The government’s new three-tiered approach is set to shake things up for the industry once more. As the new coronavirus rules are rolled out across the country, we look at how hotels in areas with increased restrictions, or those with target audiences in local lockdown areas, can navigate these uncertain times.
Here are our five top tips for staying one step ahead.
1. Assess your target market
First up, assess your target market. In some areas, people are not permitted to travel with anyone outside of their household, which means group get-togethers and multi-generational holidays are on hold for the time being. But there are still opportunities to target other types of guests.
Romantic breaks might seem like the most obvious option, but it’s important to remain inclusive and still include messaging which targets solo travellers and families. While the weather is still kind, you can push outdoor activities for families if your property has grounds and gardens. Plus, solo or couple’s spa days are a great choice for those considering a little R&R as we move into autumn and winter.
2. Embrace remote working
This year has seen remote working become the norm, and it’s meant that we can be more flexible when it comes to travel. In addition to working from home, we’ve also seen increasing numbers of people working away from home – choosing to switch things up and work from a hotel or self-catering property as opposed to their home office.
Working away from home means that your guests can begin their getaway early. They can simply shut down the laptop at 5pm and switch off for a couple of days. But the same goes for extending their getaway. If Monday mornings now consist of firing up a laptop for a Zoom call as opposed to commuting to the office for a 9am meeting, then why shouldn’t they extend their stay?
If your property has all the facilities for someone to work effectively – fast WiFi, desk space, room service – then make sure you promote it.
3. Consider where your target market lives
As new restrictions are announced, it’s important to amend your activity accordingly. If you often have visitors from cities where people can no longer travel, then be sure to adjust or turn off any ads which are targeting these audiences. It will prevent any unnecessary spending and ensure you have more budget to put behind other activity. Plus, you can avoid attracting unwanted attention or negative comments on ad activity.
4. Have a strategy for cancellations
Cancellations during this period will be inevitable. However, it’s important to ensure you have a flexible cancellation policy in place. It’s also vital that your guests are made aware of it. The more flexible you can be during this time, the more likely your guests will be to book in the first place.
Remember, cancellations don’t always mean lost revenue. You can encourage people to postpone their stay, refund them in the form of a gift voucher, and even offer incentives for them to rebook at a later date. More often than not, your guests will want something to look forward to, so keeping them engaged and up to date via social media and email is vital.
5. Be prepared for change
Over the last few months, we’ve seen hotels adapt in amazing ways. However, there will still be plenty of change to come. It’s important to stay up to date with the rules in your area and, where possible, think about how you can adapt to maximise revenue over the winter months.