Due to the current coronavirus crisis, the travel business is low and the chances of it picking up anytime soon are slim. Thus, it’s natural for hoteliers to look for ways to conserve cash, and one such way is to cut their marketing spend altogether.
While decreasing your marketing budget might be inevitable during a crisis, cutting it entirely is going to harm your hotel business in the long run. In fact, discontinuing marketing and other revenue-generating activities makes it much harder to rebound when the recovery happens. This is why experts around the world consider marketing the best response to a crisis.
In this article, we’ll explore how hotel marketing can support you in engaging existing as well as new customers during a crisis.
Stay connected with existing customers
People aren’t traveling right now. But this doesn’t mean that you should stop all types of communication with your existing customer base. You should, however, adjust your marketing strategy and adapt your marketing spend during the crisis.
But how exactly should you market yourself?
CNBC, when talking about how firms should market themselves during the coronavirus crisis, concludes, “Brand promotion might not seem like the best idea during the coronavirus crisis, with people taking to Twitter to express their annoyance at being sent marketing emails from companies they haven’t heard from in years.” Thus, hotel brand promotion is a big no-no during this time.
Your marketing efforts should start from your brand website and social media handles. Here, you can talk about the steps you’ve taken to ensure guest as well as staff safety. Alternatively, you can share your latest booking modification policies, like waiving cancellation fees during the coronavirus crisis.
Similarly, you need to ditch your regular marketing emails talking about travel and showing what’s new in your hotel or location to entice people to your property and instead, start a new newsletter or a series of thoughtful emails around the crisis. Such a newsletter can be sent to guests who’ve stayed with you in the past 2 years.
Your considerate measures and friendly communication will make your guests trust you and pick you over your competitors in the future. Thus, whatever type of messages you plan on sending out or displaying on your website and social media, make sure your communication is sympathetic, relevant, and valuable. A friendly note in the end with a message that you’re there for your guests and your community would go a long way in delighting guests and staying top-of-mind. And let us remind you again–refrain from promoting your brand.
Attract new customers
We know that attracting new guests might seem far-fetched to you right now, but this is the time when you’ll have less competition and, therefore, better chances of brand exposure. To top it all off, there’s a huge market of travelers sitting at homes right now with uninterrupted access to the digital world, thereby making it easier for you to reach them.
So, how do you attract new customers?
Many people would like to go back to traveling as soon as the crisis ends, and travel bans are lifted. A hotel benchmarking tool revealed that people are still actively looking at hotels, but perhaps don’t have the confidence to book right now. Imagine reaching out to such travelers with an offer of risk-free reservations or reduced-price bookings for the future. This will help you attract new customers and win pre-bookings.
If you’re running such a program, display it on your website and promote it via social media and other marketing channels, like metasearch. Again, be sympathetic and relevant not only in your offer but also in your tone.
For example, within trivago Business Studio’s Special Offer app, you can now find new offers specific to COVID19. These offers would help you adapt to the current situation while being considerate. You can attract future travelers and give them the confidence to book with you now with the offer of Free Cancellation. Additionally, you can advertise reduced rates to doctors, nurses, police, grocery store workers, etc. with the help of the Hero discount offer, to improve your brand’s corporate social responsibility.
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If you need help in adjusting other aspects of hotel marketing and management during this time, click here.
Featured image: bongkarn on Pexels