Despite the promise of a vaccine, we are exactly where we hoped we wouldn’t be. The holidays are approaching and instead of expecting holiday travelers, we’re expecting holiday cancelations as Covid case numbers increase and local governments put new restrictions in place to limit the spread of the disease. In many regions, hotels will close or service only essential travelers. It feels like one step forward and two steps back.
But hoteliers don’t have to sit idly by and wait for travel to resume. Rather, they should hunker down and use the second Covid wave to prepare for recovery. Here are five things that hoteliers can do to set themselves up for success during this period.
1. Continue to Invest in Marketing
Rest assured that when the vaccine is available and travel restrictions are relaxed, people will be traveling again. If you haven’t heard of ‘Revenge Travel’, it’s a real phenomenon. While you might not want to spend money for clicks that won’t convert to bookings right away, you should continue to send emails to stay top of mind with your past guests. In addition to your regular hotel newsletter, think ahead to summer and begin your promotions earlier than usual. Travelers will want something to look forward to in 2022.
2. Stay Flexible
If you want your guests to book with you, you’re going to have to remain flexible and offer an easy and full cancelation policy. By making bookings risk-free, you will drive more bookings. But once they’re booked, you will have to work harder to keep the booking so put together pre-arrival emails that get your guests excited about their stays. Share fun, safe things to do in your area, including hikes, outdoor entertainment, favorite drives… let your creativity run free.
3. Automate Wherever Possible
Unfortunately, most hotels have had to lay-off staff and are trying to do make-do with fewer people. Now is the best time to put as much automation into your processes as possible. With Revinate Marketing, for example, all of your pre-stay and post-stay emails can be fully automated, taking pressure off your marketing team so their time can be spent focused on driving new business.
4. Review Your Listings
There have likely been a lot of changes at your hotel over the last year. Are your business listings and social media pages still accurate? Spend some time reviewing and updating your listings to ensure you’re setting the right expectations before your guests arrive. One thing we know is that guests write negative hotel reviews when your hotel doesn’t live up to their expectations so ensure they know what to expect when they walk through your doors.
5. Dig into your Guest Data
Because we work with thousands of hotels and study millions of emails, we can definitively tell you that smaller, segmented email sends perform better than generic blasts. To understand who is most likely to respond to your emails, spend some time looking at the data. (Revinate Marketing customers can simply look at their reporting. What is your average customer lifetime value? What is your best-performing segment? Once you have the data, it’s easier to put plans in place to drive success.
There is no way to sugar-coat it: Corona has not been kind to most of the hospitality industry. But with vaccines close to FDA approval, there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. By continuing to market to past guests, your most likely source of new bookings, you will be well-positioned when travel rebounds. Stay strong and reach out if we can help.