It truly feels like we have turned a corner and there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Covid-19 vaccines have begun rolling out across the world and while some countries are moving more slowly than others, optimism has begun to creep back into the hospitality industry. Airports are reporting dramatic increases in passengers. In fact, the New York Times reported that 1.357 million people passed through U.S. airports on Friday March 10th, “the highest number on any day since March 2020, just after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.” The UK is also reporting huge surges (600%) in travel bookings this summer as “sun-starved Brits plan holidays.”
But despite all the positive signals that travel is rebounding, it’s important to be realistic. It will be some time before all countries reach their vaccination goals and new Covid-19 variants continue to crop up, raising new fears. Because the travel landscape is changing daily, we continuously monitor the news, travel trends, statistics and expert predictions to help hoteliers navigate the future of travel. In this article, we focus on Summer 2021, which will be very different for hoteliers. Here’s how they can prepare:
Focus on Your Local Market
What’s new in hotel marketing? Staycation is the hot trend for summer 2021 vacations. To sell out this summer, hotels should market to their drive-to customers, since most people won’t yet be ready to jump on planes this summer. To appeal to your local travelers, you’ll need to promote your property differently. These customers will arrive by car so ensure that your promotional emails highlight not only your amenities and services, but also local destinations that might not be well known in your vicinity. Partner with your hidden-gem restaurants and feature collaborations with local artisans. Let your guests know that there’s a lot to look forward to, even if they don’t have to travel far to reach you.
Revinate makes it easy to segment your locals in your CRM. Revinate Marketing customers can use the geo-location feature to create segments based on guest location information found in your PMS or uploaded contact lists. When creating your segments, select the parameter ‘Guest Location’ then let Revinate guide you to determine which guests are included. (For example, they can be located ‘within’, ‘beyond’ or ‘not in’ the location.)
Revinate Marketing customers had great success during the pandemic with hotel email campaigns targeted at local segments. Resplendent Ceylon, is a great example of a hotel that was forced to rely on local customers during the pandemic when the borders were closed. But as borders open up, they can easily and quickly add new segments to the promotions, focusing on customers from neighboring countries that can reach the hotel by plane.
Be Transparent With Cancellation Policies
With new Covid-19 variants popping up and surges occurring regularly as people let down their guard, travelers are looking for guarantees that they’ll get a refund or a credit if they need to cancel their trip.
Help guests feel confident booking with you in advance by being transparent about your cancelation policies and procedures. Keep the language easy to understand, even if you have to link to ‘legalese’ for more details. Be sure that your email campaigns and social media posts contain cancelation information front and center. This will dramatically help with hotel direct bookings. For a great example of how to position a worry-free booking policy, check out this email example from Resident Hotels.
Guests are Weary – Pamper Them
Travelers have been dealing with Covid-19 for an entire year. Parents have had to do double duty, working and helping their kids with distance learning. Many people have struggled with loneliness and depression this year, unable to see family and friends. In short, Covid-19 travelers are looking for some relief and pampering during their Summer 2021 vacation.
Revinate Marketing customers can get their guests started on the right foot by wowing them at check-in. Spend some time reviewing the arrival report (part of Revinate Marketing) and get to know your guests before they check-in. Revinate’s arrival report includes feedback from online reviews or post-stay surveys so you can see what they loved and hated about their last stay. It also includes loyalty information so you can see how many times the guest has stayed with you and how much they have spent. This allows you to welcome the guest personally and ensure their expectations are exceeded during the stay with personal attention to their details.
Most importantly, the data is accurate and can be trusted. How do we know? Revinate uses Advanced Profile Synthesis, which continually cleans your data to ensure dupes are removed and dirty data is expunged. When the arrival report states that that the guest in front of you was last here in June of 2019, you can mention that fact and feel confident. Your guests will be wowed at the attention to detail and the welcome they receive from your attentive front desk staff.
Don’t Let Down Your Cleanliness Guard
Given the serious health consequences around not following the government’s established safety protocols, we are starting to see negative post-stay reviews and surveys mention inattention to detail when it comes to cleaning. While you might think that guests will be tired about worrying about safety this summer, the truth is that it’s top of mind for most of us. They will be watching carefully to ensure that hotel employees are wearing masks and regularly sanitizing public spaces.
Cleaning used to be something that happened in the wee hours of the morning so that hotel guests weren’t inconvenienced. Today, it is important for guests to see how seriously you take their safety by letting them witness it with their own eyes. Front desk staff can spray down the counter in-between each guest. Housekeeping can sanitize their hands or change their gloves between each room visit.
Most hotels are already leveraging standard cleaning protocols. To attract Summer 2021 guests, ensure that the hotel website and all hotel listings include details of your cleaning policies and procedures. And, don’t forget to include details (or a link) in promotional emails so they can review it prior to booking. This subtle reminder will drive guests’ confidence in the hotel and help them feel good about their decision to partake in a summer 2021 vacation.
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