Considering the changing landscape, we are updating our advice to hoteliers regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) regularly. For any support enquiries regarding COVID-19, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01242 682050 and press 0 to be directed to our helpline.
Last updated: 08:35, 3rd April 2020
A summary from our Instagram live session with Susanne Williams, our Revenue and Operations Director:
- Don’t panic – this can lead to making bad decisions like discounting pricing or switching channels off. Revenue management exists as a co-strategy with marketing and staying focussed on thhis will help when things start to rebound, which they will.
- Have a plan – think about the actions that you would like to take to focus on during that rebound.
- Discounting will be inevitable, but we advise that you look at qualified discounts where you won’t discount your public rates. Instead, consider packages, f&b credits, add ons, and making sure that you are flexible. What will make someone want to come and stay with you? How do you help your community through this?
How can I protect my existing guests and build a database?
Keep your guest engagement going. It’s not about selling, it’s about showing that you’re there to help. Take away all restrictipons for future bookings and make sure you communicate this to your guests. Make sure your pricing is flexible, and that when your guests come back, you’re there ready and open for the bookings.
What’s the most important thing for me to do right now?
Don’t panic. Make a short-term plan of what you want to achieve. Nobody really knows what is going to happen, but it’s important to plan for the rebound. If you are offering discounts, consider a fenced discount, and make sure you are thinking carefully about the segments that you are targeting. Also make sure you are looking at the location of your audience so you can target them specifically with discounted promotions.
Can I switch off all my OTAs?
No, you certainly don’t want to switch them all off, but you do not have to give all your inventary and rates to OTAs. Make sure you have a strong book direct campaign on your website and that you’re communicating that with your audience. Whether it’s late check out, early check in, removal of restrictive cancellation policies when booking direct, there are certain things that you can do to make sure your guests come to you. OTAs are very good at communicating well with bookers, from their intuitive booking system to extensive imagery and copy, and you need to replicate this on you website.
The majority of our bookings are corporate, how do I price for their return?
This takes us back to our fenced discount argument, and it’s important not to blanket discount your rates. However, if the majority of your corporate bookings are going to struggle for budget, make sure you have a conversation with them so you can understand who your corporate guests are, what their budget is, how much business they’re expecting to put through you, and when that business is going to come back. Your rates can be lower for your corporate guests and higher for the public.
I haven’t really had time to look at forecasting before, where should I start?
We start with the budget, and in normal circumstances you work your budget over 12 months. A budget really is a prediction of room nights, occupancy, and rates that you hope to achieve. Then you look at the audience – leisure, commercial business, groups – and how this audience is split. Each of these audiences will behave in a unique way and will all have differing pricepoints, so tracking the business that is coming in from these segments is important. In short:
- Compare budget
- Set your forecast
- Predict the business
- Monitor this on a daily or weekly business
This way you know where your marketing spend is going, what is being produced, and where to focus your efforts.
You can find live revenue updates here.
Last updated: 09:03, 25th March 2020
Focus on how to get your hotel in the home to continue to keep your property front of mind, for example, sharing spa treatment tips and recipes from the chef. Share your knowledge and expertise with your audience to keep them engaged. Here is a great example of how to roll out a campaign using this concept.
At a time where guests are temporarily unable to create new memories at your hotel, you could focus social campaigns on collecting user-generated content by asking your audience to share photographs of their favourite memory experienced at your hotel. You can also ask them to comment with the thing they are most looking forward to doing at your hotel once everything is back up and running – keep your property front of mind.
You can find live social media marketing updates here.
Last updated: 13:01, 24th March 2020
Search volume trends and volumes remain consistent, however this could change daily in terms of consumers actually searching with intent for accommodation-based stays.
During this time, our recommendation is to keep some media spend available for such queries. To reduce costs, pause any stimulating ads such as display advertising or paid social. By proceeding with non-branded search terms and branded search terms, retargeting pools will continue to grow and build ready for when the industry comes out the other side.
Paid media targeting:
- Bid modifiers on certain demographics: Italy, USA, older age group
- Lead with cancellation and postponement policies
- “Book with confidence” and other variations are good examples of how you can portray positive, trustworthy messaging to consumers
- Long lead times could be a focus as flights can still be booked later on in 2020 and into 2021 (case by case dependent on policies)
Gift voucher sales and marketing
Last updated: 10:22, 25th March 2020
Looking at figures for both Feb and March, we have seen a very small decline in gift voucher sales (when comparing YOY results and trends since 2016), but not the steep decline that online bookings for rooms, tables and spas are experiencing. This is because when it comes to gift giving and buying for loved ones, people still want to give generously, show thoughtfulness and buy gifts. With Mother’s Day just gone and Father’s Day and wedding season fast approaching, it’s likely that gift giving in its traditional form will continue (with minimal impact). However, at a time when people are not booking dates or planning trips away, now is the time to use Gifted for more than just the traditional gift exchanges. Gift voucher sales are a great way of generating revenue for hotels at a time when a lot of people are not travelling and are uncertain/don’t want to be locked down to specific dates for stays and trips.
You can find gift voucher sales and marketing updates here.
Last updated: 14:40, 24th March 2020
- Trends – We are seeing demand for treatments and spa day bookings decline as people start to self-isolate and avoid public places.
- Cancellations – We would recommend changing your cancellation policies to become more flexible. Allowing guests to rearrange any bookings for another day and time over the next 4 months.
- Wellbeing – With a huge focus on people’s health at the moment, there will soon be another uplift in focussing on people’s wellbeing, with demand for spas increasing dramatically once this wave is behind us. In the meantime, it’s vital that your spa stays at the forefront of people minds, so that they associate you with.