As hotels across Australia start reopening or even plan to reopen soon, it is crucial than ever for them to maintain their brand value and maximise their visibility.
With so much changed in the way we interact and transact, planners’ expectations from hotels are bound to shift. And to help you navigate through these changing dynamics, we’ve prepared a list of the top six things you can rely on to maximise your marketing opportunity and prepare for the restart of your hospitality business.
Keeping planners up to date
Though this is a common tip, often missed. When dealing with a critical situation such as the coronavirus pandemic, the key is to overcommunicate. Identify the channels in your marketing mix having the highest engagement rate currently and leverage them to share regular updates. Information on health and safety guidelines, re-opening dates, precautions being taken at the venue, special offers and so on. You can also consider leveraging partner platforms having high planner traffic such as the Cvent Supplier Network or creating a Microsite. Cvent is providing a host of complimentary services to help hoteliers at this time, you can choose to view them here.
Targeting local markets, a.k.a Staycations
It might be a good idea to focus more on the domestic audience since with the limitations on international travel, most travellers would resist travelling abroad — even after the situation stabilises. This means that we will likely see a huge rise in domestic tourism, once the initial panic and hardship has subsided. People might still want to get away from all of this and forget about their worries for a while, so a spike in the number of domestic travellers can be expected. Hotel sales and marketing teams can chalk out a dedicated campaign in advance to attract the domestic audience and offer special packages and discounts for the local event planners and corporate travellers.
Optimising your meeting spaces for virtual site visits
As per the RFP data on Cvent Supplier Network, planners are sourcing venues for events from September onwards. The new challenge in front of planners is to apply the new social distancing norms while hosting an event. As a venue manager, you can prepare your venue to accommodate these new needs by embracing technology. You can offer to planners, who can remotely view your venue and visualise how their event setup will look like – with the new social distancing norms in place, you can leverage features like 3D layouts and Event Diagramming tools to suggest meeting rooms best suited for a gathering. Marketing this unique capability to planners can help you generate more leads and get ahead of your competition.
Leveraging in-house marketing channels
Your inhouse channels such as website and social media channels are a great way to keep the audience informed of the latest updates. These channels play a key role, especially when it comes to providing information and creating brand recall value. The inbound traffic from these sources can then be engaged using retargeting tactics, based on their interest in accommodation, meetings or social functions pages on your website.
Social media is abuzz with venues creating vlogs with in-house chefs to hashtags encouraging guests to post pictures of their past visits. These are all aimed at retaining their share of brand awareness. It is no surprise that ‘Travel’, even today is one of the most shared topics on “The Big 3” social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The best part of leveraging social media channels is that there’s no cost attached to it, which makes it a great way to have meaningful interactions with the followers.
While reducing rates in the wake of low occupancies might not be the best strategy in the long run, an effective alternative is to craft promotional offers that help planners achieve greater value. Think of something that your planners want. This could include adding amenities like the spa or special F&B offers – focus on something that is unique to your venue and stands out.
Keeping the marketing door open
While creating a plan, think about the long-term and consider the impact that your plan will have on brand equity and buyer’s mindshare. Reducing marketing spends, in the long run, may lead to diminishing brand awareness and possibly a loss of market share. Believe it or not, planners are spending more time than ever online. This is the time to deploy creative marketing strategies to target future business and retain current buyers. You need to spread awareness about your latest promotions, open dates and information related to health and safety. Marketing strategy in current times needs to focus on re-instilling confidence in your buyers and help them choose your venue once events return.
While 2020 has been one of the hardest years for the travel and hospitality industry, it is important to keep in mind that our industry has always been a buoyant one and rebound is inevitable. With a resilient marketing strategy, you will emerge from this crisis much stronger, with potentially a higher market share. As always, Cvent family stands with you, every step of the way.