The UK hotel industry is going through a massive crisis due to the threat of coronavirus. Travel restrictions are in place globally, and customers’ spending power is justifiably low.
The good news is that when this crisis ends—although we cannot say for certain when—we can expect hotel bookings to slowly pick up. This means that preparation activities should be carried out now so that the expected demand is met accordingly.
To help you ensure that this becomes a reality in your own hotel, we’ve outlined a few marketing guidelines that you can adopt.
- Provide a flexible cancellation policy
Customers’ confidence for the future is less than ideal today. This means that requiring them to make financial commitments to your hotel should be avoided. Having a flexible cancellation policy will go a long way towards this, giving potential clients the assurance they need to make reservations.
Make sure this policy is clearly visible on your company website. Outline the terms to prevent any confusion. From there, it would be up to you to decide how long you would keep this policy in effect. Our advice, however, is to enforce it for at least several months and then revisit it as more updates about the pandemic come in.
- Offer COVID-19 preparedness material to your customers
Even when this crisis ends, the looming threat of getting sick will still be present in people’s minds. You must combat this by communicating to your customers the ways that you will minimize the risk of this happening at your hotel.
Create health precautionary guidelines and distribute this to your staff. Once you know that this system in place and actually working, provide evidence of it to your customers via your website and other marketing channels. Doing so will allow your guests to feel safe about staying at your hotel, which should be one of your top priorities after all.
- Retarget cancelled bookings
The current situation has undoubtedly caused many clients to cancel their bookings. To prevent those from becoming a complete loss, send out promotional material that encourages these people to make another reservation. Remember to inform them of the cancellation policy outlined above, and go beyond that by offering additional incentives to rebook.
You can do this in several ways. One, you can implement an instant reward feature such as a discounted rate or a free upgrade upon making a reservation. Two, you may design a package deal that’s available exclusively to them. Three, you can set up a points-and-rewards program and offer a bonus number of points for rebooking. There are other methods that can be effective as well. Find the right one that works for your business so that customers are enticed to return.
By adopting these strategies and others similar to it, you can give your hotel the best chances of staying afloat and making it through this pandemic. These will also help you prepare for what’s to come after the crisis, and they can serve as a template for any future events like it.
If you’d like to read more about coronavirus and its effects on the UK hotel industry, feel free to browse through our site. We publish news, advice, and other helpful information for the benefit of hotel managers around the country.