Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Don't stop marketing your hotel or restaurant, but modify your marketing approach.
Hotels and restaurants are quite rightly very concerned about their businesses right now. They should be brainstorming ways to lessen the impact the corona COVID-19 virus will have on their venues, customers and the staff they employ.
At this time of crisis hotels and restaurants should be looking to tackle issues head-on and generate new ideas to keep their business going where it is possible.
Firstly, it’s also worth repeatedly promoting that you’re following Governmental guidelines and best practices to lessen risks to your customers and staff. The faster you demonstrate to your customers that you are actively dedicated customer safety and addressing issues, you will earn your customers’ trust and in the long-term their loyalty.
You need to reassure your customers and guests to emphasize wherever you can you are going above and beyond to ensure customer safety, e.g. deep cleaning rooms, kitchens, paying special attention to cleaning high traffic areas.
SO, WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
First be completely honest with all communication… and call your customers!
If there’s something people dislike more than a service catastrophe, it’s being left dangling with little or no advice on what to do next. It doesn’t matter that you can’t provide an explanation yet – it’s just people don’t like to be kept waiting, so it’s important to provide honest communication, make real and frank calls to your customers – keep everyone informed.
While restaurants have to close, take-away facilities and outlets can still operate. As a restaurant or a hotel with a restaurant you can offer a “takeaway” service every evening, though with a reduced menu. Get your reduced takeaway menu on your website and on social media with appealing offers and clear instructions on how it will be delivered to your customers safely.
Many restaurants have launched a drive-through service. Orders are placed by phone and payment made by card; the customer then calls when they are outside, and the food is delivered to their car or placed in an open boot or on the back seat.
Prepare for better times – let’s keep positive here!
The good news is our industry is historically known as being quite buoyant and once this situation improves, the demand should return. Weather the storm and be ready to bounce back strong with great offers and quality information for potential guests. Most of us will have holiday days mounting up when not travelling, which would suggest that returning demand is a certainty.
Push a flexible and “book with confidence” deals for your customers.
Look at the practicalities of allowing current bookings to transfer bookings to a new dates instead of cancelling, should they wish to (and reassure new people booking). Appraise your booking engine rates and descriptions to ensure that cancellation policies, especially for the flexible rates, are very clear. Use ‘flexible bookings’ as one of your main marketing messages.
Be available to your customers
Keep your potential guests happy and be available to them 24/7 by the use of popular messaging apps like Skype, Facebook’s Messenger or WhatsApp. We’ve all become familiarised to using messaging apps and being available on these platforms will provide a vast competitive gain.
WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA?
Timing is crucial - because Social media is all about timing.
With all the news headlines surrounding the COVID-19 virus, consumers may not feel it’s safe to enjoy a stay at your hotel or with current restrictions you might not be allowed to visit your restaurant. Where and when it’s appropriate you can use your venue’s social media platforms to make them feel comfortable with their choice to stay with you or visit you.
Reassure your customers and guests to emphasize wherever you can you are going above and beyond to ensure customer safety.
Hotels and restaurants should get involved in the conversation the moment a crisis strikes. Silence is not the right decision. Hotels & restaurants can use social media platforms to build relationships during these challenging times whatever restrictions are imposed upon them. Your target audience is already on social media, and with quarantines in place, no doubt we will all be turning more and more to social media for comfort and communication with the outside world. People will be spending more time on social media and it's the right time to be developing your connection with your potential guests, over this time, you can create brand loyalty for your hotel or restaurant and develop your unique way of communicating to your customers.
Once you’ve captured your customer’s loyalty, your property will be the first one they think of when things get better and they are choosing to travel to your destination.
If you need help with your marketing contact us today.
We can help you communicate with your customers, we can design websites that we can adapt to changing times. We can get your reduced menu online and on your social media. We can also prepare you for better times so you can come back strong!