While many hotel departments have unfortunately had to scale back operations and scope, hotel marketeers certainly have not. Even in fallow time, the word still has to get out there. In many cases, the new normal has left marketing and sales departments scrambling to transform the way they communicate hotel marketing for COVID-19.
As part of our Hotelier Talks series, we gathered together hoteliers from around the globe to discuss ideas. Here we summarise 8 of the best ideas for marketing during this time:
1 – Engage on social media
“We have begun sharing our chef’s recipes and cocktail ideas that people can create at home. We are posting photos and 360 tours of the properties and the vineyards, as well as holding a photo competition on Instagram to win a stay in one of our locations.” Darren Kennedy, Sales & Marketing Director, Domaine et Demeure.
“What we want is to connect personally with the people and music selected by our team is a great way to do that. You can find online Spotify playlists created by our staff, from the housekeeping team to chefs and the front office.” Pedro Pinto, General Manager, Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel.
2 – Market with your unique selling point (USP)
“Our properties are beautiful chateaus in countryside locations with lots of land, and our accommodation is self-catering so we allow our guests to have space and independence so it is not necessary for them to mix with other guests.” Darren Kennedy.
3 – Be positive in your communication methods
“Communication with guests is paramount, it is the time where we foster our relationships and perhaps can establish new relationships. We need to reassure – yes contact us, yes we will reopen and our destination is as beautiful as ever!” Emanuel Schreiner, Managing Director at RVS Hotel Consulting & Management.
4 – Think of your timing
“It would be best to wait until you have the absolute green light from your local government so you know when you’re going to be able to open again before you advertise any stays that are date specific. This way you can give a concrete answer to your clients when you will be able to accept bookings.” Darren Kennedy.
5 – Discuss ideas within your team and beyond
“One of our GMs called up and suggested we offer the hotel rooms as a home office space. A quiet location to work, away from their partner or children that allows them to make conference calls peacefully and away from distraction. We began marketing this on our website, then on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. The press were delighted to promote the initiative as it was positive news, we were on TV, newspapers, and on a radio podcast.” Reiner Bauch, Head of Operations at Achat Hotels.
6 – Try not to mention COVID19 or Coronavirus
“Don’t mention the virus, try and focus on creating longing and curiosity. When using hashtags on Instagram ‘#stayathome’ will display in your followers feed but be careful of how you use it as a hotel. We try to use other hashtags that are more relevant to what we would say to our following such as ‘#visituslater’ or ‘#visitusonline’.” Emanuel Schreiner.
7 – Show some togetherness
“We stopped promoting our hotel as a place of luxury and exclusivity and instead related our engagement to our staff. This is one of the most important times to tell your guests that the staff is the most important item that you have in your hotel”. Pedro Pinto.
8 – Let guests know you are preparing
“We will be adding a new focus to our room service offering as our restaurant won’t be open in the beginning and when our restaurant is able to open, we will respect social distancing rules.” Darren Kennedy.
It’s clear that the marketing strategies we had at the beginning of the year have needed to transform in order to resonate with guests today and inspire the confidence and desire to travel tomorrow.