It isn’t news anymore that hospitality as we know it has been transformed. To help hoteliers navigate these familiar yet unusual waters, we hosted a webinar discussion on the best digital strategies to adopt within this new hospitality landscape.
Joined by Annemarie Gubanski, CEO and founder of Taktikon, along with our special guests Kia van Ettinger from Elite Hotels of Sweden, and Eva Ottosson Rask from Copperhill Mountain Lodge by Nordic Hotels & Resorts, we were able to have an open and frank chat around the topic. Speaking with Sonia Merena from The Hotels Network, they shared strategies to adapt your revenue strategy for the current climate, tips for communicating and engaging with online guests, and case studies with insightful pointers from hoteliers, for hoteliers.
From hoteliers, to hoteliers | What strategies worked for them?
The drive behind our efforts have always been to support and inspire hoteliers. What better way to gain relevant insights than to listen to the experiences of other hoteliers? Here are some of the ideas our guest panelists shared during the webinar about actions they’ve taken during the COVID-19 outbreak to help them along the road to recovery.
“We've been launching focused offers and campaigns and what we find most important is the message. What can we offer to give guests the idea of why should I leave my home and be somewhere else? It’s all about triggering the interest of visitors.”, said Kia van Ettinger, Director of Revenue Management at Elite Hotels of Sweden. “The most important thing is to be active. Not to believe, but to ensure. You shouldn't sit down and just imagine that things will come back to normal because you have no clue. Secure your business, carefully plan your rate strategy and stay proactive.”
Elite Hotels of Sweden – Layer promoting benefits & flexibility of booking direct
During these sensitive times, how you communicate is extremely important. From the message content, to the timing and way of delivery, everything needs to be mindfully thought through with the needs of your audience in mind. When done correctly, your campaigns and messaging will naturally inspire interest in your visitors. No matter what you decide to do, it all comes down to one basic idea, as Kia mentioned, to use common sense and stay proactive.
“We have focused a lot on keeping the webpage up-to-date, because people are really seeking information and want to know what they're coming back to when we reopen”, shared Eva Ottosson Rask, General Manager at Copperhill Mountain Lodge. “We have been working closely with The Hotels Network and putting much effort into building a better and more interactive webpage. We also make sure to be present on social media, posting dreamy images and creative content rather than promotional campaigns. Since our marketing budget has shrunk, we’re giving a lot of attention to publishing organic content to generate interest."
Copperhill Mountain Lodge – Organic post on social media
With the mobility of travelers being significantly reduced, unsurprisingly internet and social media activity has seen a dramatic increase. Demand is out there. Travelers are itching to book their next holidays after this is over. It could be a good time to overhaul your hotel website and explore the many ways in which you can grow your online presence and direct bookings.
Kick-starting the summer with the Nordic Hotel Pass
Nordic Hotels – “Unlimited Nights” campaign
We’ve always been urging hoteliers to think outside the box and to seek out opportunities to launch creative campaigns, grabbing the attention of their visitors. Let’s be honest, we’re all looking forward to the possibility to going on holidays this summer, but given the circumstances, planning ahead isn’t always easy. Understanding that flexibility and peace of mind is what travelers are hunting for, Nordic Choice Hotels recently launched their Unlimited Nights offer so that their guests can purchase the Nordic Hotel Pass to enjoy the freedom of going destination-hopping at any of their properties all summer, worry-free. When asked about the results of the campaign, Eva confided that the uptake by guests has been pretty remarkable.
When planning your hotel recovery strategy, getting inspiration from fellow hoteliers can always help to spark some new ideas at your own brand. Here are some key takeaways from the session:
- Focus on your short-term revenue strategy instead of a comprehensive long-term strategy; times are still uncertain, we’re all unsure of what could be coming up.
- Consider the ways in which you can augment your ADR and cleverly assemble your rates to attract a variety of audiences.
- Keep a proactive mindset. Try to connect with your loyalty members with interesting content and offers or reach out to your markets on your social channels. Relevant, creative and engaging content can make all the difference.
- Keep a close eye on your positioning and visibility with organic search and metasearch.
- Building trust with your online visitors is essential. Tell them about safety measures at your properties as well as your flexible cancellation policies.
- Yes, as everyone has been saying, the domestic market will be returning first. Take advantage of geo-targeted messages on your website to deliver personalized offers for local travelers.
- Take the initiative and grow your marketing database by launching email capture forms to promote newsletter or loyalty club subscriptions at various touchpoints on your website.
- Consider options to generate immediate revenue. Follow in the steps of Copperhill Mountain Lodge and promote Hotel Vouchers so guests can purchase now and redeem their voucher for future stays.
- Segment your website users by purchase intent so you can reduce promotional spend by only showing discounts to visitors who really need an extra incentive to make a reservation.
Try to imagine what your audience wants to hear and adapt your communication to match their needs and the stage of your recovery plan. Don’t forget to always stay on-brand by customizing the look & feel of your messages.
As Annemarie Gubanski, CEO and founder of Taktikon mentions when talking about hotel tactics for social channels “To put it simply, be incredibly active. Do fun things, have variety, ask questions, showcase behind the scenes images, do what you can to stay dynamic”.
Did you miss the webinar? Don’t worry, check out the debate by watching the recording of the live webinar here.