Post Crisis Action Plan for Hospitality Industry to Bounce Back
- May 6, 2020
Since March of 2020, we are living not just in extraordinary circumstances; we are living through an experience the past three generations have never witnessed before – a pandemic that has stopped the whole world in its tracks. The need for physical distancing has required a majority of population in large parts of the world to spend maximum time at home. While businesses across all industry sectors have been adversely affected, imagine if your entire business model was based solely on travel and peoples’ movement in general! According to STR, the global analytics and marketplace insights firm for global hospitality sector, compared to 2019, hotel occupancy numbers have fallen due to the n-COVID-19 pandemic by as much as 59% in the US. Clearly, the industry can realistically expect no turnaround in fortune until the lockdown phases out, if you are a hospitality business owner, here are certain ideas that you could explore during this time:
Among the various room occupants that a hotel would host, there could be certain guests who could have a greater frequency of booking on account of having to visit the place repeatedly. You might look to connecting with such people during the lockdown, note down their future travel plans, and offer them pre-bookings at a discount, which could be fully refundable in case their plans have to be cancelled. This will do three things – bring in some revenues during the lockdown, ensure a certain level of occupancy once the lockdown is phased out, and strengthen your relationship with your loyal guests.
Just as your business is affected, even the livelihoods of travel influencers whose source of income is primarily based on them traveling to various locations also is. These could be potentially your friends in need, with whom you could try and connect. You could tie up with travel operators chalk out post-crisis vacation plans for such travel influencers. Given the fact that 92% consumers trust influencers more than celebrity endorsements or advertisements, by getting travel influencers to write positive reviews for your services, you could end up positively boosting your brand image after the crisis.
With the country in lockdown, internet activity for non-work-related usage is bound to see a huge surge. This is the time to focus on improving your SEO, optimizing your website, and enhancing your footprint on social media such as Facebook and Instagram by highlighting and promoting the positive experiences that you have been successful in generating in the past. By growing your social media subscriber base, you could try to assess the travel preferences of your subscribers, and generate promotional marketing content that could be delivered to them in a personalized manner. With social recommendations influencing 40-50% decisions related to travel, focusing on social media marketing could ensure that in the months to follow post the lockdown, you could see a lot of such subscribers ending up as your guests.
While a lot of people who feel trapped in their homes to a large extent would be raring to get out and get going with their travel plans, they are going to be extremely conscious of sanitary practices followed in places that they stay. And it is these changed expectations that your business will now have to cater to. If you effectively revamp existing sanitary and hygiene practices of your hotel, and effectively market the changes that you have made, people will be willing to pay a premium for the extra safety that you offer.
While you can implement personalized direct marketing as mentioned in some points previously, advertisements, both online and offline, would ideally be targeted in those areas which could be expected to see a lifting of lockdown in say 10-15 days. This would ensure an optimization of marketing spend, which is essential considering that you would be operating on a constrained budget. By tracking the pandemic situation in different geographies and scaling up your marketing as different areas recover from the disease, you would ensure a greater ROI on your marketing expenditure.
Travellers don’t travel just to stay in hotels, but to explore places. As a hotelier, therefore, it is not just important to convey what makes your services worth experiencing, but why it makes sense for travellers to visit the place. For this reason, you also need to showcase places worth seeing around you, such as historical monuments, theme-parks, cultural centres, and even events that are set to take place. You might as well go ahead and strike discount deals for your future guests with the authorities managing such places and events and promote them together as combo-offers.