Monday, April 21, 2014

Reaping the Benefits of Vacation Packages

For travelers who like to plan ahead and manage their costs, vacation packages represent an easy way for travelers to book a flexible combination of flight, lodging, rental car and local attractions at one rate, on one website with a few clicks of the mouse.The benefits to hotels of offering vacation packages, however, often go unrecognized:
  • An average booking window that is more than double that of a standalone hotel reservation;
  • An average length of stay that is more than 120 percent longer than a standalone hotel reservation;
  • 50 percent fewer cancellations than standalone hotel bookings
  • Increased opacity to preserve rate integrity

In Jacksonville, a market that is driven largely by its submarkets, hotels were unaccustomed to utilizing packages because they assumed they were too far from the airport for their offerings to be effective.  By experimenting with the package path, one hotel ultimately grew its business by 20 percent and became one of Jacksonville’s top producers.   While packages are not the lion’s share of this hotel’s business, you can be sure they’re not interested in giving up those incremental room nights either.

It’s imperative for hotels to use market-specific demand data, like that offered by Expedia market managers, to identify and address any unfulfilled demand that could be best-served with vacation package offers.

For example, if 15 percent of shoppers in a given market are looking for four-night packages, 15 percent of any area hotel’s bookings should be for four nights.  If a hotel’s booking metrics don’t reflect market averages, the hotel can adjust their package offerings to capture that lucrative guest.  Offering discounts on a fourth night might convert three night shoppers into a four-night guest and capture the four-night shoppers along the way. 

Need help designing your package? Contact the sales staff at the Kankakee County CVB for more information.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Buses are booming; are you ready?

The number of people riding buses continues its recent upward trend, the American Bus Association said in its "Motorcoach Census 2013" report out recently. Despite the name, it actually looks at 2012 figures, and finds a 1.7 percent hike in passenger trips on buses, making it nearly 6 percent higher than three years ago. Read the full report or a chart of the basic figures

But how can you be sure your event or attraction is motorcoach friendly? In order to draw more of this business, see if you can answer these questions about your attraction or event:


  • Do you have motorcoach parking? 
  • Is there somewhere for the driver to rest away from the motorcoach?
    • If an on-site lounge is unavailable, do you provide complimentary meals or drinks for the drivers? 
  • Is it easy for motorcoaches to maneuver in and out of the parking facility? 
    • Will the group have to walk far? 
  • How many bus parking spaces do you have? 
    • How is this communicated? 
    • Communicated through a greeter, available online, or via telephone hotline? 
  • Can you provide directions to nearby fueling, dumping or maintenance facilities?


  • Does the event have a history of drawing groups? How many? 
  • Is the event motorcoach friendly? 
  • How does the event treat bus drivers and group escorts—free admission? 
    • A dedicated driver area?
    • Prize drawings for drivers bringing the most groups? 
  • Do you have dedicated parking areas for motorcoaches? Free? 
  • Are embark/disembark points close to the event entrance? 
  • Can nearby hotels accommodate a motorcoach group? 
  • Can the event handle passengers being dropped off 55 at a time?
Keeping these things in mind can help make you more attractive to motorcoach groups. For more ideas, contact the Kankakee County CVB.