Measures & Best Practices to Reassure Traveling Guests as the Crisis Subsides
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has inflicted unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry. The pandemic’s abrupt impact on the industry has brought with it immense uncertainty and fear among hotel operators and their staff. However, while currently facing a devastating loss, the situation will inevitably improve. What hotels can do now is to prepare for the eventual bounce-back. This is a time that calls for the industry to adapt, adjust, and evolve. Hotels should be taking the necessary steps during this time to ensure that they are in the best position to succeed in moving forward. Below you’ll find the ways in which hotels can be productive and set themselves up for full recoveries.
Messaging & Positioning to Currently Booked Guests:
Be sure to keep in strong communication with your current and future guests. Guests with upcoming reservations should be directly communicated within a way that eases their minds and reinstills confidence in their guest experience at your hotel. They’re looking to feel assured that your team has effective protocols in place to manage the situation, and that everyone is taking necessary precautions. It is standard right now for hotels to position themselves to relieve any anxieties guests may have about staying with them. Strengthen your messaging by:
- Sending regular email updates as your hotel navigates the situation.
- Highlighting the ways in which you’re going above and beyond in ensuring guest safety.
- Offering insight into new deep cleaning protocols you’ve implemented.
- Outlining how you’re abiding by governmental guidelines to reduce risk.
- Explaining that current circumstances may affect certain services and amenities that are normally available.
- Promoting confidence and offering peace of mind to guests by temporarily offering flexible cancellation fees.
Use this correspondence as an opportunity to connect with your guests. Take a genuine approach here rather than having a standard canned response. Maybe it comes from your CEO, and perhaps you include photographs or videos illustrating your efforts.
Personally Contact Larger Groups to Provide Alternative Plans & Updates:
Be proactive in checking in with your reservations, especially any larger groups. Make sure to share your plan in detail with them (if you don’t have a plan in place, we can certainly help with this). Outline the time frames in which you’ll provide a different percentage of rebates back, and allow for flexible rescheduling. Stay on top of your conversations with them, perhaps asking them when they would like to be communicated with next, and then being sure to set reminders for yourself.
Developing Reassuring Thought Leadership Content and Improve Marketing Material:
In addition to telling guests how you are taking decisive action to protect your hotel and offer extra support to your employees and guests, go the extra mile and show them. By creating and displaying photo and video content that illustrates this action and support, guests will feel more confident in their decision to keep their reservation standing. This might look like a visual of the hospital-grade disinfectants you’re using, or perhaps a message from your housekeeping team speaking on the measures they’re taking.
Additionally, with far less traffic in your space, this may be an optimal time to strengthen your marketing content. While travel may be at a virtual standstill, it remains imperative to continue marketing your hotel. You may have to adjust your marketing strategies, but they should be active none-the-less. This time might allow for upgraded photo and video marketing material. This crisis will pass, and when it does, the competition will be fierce. Best position yourselves to come out of it strong with elevated photo and video that helps you to stand out.
Plan Ahead – Find Creative Ways to Rebound:
Despite the hardships that this time has inflicted on the hospitality industry, there is an opportunity here to be productive and plan for the future. Consider the ways in which you can take advantage of this time to elevate your business, strategies, and protocols. Consider starting any necessary renovation projects or maintenance upgrades and/or investing time into revamping your online presence. As the situation improves, there will undoubtedly be a surge in travel. What are the steps you can take now to further differentiate yourself from your competition once it is safe to travel again?
Know that we understand the severity of this time and that we are here to offer our support. It’s proving to be an especially difficult situation to navigate, but we are confident that full recoveries within the industry will be made. Should you need assistance solidifying a contingency or re-engagement plan, we’d love to chat with you.