Every day we keep hearing information on COVID-19 and its negative impact on the travel & hospitality industries. Let’s not forget that our industry had to deal with similar crisis & drawbacks before, for instance, the SARS virus impacted the industry drastically in 2003. There was a 50% decline in hotel bookings, which led to a drop of nearly 9.4 million in international tourist arrivals, with losses estimated at between $30 billion and 50 billion. Despite the above-mentioned facts, the travel industry managed to register immense growth by 2006, with a total contribution of $5,160 billion to the global GDP within the year.
The truth is the pandemic is a temporary months or a year setback in years of success and it all shall pass. Thus, we should continue to plan for the future, as well as take steps to reduce long-term damage from COVID-19 and drive faster recovery.
Never before have we seen such a sense of community across the globe. This real sense of coming together and selflessness has been overwhelming. Mainly because, for the first time in living memory, we are all in the same situation. All trying to fight something so invisible yet so powerful. Here are some survival & recovery tips for your hotel to consider:
Give back to your community for those in need? Some restaurants are providing cooked meals for health workers on the front line. It’s always very important to give back to your community especially in tough times like these. Donate food stock, bed sheets, and toiletries to homeless shelters, hospitals, and quarantine sites. Reconsider your community involvement and even though you might lose money by giving away free items, it still helps increase the bottom line & add more value your community.
Consider little ways you can give back like partnering with a charity and allowing loyalty members to donate to the cause to earn loyalty points or rewards for a future stay or providing complimentary rooms or an exclusive rate to first respondents.
Your community is your domestic market, if you invest in your community the ROI on your business will be very fruitful & granting.
Do you have a restaurant on-site that’s closed its doors, but you have staff still healthy and willing to work? Start thinking about offering take-away! Locals in your community are stuck at home, some not able to cook or need a break from preparing for the family at every meal. Offer up contactless free delivery of your tasty food to their doors.
Perhaps you would want to sell ready to cook recipes with instructions for cooking, and you would market for some of your famous local or international dishes, which would also help you in maintaining low running cost especially for utility bills. Last but not least always try to find effective means of limiting declines like offering specials or deals (two-for-one meals, a free dessert), which would help increase your number of sales.
While travel is on pause, this is a great time to reassess your digital strategy, marketing assets, and take time to revamp initiatives and processes to set your hotel up for future success.
Everyone is stuck at home with a device and internet connection, customers are bored and will be more likely to visit your hotel after the lock-down if your digital content has reference to what the world is going through, all messaging should be empathetic, positive, and overall uplifting. During a crisis, people will remember how your brand made them feel, and providing the right content can strengthen the brand relationship long-term.
How to properly Sanitize Your Home?
Choose one of your housekeeping staff members to give a 1-2-minute video on how to properly disinfect surfaces, trash bins, and the right way to use such chemicals & disinfectants to avoid any home accidents.
Famous Local Recipes & International Cuisine
Shoot a video “Cook with Our Chef” of your chef prepping one of those meals or plates that your hotel is famous for, have your chef share recipes on live videos and perhaps the viewers would request specific recipes to be prepped during those live videos, show your customers that you care and show them what you have stored for their pallets once the lockdown is over.
Meet the Team!
There is no denying that a hotel’s greatest asset is its employees, make a staff video or videos introducing the different staff members and let them talk about what they do at the hotel and how all their tasks complements the perfect leisure experience for your guests. Show your existing & prospect customers that you care and you are eager to meet them once the lock-down is over.
Virtual Tours for Your City & Hotel
If your hotel has multiple guest amenities or located next to a beach, mountain, or even a park, then you have hit the jackpot ! Take your audience on a virtual tour, show them the perfect spot for Sun Sets, that great shaded area for picnics, or where you hold your yoga sessions. Take them on a tour through the city showing them the museums, pubs, clubs and souvenir shops. The goal here is to give them a million reasons to come visit your city & most importantly your hotel.
Guests will remember their cancellation experience more than the rate they paid, through proper communication with guests who have booked, you can foster loyalty and encourage future bookings. For existing reservations while the “stay at home” order is still in place throughout the world, consider proactively reaching out to guests inviting them to re-book with added value or incentive or as for non-refundable reservations, offer to give them credit like the Airlines with an extra day incentive like a day at the spa or perhaps an extra night for free.
Find out what funding is available in your region. Many authorities are putting together business support plans that will help you survive in the short-term. These may be in the form of loans, wage subsidies or tax relief. Many countries are talking about temporarily lowering or removing tourist tax until the sector recovers.
Last but not least, the tourism & hospitality industries are very resilient and it helps to be reminded that this slowdown won’t last forever. While it’s good to be prepared for the hurdles ahead, it’s also important to think smart and plan now for a successful recovery. We appreciate these are tumultuous times, and we wish all you hoteliers well over the weeks and months ahead.
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