COVID-19 pandemic shook the hospitality industry hard and turned many hotel and lodging businesses upside down. But, this isn’t all doom and gloom. The post-pandemic landscape may even be better than pre-pandemic because people — as naturally social beings — will want to “get away”. Due to the current suppression of travel, the lodging industry is expected to enter a phase of “concentrated demand release” after the pandemic.
But, the important question we’re all asking now is: “will the hotel industry survive COVID-19? “ Well, based on the industry’s response from the initiatives hoteliers are taking, the answer is a pleasantly surprising YES. Green Suites Hotel Solutions wants to be part of helping you survive these turbulent times, so, along with our unrivaled hotel amenities services, we’re here to help you with tactics to reduce your cost and increase profit margins.
Hotels who are surviving the crisis have pondered upon these key challenges:
-How to accurately and quickly capture the change in customer needs?
– How to design a customer experience that corresponds to these demands?
– How to turn crisis into opportunity?
– How to take hold of opportunities for development?
– How to reduce costs and improve hotel efficiency?
Before the pandemic set the scene for a worldwide travel crunch, the global hotel trade’s revenue forecasts were very promising, and corporate travel alone was projected to grow into a $ 1.7 trillion mega-segment by 2023! But, instead of harvesting one of the highest profit growth-spurts ever expected, hoteliers are facing the lowest point in the industry’s history.*
But, not one to easily be crushed, travel bubbles are surfacing around the world — facilitating a new influx of guests. What would have been an international travel flow has turned inward: regional domestic travel is on the rise. This pattern is followed around the world where local governments are entering into new agreements and opening borders for business — although cautiously. Until international travel is reopened, travel and hotel businesses are turning inwards as locals opt for domestic destinations.
5 Coronavirus Survival Tips for Hotels Serving Domestic Travelers
1) Start with Empathy: Being understanding of customers is among the most fundamental things you can do for your business. Considering that many people had lost their jobs, and that potential or recurring guests might have lesser disposable income to spend on luxuries, you can give them quality hotel guest experience by:
- Fostering guest relationships: Reach out to loyal guests by sharing to them personalized vouchers. This is to thank them for their repeat business and to let them know that you’d love to see them again.
- Providing free cancelations: Cancelation/booking-change fees are good revenues, but with the pandemic, it’s best to do away with this. Your guests are just as disappointed as you for not being allowed to travel to your location. Better not to charge them for a reason that’s outside their control.
- Offering special deals/packages: Be creative with the discount packages. Make them in a way that’s enticing without breaking your bank. An example could be “stay a weekend and enjoy free lunch on us”.
2) Chatbot Competition: Using chatbots as a successful marketing tactic is simple to set up AND scalable to fit the size of the campaign. Leveraging this high opt-in tool will drive high digital marketing investment ROI. Plus, it supplies hotels with a rich source of market data that provides insight for product innovation — an asset every hotelier needs if they want to remain relevant to customers and prepared to nimbly respond in an unstable market.
3) Utilize the Power of Data: It’s quite simple, but not many hotels do it: survey and gather data. In the same vein, chatbot technology allows hotels to carry out reliable surveys and collect accurate customer feedback about their experience throughout their stay (pre-pandemic if these are old and/or regular guests).
The data is more relevant if they’re collected from (local) guests who checked-in recently, during the pandemic. Real-time insights at key moments such as after-meal at the hotel’s restaurant, using the booking site, how hygiene/cleaning is implemented, etc. will help hotels identify where satisfaction levels are highest and where they’re lowest.
4) Optimize Your Time
This is a good time to update your industry approach. With travel restrictions in place, your rooms are suddenly empty — leaving you with plenty of time. Make the most of your free days by:
- Engaging with guests online: Respond to the backlog of reviews you hadn’t had time for and initiate conversations with guests. You can update your review platforms, including important ones like TripAdvisor.
- Getting creative with organic marketing: Set up social media accounts, if you haven’t already. Take photos/videos of your property and create a curated hotel atmosphere online. Write stories, feature rooms & specific services you offer, highlight your restaurant’s menu, feature a local attraction near you, etc.
- Reconnecting with previous customers by leveraging your email list: Make every recontact count and every engagement strategic. Engaging with old guests about your hotel in a time where some people are in lockdown has to be done with extra caution. Silence isn’t a good option, either. The market still exists and is waiting to be tapped into. What better way to begin than starting with those who already experienced your brand?
- Increasing the efficiency of your hotel or lodging: Now, with less revenue coming in and possibly fewer everyday tasks to take care of, is as good of a time as ever to assess the efficiency of your hotel. Take a little time to consider money saving hotel options such as bulk hotel amenities and dispensers from a company like Green Suites, more efficient lighting, more energy efficient appliances, window coverings, and heating and cooling.
5) Keep up with industry trends to stay ahead of competition and prepare for the imminent post-pandemic surge in occupancy. Tune into the recent directions that hotel industry is taking:
- Tech trends (artificial intelligence): Despite the current decline in occupancy demands, the hospitality landscape is changing and evolving into a more tech-focused industry. Consider UI (user interface) and VR (virtual reality).
- Environmental trends (sustainability): Even before the pandemic froze travel and transformed economies worldwide, travelers have already been becoming eco-conscious. Green travel, ecotourism, and responsible hotel practices (i.e. GreenSuites Ecocents Dispenser Program) had loomed in the horizon far ahead of COVID-19; and will outlast the pandemic. It’s not only trending, it will be the new normal post-pandemic. As a hotelier, this means you’d have to decide how your business can minimize environmental impact and contribute to the eco-shift.
Parting Points On Hotels Surviving During COVID-19
Although lodging businesses are taking a particularly hard hit during the pandemic, one thing is sure: hotel and travel demand will return. Be ready for the surge! Meantime, hoteliers can focus on adding value to their products/services by digging deep into customer needs, doing quality asset management, investing in market relevance more than in competitiveness and creating a sustainable development model reserved for after the pandemic.
If you decide that one of the ways you’re going to do that is by changing your hotel’s amenity program to something more sustainable, then Green Suites’ Hotel Solutions would love to be your choice of supplier. Contact us today!