American Marketer


Luxury hotels dive into summer offers following Memorial Day

May 19, 2014

rsz_memorialday2 Pool at Four Seasons Seattle


Memorial Day weekend acts as a gateway into the effusive and exploratory nature of summer for many consumers.

Luxury hotels are capitalizing on this outlook by unveiling offers that place an emphasis on activity and fresh experiences. While it may seem redundant to constantly rehash offers for every holiday, extended weekends elicit far more travel than other times of the year and properties have to make their voices heard amid the noise.

"Memorial Day weekend is all about convenience, relaxation and fun," said Taylor Rains, account executive at Rawle Murdy Associates, Charleston, SC.

"As the unofficial start of summer, travelers are looking for a taste of what the coming months will bring but know they don’t have the luxury of letting go in complete summer-style," he said. "It is only a long weekend after all.

"By leveraging summer activities and offerings luxury hotels have the opportunity to entice those travelers looking for a weekend of summer fun. Luxury hotels would also do well to target their respective local and drive markets."

Beach or no beach

Many consumers will be heading to the beach for Memorial Day, making coastal properties especially desirable.

St. Regis Bali Resort is stoking interest in its beaches by hosting an Instagram contest leading up to May 26. The contest asks fans to capture the concepts of elegance and the number five.


St. Regis Bali contest promotion

For properties not near the beach, highlighting pools and spas will be important for driving traffic.

Four Seasons Seattle is introducing a pool-side spa to foster an atmosphere of relaxation. Meanwhile, Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas is packing the Memorial Day weekend with a host of water games and activities.


Four Seasons Resort Dallas

Another differentiating factor for luxury travelers is the amount of outdoor activities available at a property.

The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common is encouraging guests to explore nearby parks with picnic baskets to go starting Memorial Day weekend. Dog owners can even pick up a special dog basket.

The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City is capitalizing on its patriotic position in Arlington, VA, by devising offers revolving around the annual Rolling Thunder parade. Others memorial-themed offers include three patriotic move screenings and a hot dog cart wheeled through the lobby each night.

Travelers can head to Orlando for fireworks and barbecue at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes Orlando.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is boasting its various golf course-equipped properties, with offers geared toward couples, families and friends.


The Fairmont Chateau Whistler golf resort

Some properties are using Memorial Day weekend as a launch pad for summer offers.

For instance, Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara in Carlsbad, CA, is branding each day of the week with a particular theme beginning May 26. The themes tend to focus on culinary offers and the program will run through Sept. 7.

Next on the horizon

Hotels must constantly anticipate the next holiday on the calendar and tilt their offerings to reflect incoming expectations.

As Mother's Day approached, luxury hotels appealed to the family sentiments of sons, daughters, siblings, spouses and relatives of all stripes.

While the holiday probably did not generate the kinds of extended stays that other holidays do, hotels still capitalized on the widespread desire to indulge. Revamped menus, spa offers and partnerships with local retailers were also deployed to pull in guests looking to spend a few hours at a property (see story).

Memorial Day often catches consumers off-guard, but the abrupt freedom of a three-day weekend just as often compels travel.

"Memorial Day, as a rule, tends to be more of a last-minute decision," Mr. Raines said.

"Therefore, when travelers decide that they’d like an escape for the weekend, they are likely to look to nearby destinations, even those in their own city," he said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York