How COVID-19 Has Affected The Hotel Industry
The Reality: Hotels left and right have laid off workers. A number even had to close down because of the coronavirus pandemic. If your hotel is still standing and ready to reopen, you’re lucky! You need to learn effective hotel reopening marketing strategies though, to keep your brand running smoothly amidst COVID-19.
Your Marketing Budget
Your marketing budget (even your competitors’ budget) may be leaner during this time and that’s okay. One of the best hotel reopening marketing strategies is to focus on certain modes of advertising and learning to let go of some for now.
✅ If you need to halt paid advertising, you can still focus more on your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Your brand’s GMB listing should have up-to-date information and photos. You also need to make sure to reply to both positive and negative reviews consistently. Believe it or not, that Google My Business listing makes a big difference!
✅ Your website content, mobile-friendliness, and site speed also reign supreme. Don’t spend the bulk of your $$$ on advertising. Instead, improve on content, speed, and mobile usability and the rest will follow.
✅ Top of funnel advertising like social media is also part of the list of hotel reopening marketing strategies that could really work. Using video and sponsored content is recommended. You’d want to build awareness so people can consider your brand, then finally become “converts”. Also keep in mind that more and more people are on social media nowadays as they’re working from home. Facebook Ads, Linkedin Ads, Instagram Ads, etc, are more affordable anyway.
Your Occupancy Rate
Travel may not pick up as early or as fast as you’re expecting, BUT IT WILL. This means you have to prepare for it. You also have to take steps to boost occupancy and this is where proper marketing comes in. Below you’ll find hotel reopening marketing strategies that could improve your hotel’s occupancy:
✅ Recapture bookings from guests who had to cancel because of the pandemic. You’ve won them before and you can win them over once more with the right strategy. When travel demand starts picking up, create an email campaign especially for guests who cancelled. Entice them to rebook by offering a perk or complimentary bonus.
For people who don’t rebook, follow up with them after a few months and give them a different offer. Think of these people as more cautious travelers who probably want some time to pass before traveling again.
✅ Getting creative with inventory is one of the must do hotel reopening marketing strategies in the midst of the pandemic. Think about converting some of your rooms to coworking spaces to increase occupancy rate. Having more meeting space that can be booked hourly is also a good idea. After all, there’s now a high demand for these types of rooms and spaces during this ”new normal”.
✅ Flexible cancellation policies will give guests peace of mind. This is an effective strategy you shouldn’t do without when reopening your hotel.
Your Marketing Message
Using the right type of message / content is one of the most important hotel reopening marketing strategies during COVID-19. You have to be careful about what you send or share via email, social media, or your website. You wouldn’t want your brand to have a backlash because you posted something insensitive, pushy, or careless.
✅ Share something useful. What you’re sharing should come from a trustworthy source. The piece should also be well-researched. Your followers should also find it relevant to the current situation.
✅ It’s best to let people know how you’ve been handling this pandemic. Post about what steps you’re taking to keep your hotel sanitized and how you’ll protect your employees and guests. Share how you’ve given back to the community and how you’ve helped others during this crisis.
✅ Use less aggressive calls to action (CTAs) while there’s COVID-19. Instead of using “Book Now”, why not use “Learn More”? A lot of people are really sensitive as they’ve lost their jobs so you need to choose CTAs wisely.
These hotel reopening marketing strategies could help keep your hotel or brand running in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. Get more tips from an industry leader like Hogan Hospitality Group.
***Be on the lookout for Part 2 of this Three-Part Series where we’ll focus on reopening-related advice for Guest Services.***