IN AN ECONOMIC downturn such as the one underway now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the instinct of many is to cut costs to compensate for lost revenue. However, those cuts should not go too deep into hotel marketing departments, according to an article from Hotelivate.com.
The article, “Hotel Marketing Strategies for COVID-19 Business Recovery” by Mansi and Vivek Bhatnagar, managing director and CEO Templatolio Technologies in India, suggests instead that marketing should be targeted in a strategic approach.
“Each hotel chain or independent hotel should devise their marketing strategy for two phases, during lock-down and post lock-down opening,” the authors said. “Your customers are spending way more time digitally during lockdown and it is critical not to go dark during this period but to keep proactive communication ongoing with your retail and corporate customers and channel partners.”
Mansi and Vivek list the following marketing tips to consider:
Stay social: Use social media to share with customers what you are doing to provide a safe environment at your hotel. Also, nurture the emotional connection.
Optimize for SEO: Google searches for hotel stays may be down, but it’s still important to intensify SEO efforts to improve and maintain your rankings on the relevant keywords.
Ads on pause: Save the money you would spend on search and social media ads to apply after the COVID-19 lockdown. Rather, focus on select social media posts to meet certain objectives.
Promote locally for restaurants: If your restaurants are operational and delivering, promote them locally through social media campaigns.
Take the time: Take care of initiatives you haven’t had time to do normally, such as review your website, create visual content and evaluate loyalty programs.
“The current pandemic would affect not only customer behavior but also, in the short-term, the customer segments themselves. Hence, marketing strategies must adapt dynamically for several months post opening to ensure marketing efforts are appropriately targeted and give the desired results,” the article said. “A hotel’s website and social media handles play an even greater role than before, by enabling customers to get all details on the hygiene processes in place, as those would become critical criteria for booking.”
Orlando-based hotelier Rupesh Patel, the founder of SmartGuests.com and Mark Natale, CEO of Miami-based Smarthinking Inc., previously gave similar advice to hoteliers on the need for hotels to continue their online presence during the shutdown.