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7 Innovative (But Simple) Ways Hotels Can Survive Today’s Travel Crisis

September 3, 2020

10 min read

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  • Try a chatbot competition.
  • Make your hotel shine.
  • Use your email list strategically.
7 Innovative (But Simple) Ways Hotels Can Survive Today’s Travel Crisis7 Innovative (But Simple) Ways Hotels Can Survive Today’s Travel Crisis

Before COVID-19 prevented air travel, sales forecasts for the global hotel trade were optimistic. Some projections have forecast that business travel spending alone will become a mega-segment of the $ 1.7 trillion industry by 2023.

However, thanks to the coronavirus, hoteliers are facing the most difficult time in the history of the industry, rather than one of the biggest streaks of revenue growth in hotel history.

However, it is not all doom and darkness. Travel bubbles and corridors are forming all over the world, which enable new movement sequences and thus the occupancy of hotel rooms. What would otherwise have been international travel has turned inward, according to an August 2020 CBRE report on the state of the Australian travel industry. Regional travel within Australia is on the rise, and a leading hotel publication heralds a “renaissance” in domestic travel. Others report the creation of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand that will help sustain the tourism industry in both countries.

This pattern is followed around the world as governments sign new agreements, open borders to businesses and, after a proven trial period, go into potential tourism. By then, business travel and tourism markets are everywhere turning inward as people select domestic destinations for pleasure and look for business opportunities at home when they cannot seek overseas.

Photo: Depositphotos.com

While the entire industry is known as an early adopter and advocate for digital disruption, many segments of the hospitality industry have lagged, either through a well-established customer base or brand awareness. simply to be lucky enough to be at a high level and with a location that is desirable for many tourists.

As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry, I have deep empathy for hoteliers experiencing some of the worst economic consequences of COVID-19.

Here are 7 innovative, yet easy ways hotels can maximize bookings and access new emerging national markets – and with luck, survive the coronavirus.

1. Try a chatbot competition

Successful marketing strategies using chatbots, e.g. For example, Messenger users’ participation in giveaways with the chance to win exciting travel awards (made even more attractive by the pop-up closure) are easy to set up and market to adapt. Size of the hotel or the campaign.

Chatbots like ManyChat take advantage of the much higher adoption rates for messenger communication compared to other formats to generate a high ROI for digital marketing. They also provide hotels with a rich new source of market data to gain insights or drive product innovation – a benefit every hotel needs to stay relevant to their customers and be ready to respond agile in a volatile market.

2. Make your hotel shine

Ultimately, hotels are spaces, and being more competitive by giving customers a better pre-inspection experience is an approach that dates back to when someone first uploaded (dial-up) a grainy photo of a room from their hotel with their eye-catching new high-end 4 megapixel camera added. The variety of visual experiences hotels can offer as part of their guest experience ranges from ultra-expandable 4K images to comprehensive and interactive guest inspections carried out daily via smartphone. Great viewing isn’t all about shine, however. Travelers are more cautious than ever, and a better pre-arrival viewing option in hotel marketing can alleviate a myriad of guest safety concerns that are far more common around the world than ever before in recent history. .

Photo: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

The desire for better visual experiences in the research and observation phases of the customer journey is likely to lead to massive innovations in the near future. Wait for VR marketing to boldly return to this area to discuss these new priorities for hotel guests.

3. Use your email list strategically

Many established hotels that have been operating for decades have developed extensive email lists but haven’t used them to promote their social media marketing. If you take the time to clean up your email lists (improve your Excel skills if necessary) and upload them to Facebook, for example, the hotel can reconnect with its previous customers. It is important that your contact count and commitments are strategic. Dealing with people and talking about your hotel at a time when some people are locked up should be done with sensitivity. But silence is not a viable option. The markets exist waiting to be talked about about travel opportunities, and who better to start with than people who already know your brand?

4. Invest in public relations

As the saying goes, a crowd attracts a crowd, and the conversation (or lack of) about a hotel brand on social media can make it or break it. Brands are judged based on what others say about them. Hotels are no exception. As the competition grows for a small market bombarded with marketing messages, you increasingly rely on social evidence to back up your decisions.

Strategic investments in public relations, whether through a digital agency or through strategic in-house recruiting, pay off as audiences scrutinize the brands and their offerings more and more by looking at what others are saying about them on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

5. Look out for third party booking sites

It cannot be overstated, a bad third-party booking experience can destroy a hotel’s income potential. The ubiquitous requirements for fluidity, simplicity and security in a purchase or transaction result in guests being turned away when a hotel’s website links to a slow or opaque third-party booking page. It is important that hotels choose their booking partners wisely and ensure that every step of your potential guests’ journey goes smoothly and builds trust, especially if they are paying right away!

6. Harness the power of data

It’s very simple, but not enough hotels are doing it – collect survey data. Chatbot technology again offers hotels the ability to conduct reliable surveys and give customers accurate feedback on their experience during their stay. By placing hotels in key moments, e.g. For example, after a meal in a restaurant or via a bookable facility, they can gain insights into the experiences of their guests in almost real time, hotels can determine where and where the highest levels of satisfaction are and where they need more help.

7. Optimize your website

Unfortunately, most hotels have stuck to the theme of the brochures on their websites and offer potential guests a flat, one-way digital experience. This approach of “Brochure“It has been overshadowed by developments in both e-commerce and digital technology. This is where the hospitality industry can learn a lot from retail.

Photo: Domenico Loia via Unsplash

Retail has matured to the point that even the smallest brands have highly functional ecommerce websites that give the public tremendous leeway for pre-purchase and play research to help them make decisions. Optimizing the user experience in a way that you are already familiar with will make each brand stand out. Given the low presence on websites, hotels will grow even more in most markets.

The demand for travel and hotels will return

Heartwarming reports on industry growth and the optimistic outlook for some of the world’s largest hotel chains, as shared by the Saville Group in this latest quarterly round-up, released this April. While the 2023 target of $ 1.7 trillion for business travel spending may be temporarily postponed due to the unpredictable increase in speed in 2020, there is general confidence that a new kind of “business as usual” will be achieved. and these economies will make it work normally again. For most small hotels, however, getting through the next few seasons will be a challenge.

Ultimately, the secret to overcoming this crisis is for hotels to take the same customer-centric, technology-driven approach that other small brands are taking in other industries. This may force a sharp learning curve, but it’s one that will in the long run improve the way hotels are marketed and operated long after 2020, and the coronavirus is behind us.

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