By Kang Seung-woo
Jin Hyon-ho, a 41-year-old father of two daughters, is currently busy surfing the internet, looking for better hotel packages for the upcoming Chuseok holiday.
"After visiting my parents and parents-in-law, I plan to have a one-night stay in a hotel with my family," said Jin, who often stays in hotels during traditional holidays.
"Staycations during holidays appear to becoming a new trend as many people I know have similar plans."
As Jin said, hotels, not parents' homes, are transforming into a new destination for Koreans during Chuseok as more are opting to spend the traditional holiday at comfortable and convenient places.
Chuseok, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving Day, is one of the nation's biggest holidays, during which people travel to their hometown to spend time with their family and hold memorial services to honor their ancestors.
However, many are gradually trending toward ducking out of, or shortening, family gatherings and other "stressful" ancestral rites; instead opting to check into hotels to enjoy the extra-long holiday.
"The number of people who come to a hotel to spend the traditional holiday is steadily increasing," said Lee Ae-ri, a marketing and communications executive at the Grand Hilton Seoul.
Na Do-yeon, the marketing director of Le Meridien Seoul, echoed Lee's view.
"More people who do not travel to their hometown during traditional holidays want to spend time, healing themselves in a vacation-like atmosphere," she said.
"Many Koreans usually stress out during holidays, so they want to refresh themselves at hotels, using lounges and tasting scrumptious food."
In fact, the numbers indicate that staycations during traditional holidays are becoming a fad.
"The sales of our Chuseok package have already increased by 30 percent, compared to that of last year's promotion," said Shim Kyu-won, the public relations and brand marketing manager at the Westin Chosun Seoul.
"Given that we usually have walk-in guests during the holidays, the number of guests reserving rooms will be higher."
Lee also said, "The Grand Hilton Seoul saw its revenue in last year's Chuseok increase by 23 percent from 2016. Its sales for this year are expected to increase even more."
Amid the changing trend, local hotels are stepping up efforts to attract more guests during Chuseok, unveiling a variety of packages.
The Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas presents two concept packages from Sept. 21 to 30: one is the Fine Dining Package offering a hotel dining experience and a luxurious break, and the other is the Single Package letting singles enjoy a hotel stay.
The Conrad Seoul offers a Premium Room promotion enabling guests to enjoy a staycation during Chuseok with a 25 percent discount on the best available priced room. The Premium Room sale reservation period runs until 2 p.m., Sept. 25.
The Westin Chosun has launched the Newtro Moon Holiday package, for which banquet rooms on the second floor of the hotel are decorated as retro comic book rooms filled with iconic comics from the 1980s and 1990s, and has a retro game room filled with classic LCD games. It is available from Sept. 21 to 25.