Is a Travel Boom Coming in 2021? Here’s How to Prepare Your Hotel
With the worst of the pandemic in much of the world’s rearview mirror, optimism abounds for the state of the travel industry in 2021.
While most agree that full recovery to pre-Covid levels is still a few years away, 2021 is poised to mark the start of that recovery as lockdowns are eased, populations are vaccinated and people begin to move around.
Here are some steps every hotel should take this year to capitalize.
Use Ads to Target Domestic Leisure Travelers
All indications suggest that domestic leisure travel will be the first segment to recover as people look to remain close to home while seeking a break from lockdown life.
Online ad campaigns (sometimes called ‘Paid Media’ or ‘PPC’) on platforms like Google and Facebook allow you to advertise your property only to people who fit certain criteria--like those who are located nearby and have expressed an interest in leisure travel.
This allows you to only spend advertising dollars on those who are most likely to book given the current conditions.
Reach Out to Your Email List
Not everyone has started planning their travel yet. And after so much time at home, some of them need a reminder that it’s even possible!
Create an email blast letting your past and potential guests know what’s new with the property, whether that’s special rates, Covid safety measures, or updated policies. At the very least, let them know that you’re still in business and excited to see them again!
Offer a ‘Book Direct’ Incentive on Your Website
You can bet that when consumers look to start traveling again, comparison shopping will be a huge part of their path to purchase, as they look to OTA’s to see how your rates stack up to your competitors.
Most guests who are considering booking at your hotel will do some Googling first and, in many cases, will check out your website. That’s when you need to snag them. Your website should be set up to persuade visitors to book right there and then.
Offer an incentive for guests to book directly on your website without toggling back to the OTAs. Whether it’s a discounted rate, extra services, or goodies at check-in, you need to provide them with a reason to book directly with you.
Direct website bookings are valuable not only because they are commission-free, but also because you then own all of the data on that guest’s path to purchase. In aggregate, this data is the most valuable marketing tool in your arsenal.
Allow Cancellation Flexibility
Many people are still cautious and uncertain about what this year has in store, including the state of government-imposed travel restrictions as the year progresses.
Giving travelers additional freedom to cancel closer to their travel date will reduce their risk and give them more confidence to make a booking with you now.
Emphasize Covid Safety in Your Messaging
On your website and online profiles, emphasize the ways in which your hotel is taking safety and sanitation seriously. This will remain a big concern for travelers, regardless of their vaccination status.
Additionally, pay close attention to what people are saying on your online reviews. We have seen many examples of guests using review platforms to point out incidents where hotel staff was not taking the proper Covid precautions. If this is the case with your property, be sure to respond directly to guest reviews and double down on your commitment to their safety.
Get A Head Start
With the summer high season approaching in many parts of the world, the best time to start implementing these initiatives is now, so that you can ensure they are in place before people begin making their travel plans for this year.
For expert advice and professional guidance on implementing a recovery marketing strategy for 2021,
give us a call here at Digital Hospitality. We’re here to make 2021 a profitable and promising year for our hotel clients.
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