Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on the hotel industry. It can be overwhelming to think about for those in the field. But the industry has been hit hard before – SARS, 9/11, H1N1, multiple recessions – and they have always bounced back. It won’t be easy, and it may take time, but the hotel industry will recover.
Travel and tourism provide about 319 million jobs, which represented 10% of total world employment in 2018, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Vacation travel makes up about 80% of this total.
When the Coronavirus runs its course, people will be eager to get out again. They will be ready to travel.
How can you make sure you get your slice of the travel dollar?
Offer discounts for reservations
Don’t slash prices, or it will be impossible to return to previous levels once the crisis has passed. People aren’t staying home because your prices are too high, it’s because they have health concerns. Dropping prices is fixing the wrong problem.
What can you offer in terms of an incentive for future reservations? Is it through a pre-pay discount? This option also gets cash into your business today. Creativity will be required as the indefinite end to quarantine makes it impossible to put a hard date on when normalcy returns.
Be generous with cancellations
No one knows when this will come to a close. People are reluctant to commit money they could lose. If they must cancel, incentivize them to postpone rather than cancel outright.
Run specials and packages
Advertise your most decadent, in-demand rooms or suites. This might be just the opportunity someone who’s always wanted to stay there is looking for.
Shift your messaging
While your hotel may be vacant now, you will want to ramp up quickly when the crisis draws to a close. If your marketing disappears, potential customers may think you’re out of business. Keep your brand out there, so people know you are successfully weathering the storm.
Benchmark the competition
Learn what other hotels are doing so you know how to keep up and even pull ahead. Pay attention to competitive marketing to see what they’re doing to maintain brand awareness and attract customers.
Keep costs down
Curb unnecessary spending, but having a fully or mostly vacant hotel is the perfect opportunity to upgrade the property if you have the capital to invest. At the least, be vigilant about keeping up maintenance. Don’t find yourself unprepared when the crisis ends with dusty carpets and leaky faucets.
Keep in touch
For the most part, meetings, conventions, and events are being postponed, not canceled. Remain in regular contact with event planners or other contacts to be sure they don’t go elsewhere.
Hire the best people
In times of crisis, the quality of your management team is more important than ever. If you need help recruiting hotel executives and managers who can weather any storm, contact the hotel recruiting experts at Horizon Hospitality today.