idea that everyone should be treated politely and fairly, whether they are guests or locals, paying for a service or just in for a visit, is something that is also being taught and employed by hotel workers, as these non-guests not only represent future sales and revenue opportunity, but are also a part of the local community and atmosphere, which make the hotel unique rather than undesirable for guests, as was previously thought.

Welcoming non-guests is still a challenge for hoteliers, however, even if guests prefer the pleasant feeling of having locals around them and not just other tourists who are passing through. In some cases, opening the facilities to non-guests can be quite overwhelming and counterproductive, leading the service to lose some of its quality.

This is why timing is the key to allowing both guest and non-guest services to run smoothly. It is also the reason why some of these experienced hoteliers opt for running seasonal events just for non-guests, which are not only more special, but also present great marketing and sales opportunities, as well as only opening their facilities to non-guests, especially at promotional prices, when guest occupancy and attendance is lower than normal.

Welcoming non-guests is surely something that challenges hoteliers and what they are used to, but it is also a great opportunity for the present and the future, and it is already showing results, so it should become increasingly popular sooner rather than later.

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