In New York City, January has historically been a slow month for hotels. Following the flurry of activity and travel during the holiday season, business activity drops off, and hotels struggle to find ways to keep their rooms booked.
Last year, hotel marketing maven Nancy Friedman of Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations came up with a concept to help NYC hotels drive business during the slow period. Inspired by the concept of Restaurant Week, she launched Hotel Week, a promotion in which participating hotels offer discounted rates of $100, $200, or $250 per night. On average, the nightly rate for a hotel in New York hovers around the $300 mark.
“I’ve been marketing hotels for decades, and every year people lament the drop off in business in January,” says Friedman. “The fourth quarter is so robust, and it is almost a shock when business falls off. Hotel Week was a way to remedy the drop in occupancy for hotels in New York.”
Last year, the inaugural Hotel Week included eight participating hotels, many of which were clients of Friedman’s public relations firm. The two-week event drummed up nearly 400 room nights at the properties and gained attention from media outlets including USA Today, CNN, and the Washington Post.
“It was like a light bulb went off last year,” says Friedman. “And judging by the enthusiasm for the promotion, I think we’re really onto something.”
Hotel Week 2013, which kicks off on January 4, has expanded into a 17-day event. This year, the number of participating hotels has grown to 20 and includes several properties that are not associated with Friedman’s firm. She explains that any hotel in New York City can get involved in the promotion as long as they agree to offer the reduced rates. Friedman is starting to promote Hotel Week much earlier this year and is also planning on expanding the reach of the marketing campaign overseas in an attempt to attract foreign travelers.
“We expect to have a considerably higher level of bookings this year,” she says. “It’s a win-win situation for hotels. Although the rates are lower, it brings occupancy figures up for the month. It also gives hotels great exposure.”
As part of the second annual Hotel Week, properties offering the $250 rate include the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC, and Hyatt 48 Lex; $200 room rates can be found at The Maritime, The Jade Hotel, Library Hotel, Casablanca Hotel, Hotel Giraffe, Hotel Elysee, and Sanctuary Hotel; and hotels such as THE OUT NYC, The Hotel @ Times Square, Pod 39, Pod 51, The GEM Hotel Chelsea, The GEM Hotel Midtown West, Comfort Inn Midtown West, and Comfort Inn Times Square South are offering rooms for $100 per night.
Friedman, who trademarked the Hotel Week term, expects the promotion to grow in New York City and says it even has potential to expand into other cities or other seasons and become an event that travelers look forward to every year.