We are now several months into a pandemic that seems, with the passage of time, to be less of a looming threat and more what is being termed the ‘new normal’. However, as the weeks have turned into months and people continue to be stuck at home, there are undercurrents of restlessness. We all know what happens to the coiled spring. The moment the pressure is off it immediately resumes it’s old position. It’s impossible to predict exactly how people will respond when restrictions ease, but when people have been pent up for months at a time, it’s not unreasonable to assume that travel will be a priority for many. Recent reports say that in countries where lockdowns have ended or restrictions eased, searches for accommodation in spring 2021 are returning to normal levels.
So how you can you start preparing your hotel to emerge on the other side of the pandemic? Let’s take a look at the six things you can do.
Promo codes, offers and deals are far more effective in getting guests interested.
Market to Local Travellers
It’s been a stressful, if not life altering few months, so it’s unsurprising early data suggests that people wanting to travel are more inclined to stay closer to home. Try optimising your site for Google My Business or teaming up with attractions in the area to offer great packages that will get travellers to single you out.
Improve Your website
This is never a bad idea and is more important now than it’s ever been. A beautiful, clean and modern website suggests that your hotel shares these attributes. Make it interesting, informative yet concise. You may need to engage the help of a design professional but be prepared to spend some money if needed. It’s an investment that you will never regret and if it’s done well any money spent will be returned in the form of direct bookings. One vital ingredient of a good website are the images, which brings us to our next point.
Improve Your Images
Good images are to the website what the pearl is to the oyster. Photographs of starched sheets in a beautiful room, a glistening pool or stunning grounds help fuel the imagination and create excitement and possibility. Read our previous blog on how to go about getting picture perfect ready.
Make Yourself Google Ads Ready
Unless you’re a super tech lover Google Ads is a yawn. But the truth is that if you want to reach millions of people online it’s a necessary evil. Your website may be stunning, your images may be mesmerising but all this is totally pointless if you are the proverbial needle in the haystack. Hotel ads contain your company’s name, hotel name, price and some blurb about all the great stuff you offer. Google Ads can potentially make your website show up at the first SERP (search engine result page) on Google. Studies show that around 90% will only look at the first SERP, which means that if your website isn’t there, you immediately lose those people and only 10% remain. While the big brand chains can afford an army of ad word geniuses to get them on the first page, a smaller player will probably need to work the web for some guidance. Happily, Google also has a team of very nice Adword supporters ready to help you through. Alternatively, you can use Sirvoy to lend a hand here and do all the above with it’s Google Ads channel integration. Read our article on how we can help you promote your business through Google Hotel Ads.
Revise Your T&Cs
This one might sound strange but it’s never been more important for your guests to feel reassured when they book with you. This crisis has proved that no matter how organised and careful we might be, there will always be circumstances outside our control. That is why non-refundable rates are a really bad idea. It doesn’t matter how great your accommodation is; if a traveller can’t book without knowing they can get their money back, then they probably won’t book with you at all. Our advice is to bin the non-refundable rates and any other unnecessary fees that could put your guests off.
Sweeten the Deal
While offering large discounts on hotel rooms may seem tempting when things are slow, the research says that it doesn’t usually help in getting substantial amounts of new bookings. Instead, promo codes, offers and deals are far more effective in getting guests interested. Sirvoy allows you to choose between four different types of discounts that will entice travellers to choose your accommodation. Find more about how to apply discount codes here.
These are strange times and as we have already pointed out, nobody can predict exactly how travel will be affected as we begin to resume old habits. But why not use this quiet period to examine some of these points we’ve mentioned? And of course, if you need to change your strategy you can always just go back to what you did before. Simples!