Whilst Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it is certain that the impact in the tourism industry will be huge.
It is important that hotels have a plan that covers both the current situation and the possible consequences, if the situation keeps getting worse. Remain calm and be ready for the next day.
Let’s go through some steps that will help you protect, as much as possible, your hotel’s revenue:
Be the first to inform your guests
It is important that you contact and inform your guests that have made reservations for periods that the hotel will be closed due to the measures in place. Additionally, add a COVID19 section in your website that describes the way that you handle the situation, your updated cancellation policies, the latest official travel instructions, etc. so that your potential guests or guests with existing reservations can be informed.
Normally, we try to avoid cancellations and always try to move reservations for later dates or open dates. Nevertheless, we always think in a humane way with understanding and try to provide our guest with the best possible solution. Most of them do want to visit us and they would like to be in a position to do so. Reassure them and buy some time. Let’s not forget, we need time on your side.
Modify your cancellation policy
It is more important now than ever: Provide your guests with a more flexible cancellation policy.
Not only it is highly unlikely for someone to commit to a Non Refundable policy, we show with actions that we are here for our guests, understanding & adapting. An example of a hotel that has successfully adapted is Blakes London. Their message:
WE UNDERSTAND IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT TO COMMIT TO TRAVEL PLANS AT THE MOMENT, HERE IS HOW WE CAN HELP. Blakes is proudly presenting a new rate for you to plan your trip without committing. Our new No Strings Attached rate offers a very generous cancellation policy, additional discounts on our flexible rates, as well as complimentary breakfast through your stay.
Price is not the issue at the moment. A discount policy will not lead to the desired result. Studies have indicated that lowering prices in a time of crisis lead the destination’s ADR to decline with no increase in hotels’ occupancy. Additionally, since our goal is to move existing reservations to new dates, inevitably we will have to provide the same discounts.
Promotions or flash sales are not out of the question. Possibly, we will have to be ready for such actions but when the time is right.
Redefine your marketing strategy
If you do not have professionals managing the hotel’s image, you will have to be very careful regarding the message that you want to communicate. It would be best to avoid hard-selling messages. Have a touch of optimism and show that you live on the moment! In case that you have made the right decision to trust professionals, communicate with them so that you can evaluate a possible strategy repositioning. Especially in case that you have active Google Adwords campaigns…
…Branded campaigns targeting the hotel’s name might not be necessary any longer
I am referring to the Google Adwords campaigns for our brand, meaning our hotel’s name in order to appear first & before the major OTAs.
It appears that online travel agents have decreased their travel ads in a great extend. So, even without a campaign, many hotels appear first in searches. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Respectively, it is possible that other campaigns are now cheaper. Surely, now is not the time to cut down our marketing budget. So, contact the company in charge in order to guide you!
If you own a seasonal hotel, extend the summer season
We do not know how the situation will develop, replenishing the lost time at the end of our usual operational period is a good idea. Provide the option of traveling in October. The weather is still lovely anyway! Depending on your location, predict any access limitations such as boat & airplane schedules, etc. If the hotel is accessible, take advantage of it!
Get ready to target the local market
Possibly, for many hotels, Greek market is not their main target, but it is time to try to benefit from the local market in the best possible way. It is very likely that you will depend on Greeks this year more than ever… Set your orientation towards that direction and get ready.
Upload prices and open sales for 2021
It is observed that there is increased demand in travel searches for 2021, in destination level for now. The “dreaming”stage is highly important and we need our hotel to be visible.
Moreover, browsing and date selection is made easy for our guests that want to move their reservations.
And remember… We’re all in this together!