Top 7 Tips for Hoteliers During COVID-19
As we enter what many experts believe will be the worst phase of the pandemic, it has never been more important to stay focused on your guests. How you market and prepare for recovery over the next few months will have a big impact on your 2021 performance.
In this article, we review the top 7 things that hoteliers should be doing today to prepare for post-pandemic success.
- Continue to hype cleaning protocols
By now, you have likely changed your cleaning policies and procedures at the hotel. Whether you’re following your brand’s new cleaning guidelines or partnering with a health agency to ensure you have safety dialed, be sure to let your prospective guests know what you’re doing. Make your response prominent on your website and in your promotional emails.
2. Don’t slow your marketing efforts
Now is not the time to cut your marketing budget or pause your programs. You should adjust your efforts to focus on people that are most likely to travel today but be prepared to market to others as borders open. Segment your database to isolate your local guests and put together staycation and locals-only promotions. For your distant guests, put together your ‘We Missed You’ promotions but don’t send them until it’s clear when borders will reopen.
3. Understand your database health
With fewer people in your time, you’ll have time for all the tasks you never had time for, including cleaning up your guest database. 30% of subscribers change their email address every year and 18% of a hotel’s database, on average, consists of masked email addresses from Booking.com or other OTAs. Spend time understanding the health of your database and put plans in place to devote time to collecting email addresses when your hotel is bustling again.
4. Review your email metrics
Spend some down time identifying what’s working with your email program and what needs optimization. If you’re using Revinate Marketing, drill down to understand what day your campaigns perform best, who your top performing segments are and what promotional offers your guest love. Use this data to refine your 2021 marketing calendar and plans.
5. Review your automated emails
Your guests today may have different needs than your guests had a year ago. Review your upsell, pre-stay and post-stay emails to make sure you’re sharing the right information. In the pre-stay email do you explain your safety policies clearly so guests aren’t surprised when they arrive? Are your outlets open? Can you add new upsells to appeal to guests’ need for social distance? For example, can you create private dining experiences or private gym time?
6. Appreciate your staff
A year ago, your people were stewards of great hospitality. Today, they continue to have that job but are now also responsible for guests’ safety. At the same time, they are risking their own safety by coming to work every day and interacting with people outside their households. Make sure they feel appreciated. While you might not be able to afford rewarding them monetarily, there are many ways to let them know that they’re valuable, starting with a heartfelt ‘thank you’.
7. Update your surveys
Given how much the in-stay experience has changed over the last year, you will likely need to rethink the questions you are asking on your in-stay and post-stay surveys. You may be operating fewer F&B services and outlets so you need to remove mention of them from the survey. If the outlets are still open, it could be beneficial to ask how guests felt about any enhanced safety measures the hotel is taking in this department. But be careful not to turn your survey into a safety-focused checklist… there’s more to your experience than just safety.
Looking for more Covid related hotel information? Visit our Covid-19 microsite today to learn how leading hotels are continuing to adapt their marketing strategies to today’s challenging market. The site has guides, resources and templates that any hotel can use to stay ahead.