Coronavirus: How can hotels raise above to protect their customers and revenue.
Coronavirus has had an undeniable impact on international travel and the hospitality industry. At Top Shelf Concepts, we look at the current trends and make some key recommendations to mitigate the impact upon your business.
Don’t stop marketing your hotel but do adapt your approach.
The impact of recent demand shocks on the Australian hotels sector are expected to be short-lived despite a challenging start to the year. With bush fires, hampering travel, and as fear about the Corona-virus spreads, Chinese tourist groups stopped, conferencing and events being deferred to a later date, some sectors have been impacted significantly.
Now is the time to take advantage of this ‘ window of opportunity’!
Take time to be the best in your field. The best in Food Presentation, Hygiene and Communication.
People still need to eat, and to meet.
While cancellation of overseas events is having some impact on the Australian industry, the long-term growth will make Australia, and many other countries stronger. The biggest impact is the cancellation of international events in Australia and the roll-on effect on suppliers in particular – venues, hotels, staging, crewing, stand building, waitstaff and many other ancillary services, many of which use temporary staff – who will not be getting paid.
But please let’s not panic, the Australian tourism industry is resilient and competitive. It will grow overnight, as we have the ability to bounce back fast.
A glance on how these ambitious goals can be achieved.
- Be Seen
- Be Green
- Be Clean
It’s time to work on the business. This leads us toward different ways of thinking that are beneficial and drive effective change. When we don’t have any restrictions on us, we tend to reflexively do what we have always done and don’t consider possible improvements.
Being risk avert, means that often we need to change our perspective on the status quo. Instead of focusing on the disruptions to our lives, we might reflect on how we can be proactive, which in turn will make your hotel or venue be the best.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”–Alexander Graham Bell
- Check your Food Serving – is your food covered? Are you protecting your patrons from the airborne virus? The best way to prevent illness is being exposed to this virus, which spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Using Food Dispensers, Bakery Display cabinets ensure that there is no cross-contamination with food service and the food.
Reassure your guests Highlight wherever you are going above and beyond to ensure guest safety, e.g. deep cleaning rooms etc. It’s also worth reiterating that you’re following local Governmental guidelines and best practices to minimise risk. Share a video on your enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection, as a precautionary measure against corona-virus. Share this information that food presentation, Food Preparation is compliant with stringent health regulations. Taking extra steps that go above and beyond industry and regulatory requirements to ensure its customers’ health and comfort and provide them with confidence and peace of mind when planning their travel and stay.
Implementing enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection of all rooms, dining, and conferencing areas as a precaution. In line with the latest expert medical finding that the COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted by touch, placing your greatest focus on surface cleaning. Make it known that you use approved chemicals proven to kill viruses and germs, that leaves a long-lasting protective coating against new contamination of viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces, and is eco-friendly.
- Share your cleaning process! Include how your team are comprehensive by the following: wipe down of all surfaces — from windows, trays, tables, seat, screens, armrests, seats, controls, panels, air vents and storage, to lavatories, kitchen, and staff areas. All of this is done in addition to other normal procedures such as replacement of reading materials, vacuuming, and more.
- Focus on domestic markets, keep advertising. Ensure maximum domestic market exposure by concentrating more budget and targeting on in-country advertising to focus on those already here, countering the impact of international travel restrictions and reduced flight timetables. Google’s search traffic for ‘staycations’ are up 50% YoY so far in 2020.
- Be where the market is. Focus on campaigns where there’s still an established audience with a strong intent to book. Ensure you have brand PPC covered to capture those still looking to book your hotel and have a re-marketing campaign in place to convert those still undecided, but who have already shown they might be in-market. Everyone is sharing negative campaigns out there, focus on the positive and get creative! A lot of great advertising ideas come from the darkest of times.
- Peace of Mind Accommodation booking Advise how you will be providing customers added flexibility, choice, and value; with the ability to change their accommodation dates without change and reissuance fees.
Try to maintain your rates It’s not about price of rooms, it’s all about reassurance of hygiene, in all operational aspects. Promote added value offers or the flexibility of your booking terms.
- Last but not least: Prepare for the bounce back The travel industry is resilient, and we would anticipate that once the situation improves, demand should return. History, industry analysis (i.e. Bernstein’s prediction of “a near complete bounce back in 2021”) and the fact that most of us will be accumulating holidays when not travelling, would suggest that returning demand is an inevitability.