The hospitality industry is one of the business sectors most affected by COVID-19. Hotels, bars and restaurants have had to contend with social distancing, increased cleaning protocols, travel restrictions, enforced closures and the movement of areas in and out of various levels of lockdown.
This has increased overheads while simultaneously reducing the number of guests they can accommodate.
It has also increased consumer uncertainty and difficulty communicating with customers. These issues require new, innovative ways in which hotel brands can interact with their guests.
Keeping guests informed not only ensures they remain engaged, and your brand top-of-mind, it also forms part of a smart strategy for recovery.
Your Guests Are the Key!
During quarantine, people are creating and absorbing huge amounts of content on social networks. This content has the potential to revitalise your market.
User-generated content is seen as an authentic, trusted and influential tool for marketing your hotel.
Here are our tips for keeping your audience engaged while helping you prepare for business in a post-pandemic world.
1. Revive the Memory of Guests’ Trips
As people experience cabin fever due to quarantine, encourage optimism and confidence by inviting people to remember their previous best trips.
Make a #reminisce on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter accounts or even on your hotel website. Ask people to share the best photos or videos from their favourite destinations in the past.
You can also make a hashtag about your hotel and ask your past guests to share their memories and experiences of your hotel or city. Make sure you include luxury offerings such as your spa or fine dining restaurant.
This way you will conjure up feelings of nostalgia and a desire to return to your hotel, and encourage future bookings. As a bonus you will also accrue authentic visual for future campaigns.
2. Stimulate Future Trip Plans
During the COVID-19 crisis, try and give people something to look forward to and inspire them to daydream about future travel.
Make a #FutureTravel and ask people to imagine and create their dream trips while they are at home and share them with you. You could even reward a winner with a future stay in your hotel.
3. Make a Strong Connection
Communicate with your audience not as a brand, but person to person.
Promote user-generated content of the good work that your team has been doing to support key workers or vulnerable members of the community during this crisis.
Showcasing these human connections in your campaigns builds goodwill, promotes social sharing and create a feelgood buzz about your hotel.
4. Reinforce Trust with Visual Proof
Create a landing page with a visual gallery of your guests enjoying themselves at your hotel. Help them to remember that your hotel was a luxurious haven for them previously and will be again.
Simultaneously promote your safety message with content about the extra precautions your staff are taking, the ways you enforce social distancing, hygiene precautions and contactless check in and out.
5. Encourage Guest Loyalty Post-COVID
Like most luxury hotels, you are likely having to do more with less; budgets and the number of employees have been markedly reduced.
Your hotel marketing requires a balance of messaging between health and safety measures and promising the comfort, fun and leisure which people seek when traveling.
The best tool to help you give people assurance that your hotel is safe and still enjoyable is user-generated content. The best platform is your hotel website and its associated social media channels.
The hotel and travel industries have taken a massive hit and a huge amount of work is required just to get back to last year’s baseline. Even after the global pandemic has passed and people are able to travel again, recapturing the trust of your guests will take time.
Your digital channels represent the lowest cost and most authentic way of maintaining a great relationship with your target guests and fostering connections with new luxury travelers.