Hospitality is faced with an unprecedented crisis which no provider can escape without accepting that change is inevitable and many hoteliers feel the need to cut back on expenses as a way of moving forward with minimal losses.
This would be impossible as once travel resumes guests will be looking for adaptive establishments who’ve taken the time to plan out and invest in a post-Covid-19 hospitality plan.
Truly, the only hoteliers who will struggle with reopening are the ones who did not invest in improving their establishment and reassuring guests that they can meet their needs as the pandemic dies down.
The main challenge facing hoteliers at this stage is how to improve their booking metrics? Guests are guarded and many feel the need to adhere strictly to social distancing guidelines which is why they tend to wait out on making long-term financial commitments especially when it comes to travel.
For many European and North American guests, the relatively recent lockdown also resulted in no-refund cancellations leaving them bitter and wary of engaging too quickly with travel plans. Here’s how you can cover your basics and be certain that you can engage with guests effectively enough to secure a fully booked hotel:
- Build a Brand New Guest Base
- Reconsider who your ideal guest is post-Covid-19. Evaluate your hotel and its pros and cons for a potential first-time guest. Do you run a traditional style onsen with an individual bath for every room, or do you manage a hotel chain with access to a vast golf course, if so then you have your selling point already at your disposal.
- Instead of marketing the establishment, you can focus on the safe activity it provides and encourages first-time guests with an exclusive offer, not one with a reduced price but one which adds more value to their stays, such as added room service or an airport shuttle for checking in and checking out.
- First-time guests are going to play a key part in adding your establishment out of this crisis not only as a source of revenue but as a way of gathering data on the new type of guest you can expect to attract in the following years.
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- Revamp Seasonal Packages for Additional Value
- Room rates will inevitably drop by the end of the year, but you should avoid a landslide of discounts as this will only hurt your business in an already difficult time. What you can do is focus on upselling guests by offering much more lavish packages of services at what seems like a bargain.
- The best way to do this is to present them with various levels of exclusivity so that the most expensive package comes across as the most desirable and the most bang for their buck. Guests who gravitate towards the more expensive option will also be more likely to agree to an upsell on other services, as long as they have enjoyed the services they have received so far.
- By focusing on the exclusive nature of the trip you can guarantee that the guests will leave your establishment feeling content and recharged.
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- Focus on Local Distribution
- Long-distance travel will likely be at a standstill for the rest of the summer with many countries still reluctant to open their borders to tourists, it would be wise to invest in a marketing plan which focuses on attracting local guests and corporate customers as opposed to international travellers.
- Approaching locals will require a different kind of approach. You can lean in on the restriction heavy part of guests’ lives and how your hotel can provide a relief from that while also keeping guests and their loved ones safe. Or you can entirely avoid the mention of Covid-19 (this does not mean dismissing the measures in place) and focus on advertising a dream vacation that in itself seems like the getaway they have been hoping for.
- You can further develop exclusive offers for local businesses and institutions in order to make up for any lost revenue on cancelled conferences and private events. If you were to choose to pursue local clientele you will not luck out as potential guests are only waiting for an opportunity for excitement in their lives, as long as you would be there to provide them with it.
- Dissuade Canceling by Upgrading
- With many businesses reopening guests will be split on how to best approach spending their time and money, which is why it will be useful to have a regulated approach to cancellations, especially in the following months.
- If you were to limit cancellations to phone calls, then you can have a procedure in place for staff who have to perform the cancellation. Avoid getting into the reasons for the cancellations as it could be a sensitive matter, but rather focus on asking the guest if they would be willing to rebook for a different time with the added limited offer of a room upgrade.
- Address Guest Concerns in a Timely Manner
- In all likelihood the conditions under which businesses can reopen ill vary across regions with some governments being laxer than others. Here is where you need to pay attention to the concerns guests voice when asking about the measures you’ve taken to ensure the safety of their stay.
- Remember that government outlines are the minimum requirements for your business to function safely for public use. If at any point you feel like your guests need further assurance as to the safety of your practices make sure to update your webpage’s FAQ while also distributing printed out versions in your guests’ suites.
- Take Advantage of Your Property Management System
- It is more important than ever to have a good set of hospitality tools at your disposal. Various conversion metrics rely heavily on distribution channel optics and direct booking opportunities.
- An integrated channel manager can keep your inventory up to date while also maintaining room rates across all channels and instantly relists late cancellations for sale and a direct booking engine for your website would allow you to maximize revenue by skipping OTA fees and encouraging guest loyalty.
- Your PMS will be invaluable when implementing your marketing strategy in the months to come which is why it is important to find the one that best suits your needs and to have your staff properly trained in the use of its many functions.
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- Typically learning to use new software on the spot can be quite the drudge, as it would eat up time from your staff’s other responsibilities, but due to Covid-19, the one thing we all have on our hands is time.
- Preparing for this unprecedented season will be a challenge for all parties concerned but those who keep their eye on the prize and actively adjust their strategy to meet the changing requirements set before hospitality in 2020 will come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.