Coronavirus has had a massive impact on so many accommodation providers over the past few months and, unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet!
Obviously it’s been a very hot topic in my coaching groups and I’ve been sharing lots of recommendations to help everyone reduce the impact on their businesses.
We’ve been focusing on putting things in place to help our members cope with everything that has been thrown at them and as the world has started to open up again, their hard work during lockdown has really paid off – they have all been seeing amazing results. Many of them have been reporting the best July’s and August’s they’ve ever seen …
Joy from Western Australia shared that income for July 2020 was up $20k on July 2019 – $20k. She shared with me, “This confirms more than ever that all we need to do is #TrustTheProcess – thank you so much for your help and support during these difficult times.”
Lisa from Washington also achieved a massive win, “I’ve just looked at my earnings this August compared to August 2019 and I’m up over $4400 for month! I am by far WAY ahead of last year overall and I feel awesome! Less stress, less work and I am loving this! And this is all with Covid. Just imagine where we’d be if Covid hadn’t happened – next year is going to be amazing! Thank you so much for your help Steph.”
And Charles from the UK had this to share, “Talk about #TrustTheProcess! We’ve seen a record August in the cottages with every cottage being fully booked. And future bookings continue to be back to back for several months! It’s so good to be back!”
And that’s just a few of the amazing results being achieved!
So, I thought it would be useful to share with you just a few of the strategies I’ve helped my members to implement to help reduce the impact of the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever …
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!
With less people choosing to take a holiday or short break at the moment, more than ever you need to stand out from the crowd and grab attention.
And just because lots of people aren’t confident enough to make a booking yet or aren’t able to travel right now, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still actively looking for places to stay in the future. So, again, 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.
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 making a reservation.
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 things really bounce back
People who have been providing accommodation for a long time, know that this isn’t the first time a situation has had an impact and detrimental effect on bookings. They also know that as things start to improve, demand always returns. So, it really is a case of riding out the storm.
Until next time, remember …
Whilst lots of 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 really bounce back, those 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!