The Coronavirus has already had a massive impact on so many accommodation providers and, unfortunately, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Obviously it’s been a very hot topic in my coaching groups over the past few weeks and I’ve been sharing lots of recommendations with my clients and students to help them reduce the impact on their businesses. We’ve been focusing on things they can put in place to help them cope with whatever the weeks and months ahead bring.
I thought it would be useful to share just some of those strategies with you in this article:
1. Don’t stop marketing!
My biggest piece of advice is make sure you keep marketing your business. Do not make the mistake of taking your foot off the pedal!
Just because people cannot travel at the moment or aren’t confident enough to make a booking right now, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still actively looking for places to stay in the future. So you need to make sure you stay in their radar!
2. Focus on the domestic market
The impact of international travel restrictions and reduced flight timetables mean less people are travelling outside of their own country. However, it doesn’t mean people don’t still want a break away!
Now obviously this depends on where you’re located and the restrictions in place within your country, but Google has recently reported that search traffic for the term ‘staycation’ is up 50% year on year so far in 2020. In many places around the world people are still booking and enjoying holidays and short breaks away within their own country.
So, it’s important that you invest more time and money on targeting those people. Remind them why your location is an amazing place to visit and all the different things there are to do.
If you have the added benefit of being located in the countryside or near the coast, then highlight this fact in all your marketing materials. Reports show that, unfortunately, people are hesitant about staying in cities and towns right now so if your location offers plenty of fresh air, kindness and no crowds then really focus on those HUGE benefits.
3. Promote ‘book with confidence’
Think about bringing in a new cancellation policy that allows guests to move a booking to a new date with no charge should they wish to. Not only will this reassure those who have already booked with you, but it will also instil confidence in anyone thinking of booking with you.
Create your new ‘flexible’ cancellation policy and make sure you promote it EVERYWHERE! Ensure it is front and centre on your website, on your booking manager, on social media and on any OTAs you use.
4. Don’t reduce your rates
Before you lower your rates please think VERY carefully. It’s important to recognise that the reason people are not booking with you at the moment has nothing to do with your prices!
When you lower your rates, it is very difficult to increase them again once demand returns. So, instead, focus on adding value as well as your new flexible booking terms.
5. Be prepared for when it’s all over
If you’ve been providing accommodation for a long time, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time a situation has had an impact and detrimental effect on bookings.
You’ll also know that as things start to improve, demand usually returns so it really is a case of riding out the storm.
Until next time, remember …
If people aren’t travelling at the moment and taking holidays, it is quite likely that they’ll be building their leave entitlement. When things start to bounce back, so many people will be desperate for a break away and it will be the businesses that have stayed in their radar that will benefit from those bookings – so make sure you’re one of them!