Put ‘Valentines’ and ‘hotels’ into your internet search engine, and results bouncing back list endless streams of romantic getaways, overnight deals, or romantic meals in the hotel restaurant. The free glass of Prosecco on arrival is the must have.
Against a backdrop of pink hearts and flamingos, Lastminute.com asks those so inclined to “make a grand gesture this Valentine’s Day and sweep your partner away to one of Europe’s most romantic destinations with our hotels or get your hands on the perfect spa and experience gifts.
“There’s no better time to spoil your loved one.”
Absolutely, or to add to the coffers of an increasingly lucrative market for the hospitality industry.
Loved-up UK couples spent an estimated £658 million on dining out and romantic getaways in 2019, according to Statista. On the retail side, Valentine’s Day is set to be worth just over £1bn in 2020, up 0.6% on 2019 according to GlobalData, data and analytics company.
The Brits are certainly a romantic nation.
But, how does the hotel market celebrate it, and what do they really get out of the world’s most loved-up day?
Hard to tell, says a spokesperson for Hilton, who adds that it is difficult to measure just what impact Valentine’s Day and night has on the groups occupancy levels as each hotel is measured individually. “However, we do have various promotions at each separate hotel” says the spokesperson.
And the chain certainly goes big on promoting the 14th February. This year, with Valentine’s Day on a Friday, they are making the most of it being the start of a weekend getaway for lovers.
On its website Hilton website proudly declares: “Seven Unforgettable Valentine’s Day Experiences at Hilton Hotels Around the World”
Then it adds: “If you’re searching for some Valentine’s Day inspiration, look no further than Hilton, which has lined up a wide variety of romantic experiences and getaways.
“How about a zodiac-themed dinner with 12 dishes on a 34th-floor rooftop in Thailand, a stunning sunset hike among Arizona’s scenic Red Rocks, a royal-like Cadbury House Valentine’s Day ball in the U.K. or a spin in an Italian sports car on a rooftop track that was featured in “The Italian Job” and overlooks the Alps?”
The chain lists it’s seven top romantic hotels: Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, Sedona, Arizona; Hilton Pattaya, Pattaya Chonburi, Thailand; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bristol South – Cadbury House, Bristol, England; DoubleTree by Hilton Turin Lingotto, Turin, Italy; Conrad Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; Conrad London, St James, England, and Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Rome, Italy.
Valentine’s Day, at Hyatt, says a spokesperson, “would be marked at a local level with teams seeing it as a really special way to celebrate individual guests.
“The way Hyatt works is we empower the people in our hotels and if they know someone is there for a special occasion because it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or other special occasion, they will use those events as ways of making people feel cared for. That’s what we do: we live by the ‘caring for people to be their best’ and Valentine’s Day is another opportunity for them to uniquely leverage something to make somebody happy.”
Paul Mack, CFO with Latitude Hotels https://latitudehotels.com/about-us agrees with the Hyatt approach. He says: “Valentine’s is a great time for the hotels as a lot of fun is had.”
“We do Valentine’s Day promotions and packages. To be honest, we don’t aim to increase rates as a result and occupancy at our hotels is very high anyway, so RevPar doesn’t really move as a result – it’s more the food & beverage for us. We measure Valentine’s day with smiles!”
While offering the high-end luxury lovers day experience, those in a sensitive financial position are still catered for – especially at Premier Inns. Its bargain priced rooms even made the headlines of the mirror.co.uk, which screamed out, “Premier Inn has rooms for £35 over the Valentine’s Day weekend!”
There’s always a deal for every budget!
Could Valentines be the industry’s Black Friday?
UK retailers first latched on to the US Black Friday phenomenon – the frenzied shopping day of wild discounts after Thanks Giving – in 2013 when the Walmart-owned Asda announced “Walmart’s Black Friday by ASDA”.
In 2014, more retailers, including ao.com, very.co.uk, John Lewis and Argos, jumped on to the band wagon to such success that last year, Black Friday tills – cyber and physical – rang to the tune of an estimated £5.6 billion on Black Friday and the newly added Cyber Monday. That equates to an average of £251.20 per person, according to finder.com.
Imagine that spending power being transferred to the hotel sector. That was just the question an article for Hospitalitynet.org, has asked: Black Friday Frenzy – Can Your Hotel Replicate It For Valentine’s Day? https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4096834.html
The article analysed data from hotels data from 105 of its client hotels who created promotional campaigns around Black Friday in 2019, comparing figures with the previous 4-day weekend.
Results showed that traffic in hotel chain booking engines increased by 75%, while traffic in independent hotel booking engines increased by 25%.
David Harper, Leisure Property Services says “It can seem a cheesy cliché, but Valentine’s Day events for hotels and restaurants is the perfect way to get new clients in. Live music, set menus, free flowing sparkling wine and themed décor along with weekend packages can really boost income at this time of year.”
Quite simply, the overall advice is: “As a hotelier, you shouldn’t ignore “consumerism” dates but instead define a clear plan, always in keeping with your brand positioning, to leverage the most relevant dates for your target market.”