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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Hotels Lure Locals with Deals

What’s a hotel to do when cash-strapped Americans won’t make a trip to the mall let alone across the country? Turns out, hotels have a number of tactics in their arsenals to survive the economic downturn. To shore up business, they’re offering incentives to guests from both near and far, getting local companies to hold meetings onsite and playing up the services of other businesses on the premises such as bars and restaurants. “We’re creating a lot of packages,” said Bert Seneca, general manager of Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn in North Hollywood. At present, the Beverly Garland is offering eight packages. The Universal Package, provides guests with one room and two adult tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood valid for two days during their stay. The Romantic Getaway package includes one room, a bottle of sparkling white wine, a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates during a couple’s stay. There are also Priority Club Rewards packages that allow guests to accrue points that can be transformed into mileage credits with participating airlines. Of course, in these financially trying times, many people can’t afford to fly. “People who can’t afford maybe the airline fare and other things associated with it are now maybe taking the trips that you drive to,” Seneca said. “It’s a little bit more reasonable. It kind of bundles everything into one. A family can really look at their budget and know what they’re going to be spending.” Because of this trend, Seneca said that the Beverly Garland is reaching out to what he calls “drive time” clients. These guests come from California cities such as Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego. The California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC) is also aware that residents of the state can play a role in boosting the tourism industry here. The commission announced Feb. 17 that it was launching its in-state tourism marketing program. According to CTTC President and CEO Caroline Beteta, 83 percent of visitors to California attractions are from in-state. “Residents are looking for creative ways to reconnect with California while maximizing the value of their vacation,” Beteta explained. “Now, more than ever, is a great time to plan an in-state getaway.” Seneca is hoping to capitalize on the number of in-state tourists by focusing on the hotel’s website. “You actually try to maximize your exposure via the website,” he said. “Our concerted effort is being able to reach people everywhere. To be able to advertise our hotel in San Francisco is just cost prohibitive, and most families, when they’re looking at travel, the first thing they do is pop on the Internet.” New Kid on the Block At the Embassy Suites in Glendale, General Manager Grace Tanji said that she can’t necessarily count on guests from the state of California to stay at her hotel. Because Glendale is home to major corporations such as Nestl & #233;, DineEquity and Public Storage, many patrons of Embassy Suites actually do arrive from elsewhere. “It’s definitely a corporate area,” Tanji said. But, she added, “It’s a beautiful location for weddings and such. It’s definitely an entertainment and business area.” Thanks to the hotel’s 10,000 square feet of meeting space, Tanji is able to reach out to local companies about having events there. Forming relationships with area businesses is of particular importance to the Embassy Suites because it is new. The hotel just opened its doors in November. “We’re meeting with a lot of local clientele to introduce them to the Embassy Suites,” Tanji said. While the number of companies in Glendale is a positive, attracting guests to the Jewel City can be difficult because it’s not in the immediate vicinity of downtown Los Angeles or Anaheim, the home of Disneyland, Tanji believes. Moreover, name recognition can be a problem. “Everyone puts Glendale under the same category as L.A. If you say, ‘Glendale,’ most people think Arizona before California,” she said. Glendale, Ariz., is home to the Coyotes, a National Hockey League team, as well as the Cardinals, a National Football League team. The city also played host to Super Bowl 2008. Tanji is now trying to connect with those most familiar with Glendale, Calif.,the residents. To introduce community members to the Embassy Suites, the hotel is offering a happy hour at its bar and giving residents who dine at the hotel’s restaurant a 15 percent discount. The Embassy Suites isn’t alone in offering dining-related promotions. The Beverly Garland offers a package called Best 4 Breakfast in which guests receive coupons redeemable for breakfast in the hotel restaurant with a daily $20 limit per room. In addition, its In-Hotel Dinner Package includes one room, appetizer, main course and dessert for a maximum of two adults nightly per room. Other promotions offered by the Embassy Suites are available at Hilton hotels across the board. Embassy Suites is a Hilton subsidiary. Such promotions include giving guests points for each stay they have at the hotel. “We’re doing a lot of promotions that way because we’re a newer hotel,” Tanji explained. A Personal Touch The Hyatt Valencia operates similarly. Most of the incentives offered at the Santa Clarita Valley hotel are available at Hyatts everywhere. “There are extremely appealing incentives, and those include a variety of things,” said Tim Wildey, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “We have one offer where a qualifying customer can choose complimentary afternoon breaks, free Internet access. It gives flexibility and affordability. Other incentives are rebates on their final bills.” Organizations that book multiple events with the Hyatt are also given deals. To boot, the hotel is providing incentives to former guests. “Come back again, and we have rebooking incentives,” Wildey said. “We have incentives for groups that use our competitors. Give us a try, and we have introductory incentives.” In addition to offering promotions, Wildey believes that the relationships the hotel forms with guests help the Hyatt maintain business. Simply listening to guests is helpful to the hotel’s sales team, he said. “The customer will tell you everything to do to gain their business,” Wildey said. “Listening to what they’re going through, we learn from the customer. The more we do that, we’re better equipped to then be partners with them.”

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