As college seniors, their family and friends prepare for graduation ceremonies, they may not know it, but hotels within the vicinity of their campuses are also getting ready for these events. Each year, crowds of people flock en masse to attend college commencement ceremonies, oftentimes needing a place to stay overnight. A share of hotels has picked up on this trend and is now making an effort to accommodate these guests and appeal to school pride by incorporating different features into their amenities, which enables them to capitalize on seasonal college events and boost their local economies.
Dorm lodging isn't the only option
In some cases, schools offer on-campus lodging for guests, allowing people to sleep in underclassmen dorm rooms that have already been cleared. Colleges can't cram everyone in these rooms, and some individuals who aren't tempted to relive their dorm days may look for alternatives. Consequently, nearby hotels have become a go-to for individuals visiting colleges - whether it be for graduations, freshmen orientations, recruitment trips or any other occasions involving schools.
The New York Times explained that a number of hotels in close proximity to colleges have taken notice of this business opportunity and have made adjustments to their offerings so they are more marketable to this unique demographic. Because schools present a steady stream of potential customers, certain establishments have decided to design guest experiences that are full of spirit so they can continuously attract guests stopping by the area for college-related purposes.
Michael Giebelhausen, assistant professor of marketing for the Cornell University School of Administration, told The New York Times that, "[colleges] can help protect hotels from the ups and downs of the economy."
Colleges serve as customer funnel for hotels
Hotels are now targeting these consumers with a variety of college-inspired features. For example, The Hotel Commonwealth in Boston is planning to attract guests heading to Boston University with the upcoming Terrier Suite, which is named after the school's mascot. This room will display images of the institution and other decor elements that are consistent with the college motif.
At the same time, the Nashville Marriott has taken its Vanderbilt pride to the rest of the hotel, having table linens that are black and gold - the school's colors. The Revere Hotel Boston Common, which is close to multiple universities, offers gift packages to its guests that are full of college paraphernalia.
"Hotels associating themselves with a local college can be seen as a co-branding activity," explained Giebelhausen. "They are leveraging the strengths of one brand to augment another."