Adapting to Continuous Change Amid COVID-19
Despite cases continuing to surge around the U.S., the hospitality industry has received a number of good signs regarding COVID-19. Vaccine prospects look positive, and travelers are continuing to book more vacation time in states with fewer restrictions. However, 2020 was a tumultuous year, and hoteliers know that the situation can change at the drop of a hat.
With the States preparing to usher in a new presidency in January, we must be prepared for any potentially dramatic changes to the new normal we’ve established. How can hoteliers prepare and adapt early to accommodate potential changes? How can hotels maintain traveler interest and business needs in an ever-shifting climate? Although we can’t say exactly what’s going to happen in 2021, there are some prudent strategies to keep in mind as you prepare your staff and hotel for the new year.
Reinforce Safety Policies on Social Media
You should make a regular habit of posting about safety procedures and updated policies to your social media page. Repeated coverage will ensure future guests see at least one variant of your policies. As long as the information is presented in a fresh, engaging way each time, you won’t have to worry about losing engagement.
Appropriately setting guest expectations will be imperative to your success in 2020. Patrick O’Brien discussed this subject in Episode 63 of the Suite Spot podcast. You want to ensure your guests have the clearest possible picture of your hotel before they book. It will reduce potential misunderstandings and allows you the opportunity to re-frame your policies in a creative way.
Regularly sharing tidbits about how you’re keeping guests and staff safe from COVID-19 also means that when dramatic changes do occur, you and your followers will be better equipped to share and handle them. The more future guests know about your safety precautions, the less likely they’ll be to cancel their travel plans when unexpected changes arise. Visually calling attention to dramatic updates through unique images with text overlay or eye-catching colors will help these posts stand out.
Brainstorm Creative Ideas for Unique Experiences
Stay in Place orders and strict lockdown policies forced an urgency to be creative for many businesses, which placed undue stress on employees to navigate an unknown future. Now, however, we have a much better understanding of what the landscape looks like. This means that you and your employees can brainstorm creative ways to make your hotel experience unique.
For example, if your hotel needs to stop offering breakfast altogether, you may want to partner with a local restaurant or coffee shop to provide guests with an easy-to-order breakfast option, delivered to your hotel to reduce traffic going in and out of the restaurant itself. Partnerships such as these are invaluable to your future success – lifting up businesses around you will only benefit you both in the end.
In addition to the mutual benefits, you’ll be able to bring a unique, local flavor to your guests. This makes your experience unique over your competitors and memorable to the guests who stayed with you. When travel is safer, those guests will want to come back with you to experience that partnership all over again.
Maintain Consistent Review Flow & Response
Providing satisfying customer experiences is just one way to boost guest confidence in your hotel. As discussed in a previous blog, online reviews are the best way to earn guest confidence before they book with you. Every hotelier understands the value of a good review – however, we also emphasize that you also need a consistent flow of new reviews to keep traveler confidence high in COVID-affected times. Recency gives travelers the clearest idea of what your hotel is actually like at the moment, making it the greatest influence on their willingness to book.
The other side of the coin to receiving a steady flow of reviews is responding to them. In review responses, you have the chance to provide further information about services or policies mentioned in the content of the review itself. This adds credibility to other guests who may come across your property. Review response is also the ideal place for you to clarify and resolve misunderstandings that didn’t come up during the guest’s stay.
Balancing social media, review response, and additional elements of reputation management can be overwhelming for any hotelier, especially if you manage multiple properties. Travel Media Group is here to help – our fully scalable solutions will help you tackle each area of your reputation. No matter the number of hotels in your portfolio, you can count on our team of dedicated professionals to work alongside you and innovate to meet your needs.
Visit our services page and contact us today to learn more about how we can help you fluidly adapt to changes in the industry as they come.