If we never hear the word ‘unprecedented’ again, we’ll all be happy. But the truth is that the pandemic has driven everyone, regardless of profession, to throw away the rule book and start fresh. Marketers, for example, will need to navigate all new challenges as they develop a strategy to capture demand when travel rebounds.
An effective Covid-19 marketing plan will need to address the following four challenges:
1) Increased competition
With hotels in each region opening up simultaneously, we expect to see an extremely competitive market, overrun with promotional noise. Guests will be bombarded with offers and inflated loyalty rewards as hotels look to drive immediate revenue and rebuild their books. Your plan must address how you will stand out from the noise.
2) Price slashing
You will be tempted to drop your rates, especially as you see competitors doing it. But given the amount of loss you’re working to offset and the lessons we learned from the 2008 recession and the SARS outbreak, there are more effective ways to secure bookings. Your plan will need to highlight alternative ways to differentiate your properties from competitive offers.
3) Fewer resources
Research by the Office for National Statistics found that hotels across the UK furloughed approximately 80% of workers after the lockdown began and we continue to see similar numbers across the world. This means you are likely operating with fewer resources than before, whether that be budget, staff or both. As a result, the efficiency of your plan is critical. It cannot be based on your standard marketing approach, which calls for more resources than are available to you. You must identify the channels and tools that will drive your most profitable route to results.
4) Enhanced hotel cleaning and safety standards
Before you can even think about reopening, you need to adopt new procedures to keep your employees and guests safe. You know this. But the important part is that you need to do so quickly as the measures you put in place will be a core part of the campaigns you’ll need to run to get travelers to trust you. The good news is that hoteliers are no stranger to operationalizing new processes. And, AHLA has developed guidelines in this area to help.
Hoteliers that are able to work through these challenges will come out stronger in the end. For help building a marketing plan that adequately tackles these challenges, download our Covid-19 Recovery Guide, which was specifically designed to win early demand. In it, we work to distill the complexities involved in planning for the unknown and share strategies to develop a competitive advantage. Best of all, it’s chock-full of templates, worksheets and examples so you can do more with less in an incredibly competitive market.