Coronavirus survival tips for hotels

How should hotels respond to the current situation? Occupancies are down, large groups have been cancelled and events have been postponed. 

It is time to develop a plan, a long-term piece that cannot only be used in this situation but if any other issue was to arise in the future.  The plan should revolve around customer service, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and the long-term image of your hotel – where do you want your hotel to be in the next 12 months. The reason we need the long-term image is so we do not lose sight of future goals. If you do, you comprise your customers, your profit margins and your visibility to future travel bookers.

Lets start looking at what can be added to our plan now:

(01) Don’t Panic

Stay calm and look around for solutions. Do not compare this period of downturn to previous good periods. This will only cause more stress.  

(02) Be careful in taking part in broad sale discounting

When a situation happens, we start to panic and the only solution we come up with is to reduce our rates, hoping that our competitor is not doing the same thing – well they are!  It will take longer to recover your profit and your occupancy if you start to discount your rates to a ridiculous amount. You may get bookings, you will not make a profit and the chance of this guest returning is very slim.  They will expect to pay the same rate next time they book with you and using the “virus” as an excuse will not work. Instead package your rates, add in inclusions, work with a local restaurants who also are having trouble filling their establishment and be more flexible on your cancellation policies.

(03) Don’t cut your marketing budget

You need to keep current guests and develop packages and promotions that both attract current and potential guests. It is very easy to cut costs immediately but marketing is an investment provided you spend the money in the right place with the right marketing initiatives. Hire an expert who can assist and who can listen and provide guidance and advise.

(04) Consider marketing approaches

Explore new market segments and new ways of promotions. Try not to drop down your rates for all market segments. There are some that are not price sensitive. Identify these guests and work hard and get them to book with you. 

Look at different marketing channels such as:

  • Social Media advertising – you can target specific groups of people in particular locations. Be careful how you advertise on Facebook or Instagram, as you want to get a return on investment. 
  • Google Hotels – great platform if guests are searching for properties in your area. Ensure your Google presence is updated.
  • Tourism Board – your local tourism board is a great place to be but so are most of your competitors. You can however look at activities that are coming up and tailor a package to coincide for their activities. 

Develop new revenue streams (such as food & beverage, spa treatments) within the hotel or your location. You need to diversify the business rather than relying too heavily on a particular business and geographic segment. At the same time, you need to emphasis how to optimise revenue conversion from all revenue streams which will automatically help to improve your bottom line.

(05) Update existing booking channels

I see this more than often. Hotels connect to channels or build a website investing time and money and then they never look at it again presuming that the same content or images is going to work now as it did 2-3 years ago.  At this time, I can not stress the importance in updating all of these booking channels. Create new content, update your gallery, new images, add them to your social media platforms. Log into your extranets and add these images to your booking channels, your channel distribution will automatically pick up that you have added new content, new images or a new inclusion and push your property to the top of the search functions.  If you have no idea how to do this or need assistance, we are here to help.

(06) Maintain Service Levels

If you need to cut costs, do so in areas of the hotel that have the least impact on customer service and the hotel image. Guests are very sensitive to change, so do not reduce standards but add value. Bad times are not for forever and it could take longer time to recover if you cut corners to save a buck! What will result is negative reviews and these will stay on your profile. 

Summary

Keep these 6 lessons in mind as you plan and exercise your strategy for getting through this tough period.  Don’t panic, think clearly, reach out for help and plan – You will be fine!

Want know how to: 

  • Generate more bookings
  • How to use social media advertising platform – a step by steps approach
  • How to create graphics to promote your business
  • Need to decide that best booking channel for your property

Our Hotel Coach program, provides you with instructions to get your property operating to its fullest capacity.

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