What Hotel Marketers Think About Black Friday and Cyber Monday
By Cristina DiStefano, Director of Enterprise Marketing, Oneida Nation Enterprises, and a member of HSMAI’s Marketing Advisory Board
As Thanksgiving approaches, so do the traditional sales days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But this year, many businesses are stretching out their sales to start earlier and last longer, including many hotels. During a recent call, members of HSMAI's Marketing Advisory Board (MAB) discussed their sale plans and how coronavirus has changed how they traditionally execute them. Here are key takeaways from their discussion:
CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR
The majority of MAB members on the call said that they ran a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale last year and are planning on doing it again this year, but with a few changes. "This year, the discount is deeper than ever before," one MAB member said. "Usually there is some jostling within our portfolio of hotels over who is going to give what discount, but this year, everyone is giving the same deep discount. Also, this year it's open to OTAs as well, so we will see how that works."
One member said that she is telling her team to be more relaxed about this year's sale. "Don't wrap your self-worth in the performance of the cyber sale," she said. "In years past, we've put so much energy into it, but a lot of the cyber-sale bookings last year had to be canceled when we closed our doors for three months. External forces are so great right now that we just have to make good decisions with the information we have and see what the customer will do."
A few MAB members said that while they historically have offered Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts, they are not doing so this year. "We've already had to drop our rates so low that dropping them any deeper doesn't really make sense," one member said.
Other members on the call said that even if they are calling it a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, their discounts are actually running throughout the month or longer, similar to many retailers. "We're still keeping the psychological connection with Cyber Monday, but it's been extended," one member said. "A lot of our hotels started right after Amazon did their Prime Day at the end of October, because they felt like people were ready for that. It hasn't had the intensity that normally a Cyber Monday does, but cumulatively, it's been really effective."