“Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving the country’s armed forces.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day)
While this holiday has patriotic and somber roots, for hoteliers it also unofficially marks the beginning of summer (Labor Day marking the end). The success achieved on this holiday weekend is usually the precursor of things to come, and a barometer reading of the summer season. Are you prepared, have you done your legwork to ensure good occupancies?
Many of us will visit cemeteries and graves of our loved ones, place flags, and take time to silently thank those who have served this weekend. So why is it that most of “celebrate” and why is it a federal holiday? After all, it is supposed to be a day of remembrance, right?
In my humble opinion, the celebration aspect reminds me that I grew up in a military family. Honoring those who died for the freedoms we enjoy daily goes hand-in-hand with honoring those who continue to do so every day. To honor AND remember our military should be a daily celebration and not a once or twice a year celebration.
One way hotels can both “celebrate and honor” would be to offer our military and veterans of military service a special discount at our hotels and in our restaurants. If you haven’t already, try contacting military installation travel offices, send out or hand out flyers and notifications to armories and military offices within your community. You can also do e-blasts to former military guests inviting them back to the hotel to relax and be pampered at your hotel. Put together a suggested itinerary for the weekend that includes military landmarks, historical buildings and/or museums, paired with local attractions, activities, and eateries. Appeal to all ages…. children, teens, older children, adults, and grandparents.
Just one more little thank you will go a long way.