Beyond lockdown – end of 2020 Checklist

Beyond lockdown – end of 2020 Checklist

23 November 2020Kirsty Beasley

As we approach the end of 2020, a year that has seen challenge and uncertainty for many Hoteliers. It is important to look at what you can do right now to maximise revenues and in doing so lay the right foundations for the new year ahead.

This checklist will help you to prioritise what you need to be doing over these final weeks to help you revise and prepare everything you need to make the best of the 2020 and will stand you in the best position for the new year.

1. Turn NRF (non refundable rate) cancelations into vouchers

Provide the opportunity to turn cancellations into vouchers to protect cash flow – better still ensure they’re redeemable online to reduce the manual administration. It will be essential to ensure booking flexibility – at Proftroom we have provided our clients with the ability to turn cancelled bookings into rebookable vouchers to help retain income on the books.

2. Prepare Black Friday Promotions

It is important to get business on the books for December – Easter (have an early launch event for Black Friday Promotions too to get in before the crowd). 

3. Promote the use of gift vouchers

People are celebrating/preparing for Christmas much earlier this year, so now is the perfect time to offer some unique and exclusive experiences for Christmas gifts. Working with local providers who have a similar audience as your brand can help to boost your reach and build your database through joint campaigns.

4. Audit Christmas

Take a look at your festive and New Year’s packages and current availability to push this period using your CRM to target guests that booked last year with personalised emails to suit your different segment needs.

5. Launch spring campaigns now

Demand is looking ahead beyond lockdown and Christmas. We anticipate this spring will see higher domestic demand than normal for leisure hotels typically held back with seasons.

6. Load 2021 prices

People are searching for staycations and hotels in 2021. If they have not been released yet, add the prices and even add 2022 prices for international resorts.

7. Use lockdown to make a system change for the better

If there’s something that’s not working for you, now is the time to change it where there will be less business disruption.

8. Maintain your marketing and brand visibility

Don’t lose market share over your competitors – focus your efforts on the areas with the biggest value.

If you are able,  invest in projects such as video or photography shoots or updates to your website.

9. Stand out from your Competitors

Think about creative ways to be different from your competitors.

10. Added Value, unique and one off experiences

Work with local partners in the area to enhance the guest offering and provide eye-catching and one-off experiences.

winter-hotel-wine-time

11. Storytelling

Make the most of your onsite amenities and help guests envisage the experience through ‘storytelling’ and compelling copy making them more likely to book.

12. Personalisation

One thing that guests are placing more and more value is a personalised experience. They want something that fits their needs and their interests. If you’re able to tailor packages to the individual then they’ll be more inclined to book with you.

13. Video and compelling Imagery

Create a connection and tell the story of what the guests stay might look like and what they might experience when staying with you.

14. Seasonal Stay Campaigns

Tap into the seasons and the great outdoors eg) Winter Hygge packages, Learning a new skill such as cocktail making or cookery classes to attract them at certain times of the year.

winter-cooking-classes

15. Maintain your CRM

Focus on Guest Loyalty

Whilst it’s true that the risk-averse are the ones most likely to travel, hoteliers should also remember to value their loyal guests first – especially where tight restrictions are in place. A good CRM is essential in executing this strategy with success.

Segment your Guests

It will also enable you to personalise communications via guest segmentation. Segmenting the right audience means you can target them with the most relevant packages.

Finally, remember that a hotel’s target audience might change over time so you need to regularly review this. For instance, due to the tier system we might see an increase in demand from the immediate locality – and this is something that hotels should look to capitalise on.

16. Add Metasearch to your marketing mix

With the OTAs being in a weaker position, hoteliers will have the advantage. Hotels can take back control of pricing strategies and penalise rough OTAs who produce lower rates creating rate disparity. This is a tactic that will be most successful for luxury leisure hotels. It’s important to also consider Metasearch as a direct channel too and this should be built into a direct booking strategy to take back OTA market share.

17. Target your new ultra Local Guests

Domestic tourism has also obviously increased given the ongoing travel restrictions. On average guests are willing to travel one hour per night, which means hoteliers can use this to promote special packages to the domestic market based on geographical booking patterns and trends.

18. Website SEO Positioning

Don’t pause your planned SEO. It is necessary to continue your SEO positioning strategy, in order to achieve results for the future and to maintain positions already achieved for popular phrases.

19. Google My Business

Request ownership of you Google my business account if you have not claimed it or or create one. Google My Business has to be the best free marketing tool available for leisure hotels and resorts. It integrates with Google maps, improves your search ranking, and also ensures your guests find you first.

20. Flexible Cancellation Policies

flexible-covid-cancellations

Convince potential guests to book a stay at your property for a later date, despite current restrictions, and inform them as to why booking directly on your hotel website is risk-free. Providing information about special cancellation conditions for your offers will help encourage potential guests to book in spite of uncertainty.