10 Things We Learned About Promoting Special Offer Holiday Breaks


Accolade Marketing has been promoting Special Offer Holiday Breaks, in Ireland and Internationally, for over 20 years. We’ve learned a lot along the way by observing responses and taking feedback. Here are 10 tips you should know.


#1 Consumers 'Take it All in'

Consumers are smart. After all…. they are you and I!. They seek out value and they compare. Value to the consumer is NOT just the price ... it’s what they get in return for the price paid. Consumers, therefore, take it all in – the package... from your location and the perceived quality of your accommodation and services to your price and inclusions.


#2 Keep Your Special Offer Simple

The simpler your special offer is, the easier it is for the consumer to understand it and to make a value judgement as to whether they want to book your break or not. Our advice is always to keep your special offer simple.


#3 Priced Bundles

The more complex or restrictive your offer, the less the uptake. A break that bundles and prices in too much won’t book as well as breaks that price a more simple core offer.... and then offers the possibility of add-on extras. Also, short stays generally book better than longer stays. So, if it is an option for you, lead with short break offers.


#4 Niche Offers

Niche offers, of their very nature, attract far less business than general offers... but they can still help to sustain some businesses.


#5 The Power of FREE

Free is a magic word, provided it is not a gimmick. 'Kids Stay Free'; 'Free Spa Treatment', 'Free Days for Longer Stays', or Free Visits to named local attractions can all help to draw in business, and can lead to an increased spend while at your accommodation.


#6 Photos will Sell or Unsell You

When promoting your special offers, make sure the photographs you use are well-composed and of very high quality. Good photos are a great investment. Bad photos will actually “unsell" you. Now, why would you want to spend money on any advertising… to lose business?


#7 Check your Competitors

Check what your competitors are doing, never to mimic, but to help ensure that you promote your product and offer with an emphasis on your competitive advantages. Your advantages may be a mix of location, value, service, quality, amenities, extras, thoughtful touches, innovations, or the overall experience.


#8 The Best Form of Advertising

The best form of advertising is word of mouth and, more than ever, "word of mouse". The best way to ensure consumers “speak” well of you is to deliver good value (not the same as cheap prices), excellent service and a brilliant experience.


#9 Midweek versus Weekend Offers

Midweeks for leisure breaks generally won’t sell as well as weekends. However, while you will want to sell your midweeks, you should consider pricing and promoting both in your offers. In this way, the consumer can clearly see the value of the midweek break relative to the weekend break. This emphasises its value and also enables the consumer to still book your weekends at a higher price point if they wish to.


#10 Build Loyalty

Most marketing advice encourages you to focus on attracting new customers rather than on retaining existing ones. However, it’s estimated that acquiring new customers can cost you five times as much as the costs involved in satisfying and retaining current customers. So, while you should set out to win new business through special offers and general marketing, you should also invest in providing a brilliant overall experience that retains your customers. In this way they will:


  • Stay loyal longer, returning for further breaks.
  • Be ambassadors, recommending your accommodation/activity to friends and family.
  • Be less sensitive to price alone (they will know the difference between price and value).
  • Pay less attention to offers from competing accommodations/activities.
  • Cost you far less to communicate new offers to.
  • Be more forthcoming in providing feedback and suggestions.