Corona has shaken us quite a bit, but hopefully, the reopening is just around the corner. And with it, a great opportunity to reposition yourself in terms of hotel marketing because there’s been a noteworthy shift in guest perception:
The pandemic and the long shutdown have caused people to view and value the hotel industry very differently.
When guests think of a hotel, they now see primarily the friendly hosts, the wonderful trappings and the feeling of being cared for. All things they sorely missed, and that were no longer available during Corona.
Help them see the wonderful atmosphere at your place, where they chat amicably with like-minded people, have fun and enjoy happy little moments – wonderful emotions, guests value and cherish and are more than happy to pay the price for…
Focus your website on the coveted hotel experience, and you’ll meet your guests exactly where they are.
It’s worth taking action now, because conditions are ideal.
After endless months of restrictions and lockdowns with little personal contact, people want only one thing:
- Out! To meet lovely people and once again feel how good it is to be together.
- To celebrate, experience beautiful things and enjoy life.
- To relish genuine hospitality and the warmth of knowing that “someone is looking after me”.
- Hotels and restaurants play an important role in people’s lives. The pandemic made that very clear.
- Sure, when we open, there’ll be great demand, but you want to make sure you attract your ideal guests (and not just “anybody”).
- And here’s another cue: according to 80 days’ benchmark report, for the first time in 20 years, direct bookings during the pandemic rose – by a whopping 17%!
We certainly missed our guests, but our guests have also realized how much they missed the hotel industry!
Even if it starts slowly and takes a while for the situation to improve significantly.
All indicators point towards long-term success.
As difficult as the Corona situation was and is – this crisis is helping us make a fresh start!
Now is the perfect time to position yourself strong and independent online.
Because relying on third parties, like organizers, OTAs or travel agencies, is simply not an option.
Not after this year!
That doesn’t mean you have to redesign your entire online presentation completely. But have a close look at your copy and content – WHAT do you say to your guests and HOW do you say it?
Because if you are getting it right, you can achieve amazing results.
Here are 3 things to look out for:
Tip # 1: Your website must touch your visitors
Splendid pictures and web designs surely make a good first impression, but you need a bit more to persuade prospective guests to make a booking:
Your website copy is a powerful tool to turn visitors into hotel guests.
- Put your ideal guest at the center of your website. Let them feel you understand exactly what they need, and you’ll have their attention.
- Distant or aloof, standard advertising slogans and impersonal empty phrases – these automatically make your hotel “one of many” and your visitor is quickly gone.
- But when your personality shines through, when your guest thinks: “Great! They sound really nice”, then you are one giant step closer to your next direct booking.
- People prefer to buy from people they like and with whom they sense a connection.
- If your target group is hikers, talk about their favorite topic: hiking! Show what your hotel does for its hiking guests: “We’ll provide you with the best hiking experience of your life!”
- Your guest is not looking for a comfortable bed (well, of course he is, but to a good host that goes without saying) he is looking for a well-rounded and memorable hotel experience. And that starts with his “search”. Paint the upcoming experience in the most beautiful colors and if you do it right, you won’t have to do a lot of convincing …
If you are looking for ideas and suggestions on how to get your message across, here are 3 tips on how to do it.
Tip # 2: Resume the conversation
The pandemic left us all pretty worn out and after the second lockdown, many hotels stopped talking to their guests.
Sure, when it starts again, the demand will be high, so why make an effort now… but remember, there’ll also be lots of hotels that make an offer … And if you don’t want your guests use booking platforms because they cannot find your hotel elsewhere, you’d better work on your appearance and visibility …
“On xyz we’ll be there for you again.”
That’s the first thing you currently see on most hotel websites. What about a more personal note?
“If all goes well, we’ll open again on … We can’t wait for it to happen. We’ve missed you!!”
- Show your guests how much you appreciate them. Write them a little “love note”.
That’s something I’ve noticed again and again in my hotel years: Small, heartfelt gestures had a much bigger effect on my guests and were much more appreciated than expensive champagnes and gift baskets …
- Once hotels reopen, hygiene and safety precautions will be an important booking factor for most guests.
However, hygiene shouldn’t come across as a highlight or special feature. Sure, your guests need to know that you understand their worries and have taken precautions, but don’t forget – they are looking for a great hotel experience!
- Chat with your guests on social media. It’s a great opportunity to remind your guests, you’re there! Be persistent and stick with it and you’ll see results. Tell them of your past weeks and speak with verve and personality: how did YOU experience the pandemic, what are you looking forward to? Maybe a brief insight into your preparations behind the scenes … or inspire them with memories of past encounters and simply make them …..feel good.
- Or how about an (online) reopening event? Meet online with a glass of wine and cheerful music and have fun. Or meet for tea. Each participant receives your secret cherry pie recipe to bake at home, and then you meet online …to taste it and daydream of great times ahead …
Tip # 3: Ride the roller coaster of the “post-corona phase” with enthusiasm and vigor
If this crisis has taught me anything, it is the true meaning of being flexible.
As soon as I had halfway finished a project, everything was overturned again; as soon as I had a go ahead, the project was cancelled again. I found it insanely frustrating at first, but over time I saw it as a challenge. And I had fun coming up with a solution for the next problem lining up.
People hold on to what they know, but Corona has destroyed the illusion of security more than once during this pandemic.
Look at the conference market, which thanks to the home office concept completely fell apart.
Companies have now discovered the advantages of home office and that won’t change soon. What they, however, also figured out, is the importance of face-to-face meetings.
And so, a new trend is already emerging: In the States, they are now working on bringing together remote workers 1-4 times a year for 2-3-day hotel events.
Marriott is teaming up with UBER, Singapore focuses entirely on “green” and sustainable tourism, and the latest hotel target group includes the “digital nomads”.
So, it makes sense to stay open-minded and if needed, reposition your hotel:
- Is my target group still right, or has something changed here?
- International travel will probably only fully kick in next year. In the meantime, what can I do to gain ground in the local market?
- Does my target group still have the same demands and requirements as before Corona, or has that changed?
- How do I want to come across to attract new team members that fit my vision and philosophy?
- What touch points can I add to my guest journey to build a stronger bond?
Is it worth all the effort? It is!
- If you are investing in your direct marketing now, you’ll attract the guests, you’ve always dreamed of.
- No more sleepless nights over occupancy and sales figures.
- Complaints are pretty much non existent, and guests highly recommend you because you cater to their needs and they love your product,
- Your revenue is your revenue, without commission payments, and you can finally invest in the things that make your guests’ stay even better.
So, hang in there, but get ready and ……. lots and lots of success!
And if you need a few ideas and suggestions on how to implement it, you can download them here for free!
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Text Spot On
Hi! I'm Barbel and the owner of Text Spot On, a small copy writing agency that helps passionate hoteliers turn hotel products into brands. I'm on a mission to help the hotel industry get more direct bookings - with hotel marketing that puts guests at the center of attention! After 20-plus years in hotel management (Hilton International, boutique hotels in Germany and Switzerland and hotel resorts in the Caribbean), I know that hotels are so much more than rooms and restaurants! You can reach me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.More about this business