How Independent Hotels Can Manage a Travel Industry Crisis

The fallout from Covid-19 is imminent, if not already being felt by many hospitality providers. Several months into the pandemic and last minute cancellations and the emptying out of hotels seem like the least damaging effect of the crisis. A more pressing one is the delay of resuming everyday operations.

All across the world people are asking themselves “When will things go back to normal?” and in some countries the end of the lockdown does seem in sight, but that does not mean an end to precautions, which makes people weary of trusting businesses with their safety.

As such in order to remain competitive during the most difficult transitional stage of the pandemic, independent hoteliers need to be prepared. In order to do so effectively you must:

Maintain Sanitation and Social Distancing Practices Past Lockdown
The proper practices of how to limit the spread of the disease have already been established and in all likelihood we will be adhering to them for the better half of the year, which means that the new normal at least for a while should involve increased attention to disinfecting rooms and linens, along with closing down indoor social lounges.
This might seem a bit extreme or rather impossible which is why it might be a good idea simply to strip those areas of furniture for the time being. Guests are less likely to feel confined by having to constantly adhere to various restrictions, and are also less likely to gather in an area with nowhere to sit.
Reopening the hotel’s dining hall will be possible but tables will have to be spaced out and a buffet would still be out of the question. Consider offering dining discounts to guests who choose to order room service at certain hours of the day instead. This way your staff will be able to plan out meals more easily, avoiding dining rush hours and ensuring that sanitation practices are being met 24/7.
Among the most unpleasant aspects of engaging with businesses for the last few months have been the unreasonably sized queues which form in front of various stores and institutions. To avoid this consider self-check-in kiosks as a way to minimize staff-guest contact and avoid the queuing of large groups of guests indoors.
A self-check-in kiosk can complete a full range of transactions, guests can choose their room, pay for it, and receive their room key all without having to come in direct contact with members of your staff.
Keep Your Room Rates From Dipping
As long as room rates are maintained at a reasonable level across the board independent hospitality providers will likely recover from this crisis completely by the end of 2021. The key here is to subvert the usual sales practices during a low-season.
6 Booking Performance Ideas For Hotels in Crisis
Guests will book a room with a reduced price only if one is available. Instead consider offering all- inclusive packages as a way to appeal to guest who will likely not be taking as many trips in the coming months, making them more willing to accept an upsell.
You can further approach corporate guests with individual offers tailored to their company’s requirements, as a way of both keeping their loyalty and ensuring that your room rates across varying distribution channels does not budge.
Pandemic Pricing Principles for Hotels
Provide Safe Entertainment
Certain activities and services will be out of bounds for a while, as most guests would be unwilling or weary of using a common gym, or going for a massage and other spa procedures. That said the lockdown has created a need for outdoor activities which needs to be met.
Consider partnering up with local outdoor event companies, offering experiences such as rock climbing, bungee jumping, mountain trekking and so on, to come up with packages for groups of up to two or three people. Guests will likely jump on the opportunity to spend time outdoors even if it means that they have to take turns in order to have a safer experience.
Indoor entertainment is equally important, so having access to various streaming services and Wi-Fi that guests can use will instantly increase your rooms’ overall value.
Keep Your Staff Safe and Disciplined
Your staff needs to receive un-conflicting and strict guidelines as to how your daily operations are to proceed. This will likely involve retraining as the responsibility to maintain a hygienic work environment will now fall on every single one of them.
Always have enough disinfectant materials for both staff and guests and make absolutely certain that everyone follows the rules as closely as possible. If necessary you can involve a reward and penalty system for staff in order to discourage them from slacking in this particular aspect of their responsibilities.
Taking guests’ temperatures can be invasive and you can never guarantee that an ill person is simply being asymptomatic, but making sure that the staff on site is indeed healthy is a must. Some hoteliers have dismissed the idea of hiring seasonal workers as it might seem like an unnecessary expense but once business floods in it will be invaluable to have a few extra people on staff in case one of your regulars falls ill.
Build Trust
In the months to come your business will need to become a name associated with its high standards when it comes to prioritizing guest safety. When it comes to booking guests will be looking for establishments which have a clear outline as to what precautions they are taking to keep their guests safe during their stay.
Upselling as a Way of Improving Guest Loyalty
In order to be as transparent as possible you need to consider both sides of the exchange and make a list of all the precautions that are being taken by you and your staff, but also list all safety requirements for potential guests.
Make certain that this information is readily available at the front page of your website, your facebook, and across all distribution channel listings. In short when a guest considered booking with you they will be greeted with a conscientious declaration of your practices.
You should further encourage guests to leave reviews, as this gives assurance to future guests that your establishment is indeed worth trusting.

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6 Booking Performance Ideas For Hotels in Crisis
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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.