Royal Wedding Hotel Strategy

With the Royal Wedding soon upon us (29 April 2011), we ask Paul van Meerendonk, senior consultant at IDeaS Advantage, what hoteliers can do to fully capitalise on this Royal opportunity.

Note: You can read Paul van Meerendonk’s Top 5 Royal Wedding Tips for Hoteliers here. What kind of opportunity does the Royal Wedding offer hoteliers?

Meerendonk: Well, it’s difficult to say because there’s been no historical event to which we can make a comparison. Certainly, there’s a strong opportunity for hotels to maximise their occupancy and rates, but it’s a difficult time to accurately predict … especially with the extended bank holiday and school holiday in the mix as well.

My advice to hoteliers is not to focus only on the Royal Wedding – rather, hotels that target the uncertainty will come out on top. Can we not make a historical comparison to Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981?

Meerendonk: No, unfortunately not. Don’t forget that the industry and the tools and techniques it utilises have changed drastically. Since 1981, we’ve had the low-cost travel boom, the online booking revolution and the introduction of dynamic pricing. Back then, for a potential guest to shop around, they would have to visit a travel agent or physically telephone each hotel. Now, this can all be done in a matter clicks.

Therefore, it’s impossible to compare this event to Charles and Diana – and there’s no international precedent either! So, can we predict the level of uplift hoteliers should expect?

Meerendonk: Well, on event days, hotels can experience double digit revPAR growth; but the big question is will hotels loose business in the proceeding days?

Therefore, I suggest that hoteliers focus on longer length of stays to balance out the shoulder periods. Although the rates on the day of the Royal Wedding may be high, it makes real sense to introduce special packages to encourage longer stays. Which hotels will benefit?

Meerendonk: I think we’ll see hotels benefiting across the luxury rating. Some guests will be looking for cheap deals, while others will treat themselves and seek out a luxury offering. I also think that any hotel in a tourist location will benefit as travellers to London will combine the Royal Wedding with more traditional sightseeing activities. And out of London?

Meerendonk: I think there will definitely be an effect elsewhere in the UK – and again, it’s a matter of balance. A significant number of tourists intending to visit other UK locations during the Royal Wedding will divert to London. This is likely to be balanced by business travel moving away from the capital during this period.

Note: You can read Paul van Meerendonk’s Top 5 Royal Wedding Tips for Hoteliers here.


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