Marketing as a “Drive To” Destination

The economic news is very doom and gloom these days – but if you’re a drive-to destination – you’re in luck.  Gas is getting cheaper!

Today I paid $2.22 a gallon.  That’s pretty high still – we’re not very far from some major ski areas in the mountains of Colorado.  That being said – I’m more likely now to drive myself to a vacation than I was just six-months ago.

driving a fancy car

Marketing to these drive-to shoppers presents some unique challenges, especially for vacation rental managers.  There are some tips I can suggest to take advantage of this market – If you have any of your own to add – please feel free to list them in the comments below:

  1. Most drive-to travelers are probably looking to stay for a long weekend.  Vacation rental peeps – those 7-day minimums are probably going to shoot you in the foot.  Consider relaxing those – even in just a few properties – if possible
  2. Drive-to travelers might be able to haul more gear – so push golf, skiing, surfing, etc as they wont have to rent equipment to have a good time.  A 4-day weekend package that included a lift ticket or round of golf would be a great feature for your next email marketing blast.
  3. Fido is more likely to be coming along – and not having to pay for a kennel might be a bonus for those looking to spend a few days with the family.  Emphasize pet friendly rentals and even provide a clean doggie dish and bed if possible.
  4. Sort your email marketing list by less than 1 hour, 2-4hours and 6+ hours.  Send out last minute weekend specials to the 4 hours or less crowd when you have a ton of vacancies.  This is a way to have “heads in beds” so to speak – even if you have to discount them a bit.

Like I said – just a few ideas – let me know yours in the comments below!

image courtesy  freeparking

Comments

  1. Targeting drive cities in your pay-per-click ads with your last minute specials and weekend getaways can also be effective. For a higher conversion, develop a special landing page for those visitors that will reinforce the special you advertised.

  2. Great tips Carrie and Anna!

    I know when I am personally looking to go somewhere semi-local for a long weekend that all of these factors are important to me. I have a Vacation Rental Manager that I work with that emails me whenever he’s got a last minute rental available that fit my specifications (price, pets, ski area proximity, etc). He gets all of my in-state rental bookings, and I’ve referred several friends as well.

    Start a blog with area news, specials, and other posts that will keep guests coming back to your site for updated information on things to do while on vacation, or specials for guests that haven’t booked yet.

    Another thing we all love is “freebies” -throw a gift certificate for a pizza and some movie rentals in after a long day on the slopes, or discount tickets to a local attraction that you’ve partnered with.

  3. Very good thinking. Especially that tip about making it pet friendly.

  4. You have nailed it on two counts, 1st the minimum stay resorts targetting “drive in visitors” should loose it all together, many people are finding difficult to find 2 days to be away, let alone 7 or more. 2nd push the available on property activities, as once we get there ahy do we want to drive another 1/2 hour to play.

  5. I had stopped driving for so long (live near great public transportation) because of the gas prices that it came as a huge shock to me to see that they’d come down again when i filled up the other day.

  6. Carrie Lynn says:

    Great advice. I don’t have a car right now so I admit that I don’t notice gas prices as much as everyone else. I was talking to a friend the other day and he said driving home for the holidays this year should cost him half of what it did last year (around $150 instead of $300).

    I’m tempted to rent a car just to check out some of the drive to destinations around here.

  7. Hey, great minds think alike! We just ran some stats here at Escapia on the duration of stay for queries on our consumer site http://www.ClearStay.com. The bulk of the queries was definitely under 7 days. It was interesting to see that there was a spike at the 6 day mark. To see the chart and read the blog post

  8. Like your thoughts on stratifing your email list based on distance. I have a business that can benefit from this application.

  9. My tip on saving fuel. Use a bicycle when moving around in local area :-)

  10. Great Post. Lots of information. “drive-to travelers” I have never heard it called that.

    The thing that worries me about gas prices dropping, is how fast is going to go back up? $5.00, $10.00. I think its going to jump up very fast, like over night.
    If this does happen, what will people do in this rescission that we already are in?

    Allen

  11. Wow.. amazing tips on marketing ‘drive-to travelers’ concept. I agree with all the suggestions especially from Anna and Erin about pay per click ads and freebies. With the special informative landing page and maybe with throwing some freebies or discount inside, it will encourage visitors to sign up your offer.

  12. Roselyn | Goji Berries says:

    It is lovely to bring the whole family plus the pets because you won’t be worrying about those loved ones you left behind. By this time, gas prices are lower so driving to a much farther destination is possible. However, you’ll just get tired from driving for long so stick with your original plans. Just spend a long weekend within the vicinity of your area.

  13. recetas de cocina says:

    Nice post! I agree with all commentators. Also it’s the first time I’ve heard the term “drive-to” travellers.

  14. good topic and also interesting term “drive-to” traveler. it is really work for me to short out my some of problems.

  15. $2.22 a gallon! I’d give an arm and a leg to pay that much, here in the UK try £5.50 a gallon, what’s that $10+!!

    Anyway just found your blog, I like it some great ideas keep up the good posts! :)

  16. The price of gas really is indeed going down..I might plan to bring my family one of these weekends to an interesting vacation house in the country..

    Thanks for the advise.

  17. i strongly agree on two things..1st the minimum stay resorts targetting “drive in visitors” should loose it all together, many people are finding difficult to find 2 days to be away, let alone 7 or more. 2nd push the available on property activities, as once we get there ahy do we want to drive another 1/2 hour to play.

  18. Dana Daniels says:

    Also, when sending out your last minute emails to your “drive to” crowd. Be sure to include a list of local special events scheduled for that weekend. Most chambers of commerce or local newspapers will have this info readily available for you.

  19. johnwalters111 says:

    The thing that worries me about gas prices dropping, is how fast is going to go back up? $5.00, $10.00. I think its going to jump up very fast, like over night.
    If this does happen, what will people do in this rescission that we already are in?

  20. Hey Carrie, would you check if my comments are getting into spam filter somewhere. As I stumbled this page again today, I remember posting a comment over here.

    Do you think these are not appropriate for the post or it’s stuck in filter.

    Cheers, Abhijeet

  21. Another good reason for targeting these “staycation” travelers: they’re more likely to come back! We spend a ton of money reaching new customers. It’s much cheaper to get the old ones to come back.