The COVID-19 pandemic turned the travel industry on its head, causing chaos for hoteliers.
Thankfully, the world seems slowly to be opening back up and travel is once again returning. But the nature of travel has changed.
What does this mean for hoteliers and the way they approach hotel marketing?
This blog post, based on a guide by Frederic Schaub, will look at three ways hotel marketing is changing as a result of COVID-19 and travellers’ evolving expectations.
With remote working becoming a normal and accepted part of life, people are turning more and more to flexcations. A “flexcation” (or a flexible vacation) is like having a holiday but for a longer period of time – and working for part of the holiday.
So, what does this mean for hoteliers? Primarily, it means longer stays – and with that, the opportunity to generate significant additional ancillary revenues.
Make sure your marketing strategy and hotel operations are geared to be appealing to flexcationers. You may want to offer discounts for longer stays. You may also want to develop a vibrant co-working space, as this will be very appealing to flexcationers. And, of course, make sure to offer super-fast, reliable connectivity, to make their working experience as smooth as possible.
2. Road trips
With the COVID-19 pandemic having placed a huge burden on air travel, and even train travel to some extent, people have started taking more road trips.
What this means for hoteliers is that you are going to get layovers in secondary and tertiary cities where people stop by on their way to a bigger destination, and it is probably going to be mid-week, which is very interesting from a revenue management perspective.
You are going to get some additional people looking for parking, so you want to mention that you have parking facilities for them. You may get some odd check-in and check-out timings, so make sure you have the required staff in your reception and restaurants.
From a marketing perspective, it is a chance to engage with customers through creative storytelling. Create bespoke content such as the best travel routes across your region, providing the best road travel information for road trippers, and mention your hotel as part of that route.
3. Holiday rentals
With the benefits of having one’s own space and the ability to be separate from others, holiday rentals (where the guest can rent an apartment or villa all to themselves) have been soaring during the pandemic.
Does this mean it is all doom and gloom for hotels? Not necessarily. In your marketing materials, make sure to capitalise on your differentiating factors – your safety, your hygiene, your personalised service, and your provision of human interaction. Double down on what makes a great hotel a great experience. Reinforce your local knowledge, your service offerings and what you can do.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of your usual customers going towards the competition in holiday rentals, you may want to consider attracting the locals. They may be looking for staycation options near home, and will be more likely to consider doing this at a hotel than a holiday rental.
And if you cannot beat them, why not join them? Some hoteliers have already jumped onto holiday rentals, expanding their property portfolios to include homes and villas.
I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to hotel marketing in a changing travel sector. For more in-depth information and advice, read the full-length guide here. The guide covers:
- changes in traveller behaviour and expectations, going in-depth into the rise of flexcations, road trips, holiday rentals, and digital nomads
- hoteliers’ creative responses to an unprecedented crisis, such as embracing inspirational content, a new way of doing food and beverage, hybrid meetings, new technology, and new services