In July, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped down upon the lunar surface and proclaimed, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” This voyage for our country was indeed a giant leap for the United States and patriots around the country were proud.
For hotel sales people, “leaping” is a daily event. Successful sales associates practice their craft daily and are not afraid of taking chances. They are professional, clever, and entrepreneurial.
I love clever. I love it when clever meets professional. I love it more when clever and professional meets entrepreneurial. Which brings me to today’s blog. “Leap Year”
Every fourth year is a leap year (as a rule of thumb) according to the Gregorian calendar. February 29, 2016 will help clean up our solar system’s “messiness” (one earth year does not take an exact number of whole days. In fact, it takes 365.2422 days, give or take). So being the sales and marketing person I am, I want to capitalize on this event and “stand out from the crowd” by giving my customers a reason to celebrate…. and giving you another reason to visit your customers.
Here are a few traditions and fun facts about Leap Year:
- Fact. Under Julius Caesar, February indeed had 30 days. When Caesar Augustus was emperor he was peeved that his month (August) only had 29 days, whereas the month named after his predecessor Julius (July) had 31 days. “He pinched a couple of days for August to make it the same as July and it was poor old February that lost out,” says Ian Stewart. (Emeritus professor of mathematics at Warwick University)
- Tradition. According to an old Irish legend, St. Brigid struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men (and not just the other way around) every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar. In Ireland, a woman proposing to a man on Leap Day is considered good luck (remember the 2010 film “Leap Year”).
- Fact and Tradition. In some places, Leap Day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day. In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictated that any man who refused a woman’s proposal on February 29th had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention was that the woman could wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. (Try pulling this off in 2016….)
- Fact and Tradition. In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on leap day, just as Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. To counteract this perceived curse, (unmarried) Queen Margaret allegedly enacted a law in 1288 allowing women to propose on Leap Day but the proposer had to wear a red petticoat to warn her intended that she planned to pop the question.
- Fact. Greeks consider it unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year, and especially on Leap Day as it considered inauspicious and the relationship is thought likely to end in divorce.
So how, pray tell, are we going to integrate “Leap Day” into our sales and marketing? We certainly do not want to encourage brides NOT to book our hotel during 2016 because they are worried about the doom of a marriage that happens the other 365 days of 2016! So maybe we focus on the good luck the Irish tout about the fact that women can propose to men on this date? Run a romance special that focuses on proposals!
Or maybe we just scrap the whole love angle and offer a special that happens only “once every 4 years”. Change the price of every room to $129.29 for the day. Sell the first 29 rooms at $29. Give the first 29 guests a free upgrade (if you have 29 unsold upgradable options). Let all 29-year-olds get their rooms for $29. Reduce your meeting room rent to $29 for the day. You get the drift…… Be clever. Be professional. Be entrepreneurial.
Happy leaping over the competition!