The world is slowly opening up again, and as hoteliers and other players in the hospitality game that means it’s time to welcome guests back with open, yet socially distant, arms. Similar to phased reopening plans throughout the country, your hotel’s marketing efforts should take the same approach. By phasing out your hotel marketing targeting you’ll be able to provide the most value for your property in this current market for less (we know many will still be operating with smaller budgets at this time). Below we’ll outline a great phased approach that can be curated to fit any property’s strategy amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
PHASE 1: Focus efforts on your hotel’s current and upcoming guests
If your property isn’t ready to resume marketing efforts and outreach quite yet, then the most basic approach should be to focus on the guests you have. People are still traveling, even to the most restrictive areas, and your top priority should be to make their stay at your hotel as safe and comfortable as possible. This could include imposing smaller capacity caps, ensuring social distancing between guests, using stricter and more frequent cleaning guidelines, and more.
Focusing on your current hotel guests presents the opportunity for providing a much more intimate and personalized experience. Fewer guests mean you can get to know them by name, provide upgrades and other premium amenities, and showcase the service of your hotel in new ways. This focus on guest experience can turn into positive reviews and chatter throughout the web, which has a great impact on your hotel’s reputation, website traffic, and conversion rates.
PHASE 2: Initiate your hotel’s marketing with loyal and previous guests
When you are ready to begin your hotel’s marketing efforts again, we recommend starting small, especially if your hotel is located in a very restrictive area. Your audience should be focused primarily on loyal guests like pass holders and loyalty program members first and then broadening to previous guests or families that return year after year. One of the best ways to engage with this audience is through email marketing because you already have these guests’ contact information and you can draw them in with a more personalized approach.
PHASE 3: Engage with your hotel’s local audiences
Once you’ve taken care of the loyal users, it’s time to move on to your hotel’s local drive market audiences. Whether this is within city limits or up to a day’s drive away, your local market will be the first to return to your property through serious marketing efforts. This is when you really want to make sure your Facebook, display and paid search efforts are ramping up to draw that awareness and highlight the benefits of a staycation or long weekend out of the house.
PHASE 4: Draw in regional guests for your hotel
As we start seeing the United States and other parts of the world opening up more safely we’ll also start seeing people traveling further distances. This goes beyond day trips and weekends and dips more into longer stays. These guests will be driving to your hotel from places that are over six hours away or even taking short flights in.
Some properties are already seeing an influx of regional guests, especially those located in larger metro areas, while some are barely getting local visitors. It’s important to pay attention to your state or city’s reopening guidelines and phases to determine which audiences are worth targeting at any given time.
PHASE 5: Return to normal by reaching your hotel’s destination audiences
Eventually, things will go back to normal and travel will continue as it had before COVID-19 hit. This fifth and final phase includes all guests and normal operations, meaning you can return to targeting your new top-of-funnel audiences and guests that live out of your property’s region.
While this phased approach is simply a guided recommendation, it’s still important for any property or business to evaluate their current standings and plan out their future marketing efforts. Eventually, this will be all over and we will return again to a saturated marketing landscape, but until then you can lean on GCommerce to create a strategy for your hotel’s marketing efforts during COVID-19.
Our hotel digital marketing experts are standing by to help you craft a custom digital marketing relaunch strategy for your hotel. Contact us today.