Post COVID-19 Hospitality: 8 Proven Digital Marketing Strategies For Smart Hoteliers

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Hotels Post COVID

Over the last few months, the world has seen a steep rise in the number of Coronavirus cases again. Most of us thought the pandemic had come to an almost complete stop. Who would have thought we would have to go back to social distancing? Experts today are suggesting we might soon be expecting a new wave with the Delta variant. Well, this is the world we live in – completely unpredictable. But the vaccine drives across nations have been successful and travelers are beginning to prepare for their leisure trips. This is good news for the hospitality and tourism industry!

Whether you are the general manager of an independent luxury resort, the marketing head of a multichain property, or the owner of a small boutique, it is perhaps the most important time to kickstart your marketing campaigns. Analyzing trends can help to not only minimize losses but also undertake the necessary measures to protect yourself and your guests.

As a general rule, before beginning any marketing campaigns, set your budget. If you are able to maintain your marketing budget during this time of crisis, then you can go large. However, if you are facing financial crunches, a short pause may be necessary. Make the most of the historic data available and research before spending even a single dollar. The travel market, during a time of crisis, is the most unpredictable gamble. You don’t want to end up spending more than the expected net revenue. If you are currently spending 10% of gross revenues on marketing, then you avoid going below 5%. You may also want to explore a medium-risk digital marketing plan as the world begins to open up.

Here are 8 highly effective and simple to implement digital marketing strategies to promote your hotel :

1.  Test Your Marketing Material

There’s a lot you can do while you wait for the season time to pick up. As most businesses have swiftly moved their operations online, you can also improve your marketing performance by testing the content you share on social media. If you haven’t updated the content assets like photos, videos, testimonials, reviews, etc; now is the time. You can start by reviewing each room in and out. Next, make sure you have high-quality images that can be reused on other channels. If you have a website, start sharing user stories and important updates using the blog session to drive social shares. You can also analyze the traffic on your site to get an idea about the potential guests you can expect.

There may also be opportunities to optimize your call to action and keywords to make it simpler for users to make reservations. Teaming up with local businesses can add an array of new products and services that you can advertise to lure your guests once the travel ban is lifted.

2. Capture video for use on social media

While we all recognize that a video is an important tool for digital marketing. However, we seem to always get stuck with lighting, editing, etc. Well, now is a great time to record and schedule your videos. Apart from being entertaining, they are great for search engine optimization or SEO. Video is one of the most popular among all other types of content. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of video marketing has seen a massive shift. The need to have professionally shot, aesthetic videos is a thing of the past. 93% of marketers confirmed that video can be used by both marketers and consumers as a tool for trust-building.

Repurposing your blog post as a video with included the transcripts or take screenshots and use them as images on social media is a great way to keep the audience engaged. You can also use video recordings with Instagram’s newest Reels feature to multiply your reach. To add a more human touch, interview your customers and employees who can share more insights.

3. Schedule a Webinar or Create a Frequently Asked Questions Video

Planning and conducting web sessions can be an effective way to answer frequently asked questions about your hotel, the amenities available on-site, benefits, new products, and services. It can also be a way to introduce new team members and is a particularly effective marketing tactic in business applications as 91% of professionals say webinars are the best content format for their favorite content to study. If webinars aren’t for you, create an FAQ video and post it on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and other social portals. You can also create an FAQ section that can be added to your site highlighting the recent changes in hygiene and sanitation you have undergone.

4. Improve Your Online Review Strategy

If you do not yet have a plan or template for responding to online reviews, it is time to create one. If you have managed to deliver top-notch customer service, your website will be filled with online reviews. Dedicate some time every day to respond to these comments and feedback. You don’t have to go back and answer every question, but make sure the most recent reviews get thoughtful answers. It will also be a good idea to train your staff on how to handle customer feedback. Write a few sample responses that your team can use. It is equally important to teach your staff how to respond to negative reviews. Direct your staff on how they can report legitimate customer service issues to the right people. Give them the tools they need to track reviews and receive notifications. Show them what to expect when they measure the value of monthly reviews and reports. Managing your online reputation is just as important as delivering on-site customer service.

5. Evaluate and improve your digital marketing

Having a strong digital footprint as part of your marketing strategy is critical to the success of your business. Digital marketing is imperative in this era, especially post COVID-19. Digital marketing is faster, cheaper, and more effective than traditional marketing plans. An email or social media campaign can deliver a marketing message to a focus group of targeted consumers for a fraction of the cost when compared to a TV ad or print campaign. It is important to segment your audience based on your goals. Consider reading about trends and learning tools that can allow you to take advantage of digital media as a sales channel.

6. Update your hotel’s “Google My Business” and Website to attract guests

If you working outside of your regular hours or taking special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID19, let your guests know. Adding these changes to Google My Business will help you build trust among arriving guests. Update your business hours and description, share necessary precautions and guidelines, highlight any offers or discounts that you are running, and make sure your contact information is accurate in case people want to contact you. Also, take some time to update and/or fix your website. If you don’t already have a website, use this time to build a new site altogether. To get your hotel ready for the next stage of business, your guests need to know you are completely transparent and trustworthy.

7. Devise an Outreach Strategy

Reaching out to your former guests during the pandemic can be a great move to build on your existing relationship. Casually check on your guests to make sure they are healthy. This is a great way to let your customers know you care. You can also check if your customers are receiving and engaging with your content via email and social media. Try to maintain a relationship, but steer clear of crisis-related advertisements. Get creative and think of ways to reassure, socialize, or provide support during COVID19. Hosting an online video space once a week for your guests to chat informally and network is a strong tactic for bonding and building trust with people.

8. Analyze Your Existing Data

Analyzing the data you have can be insightful. Review your online analytics and sales or lead data. Ask questions about who your potential customers could be? What are the needs of your potential customers and why should they choose you? Compare offline and online trends and find out what you can fix today that you never had time to do. Reflect on the data and opportunities that you have missed in the past. Identify bugs and problems on your website. Instead of sitting on the sidelines wondering what happened, take the initiative to reach out to former guests for their reviews. Don’t let your hotel or resort turn a crisis into a business downturn. Use the time to invest in your customer and their needs.

Summary:

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a global paradigm change. With travel stopping around the world almost overnight, OTAs decided to put all digital marketing campaigns on hold. Holdings booking, the parent company of Booking.com has reduced its marketing budget by 56% in 2020. As property owners, we understand the unpredictable market can be stressful. There is no certain way of knowing when or how travel will resume “like normal”. However, being prepared with a recovery strategy is the simplest way to get back in business. It is important to keep up with trends and have a deep understanding of what travelers will be looking for as they step out again after almost two years of quarantine.

Hotelogix Editorial Desk
Hotelogix’s team of researchers and writers are constantly innovating to share the latest trends from the travel and hospitality space. Got suggestions? Write to us on editorial@hotelogix.com.

80 DAYS Benchmark
80 DAYS Benchmark