This month, hotels in the UK and beyond were finally permitted to welcome back guests. But after such a tough period of no business, how can this industry bounce back? Read this article to find out.
The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted every sector across the globe, and among the hardest hit is the hotel and travel industry. Research carried out by McKinsey even suggests that recovery to pre-COVID-19 sales could take until 2023, or even later.
The good news is that earlier this month, hotels in the UK were allowed to reopen and welcome back guests, airlines have resumed their schedules, and certain locations abroad are allowing UK visitors to holiday there.
While things appear to be returning to “normality”, it’s quite clear that the journey back to recovery is going to be no easy route for the industry. Yet, there are some important steps that hotels can be taking to ensure they are giving themselves the very best chance at returning to pre-COVID success. Let’s take a look at them.
The implementation of health & safety protocols
While you may be growing tired of hearing about face masks, handwashing and social distancing, implementing the correct measures to keep both your staff and guests safe is the most important step in reopening.
With COVID-19 here to stay for at least a few more months, it’s essential that that your hotel business has a solid plan in place to not only ensure health and safety, but to also prepare for a plan should another lockdown come our way.
Customers searching for a hotel will prioritise those that offer the cleanest and safest of facilities, and so investing in the right tools for seamless implementation will be sure to pay off.
Customer service platform, ALICE, have launched a handy free checklist tool to help hoteliers with this process.
Automate processes with technology
Like many sectors, the impact of Coronavirus has led to many businesses with no choice but to cut back on staffing costs. While this is, of course, is not a desirable decision for any business to make, automation could be the key in helping your business survive during these times.
From front-of-house booking tools, to autonomous housekeeping; there are now many incredibly useful tools designed to speed up processes and eliminate costs. Thus, now might really be the time to consider leveraging automation technology if you haven’t already.
Social Media Marketing
For many businesses in periods of uncertainty, the natural reaction is to pull back on marketing budgets. However, in order to be in for a chance of returning to pre-COVID sales, now really is the time to boost your marketing efforts – and social media is an essential platform in doing so.
Think of informative and engaging content that will captivate your guests. Instagram is a hotbed of travel inspiration and #wanderlust content, so ensure you are riding this wave by getting your hotel out there with stunning professional imagery.
Why not host a hotel package giveaway? For the travel industry, these types of giveaways have been found to be incredibly effective at growing brand awareness and subsequent guest bookings.
Update your website
During this time, it’s important to keep your customers updated with clear and transparent information. To do this, you must frequently update your website and online presence.
For instance, revisit your website copy to ensure the information guests are reading is all relevant; update your FAQ’s page to answer all queries regarding reopening in the “new normal”; update business hours everywhere online to remove temporarily closed notices you may have put up; and review and improve your SEO.
Now is also a good time to ensure your online checkout is as a seamless process as possible. According to a study by SaleCycle, travel cart abandonment rates are higher than the average of other industries, standing at 81.6 percent. While this is likely due to customers spending more time going back and forth researching holidays, you want to ensure that once they do decide to book with you, it’s a simple and stress-free experience.
Furthermore, consider whether you are offering your customers flexible options to pay. Investing in trusted and reliable payment solutions such as those from UTP Group, can really improve conversion rates.
This leading company provide ecommerce payment gateways that allow businesses to take online payments from customers all over the globe, something which is vital for hotel and travel businesses who frequently target oversees customers.
It’s an uncertain time for the hotel and travel industry. Unlike many other businesses who were able to carry on business and continue making sales throughout lockdown, this industry has had to endure a real bleak period. But as restrictions lift and the world relaxes a little when it comes to travel, now really is the time to plan ahead for better times.