As we rapidly approach the newly announced open date of June 29th for hotels in Ireland, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on our booking data, and it’s encouraging to see bookings start to increase.
June bookings have started off strong compared with May. Naturally, we saw a very strong upturn once the changes to restrictions were announced on Friday 5th June.
NB: This is an article from Net Affinity
With the reopening date changed from July 20th to June 29th, hotels have been given an extra 3 weeks of inventory to sell. The fact that the government decided to bring the date forward clearly gave the nation a sense of confidence and pushed some along in their staycation plans. It also gave hoteliers a reason to start promoting their properties and pushing offers perhaps more heavily and with a steadier voice of certainty.
The bookings we’ve been seeing coming in have been for July & August 2020, with the majority for August. This trend has shifted slightly with the announcement, and we’re now seeing strong bookings for the additional 3 weeks that hotels are open in July. The vote of confidence that comes from the government’s decision to quicken the lifting of restrictions can’t be overlooked. People are ready to get away.
In relation to bookings being made in June so far, we can see that 30% are being made for resorts or destination properties, 18% for rural properties and 24% for city / town properties. Intuitively this is something we all know makes sense. People want space and fresh air – they still may not feel as safe visiting a city which tends to be more congested. TBC – we will all be keeping a close eye on this trend as we continue moving forward.
In the meantime, here are a few tips ahead of June 29th.
Fáilte Ireland have released a series of guidelines for reopening tailored to the various sectors of the Irish tourism industry. The guidelines are designed to support business owners and management in every step as they tackle the challenges specific to their industry.
Updating your website
- Update your content with relevant information
- Review all your pages, double check all the links and use compressed high res images
- Include an opening date on your homepage or create an action bar for it
- Reassure your guests with a list of Safety Operations for your hotel
The focus of Irish hotels should be the domestic market for the moment. You should consider having the following campaigns set up and running:
- Google Ads: Brand Search – Ireland
- Google Hotel Ads
- Google Ads: Rooms Remarketing
- Google Ads: Location & family hotel search
- Google Ads: YouTube Bumper Ads for prospecting (interests: travel & family content and in-market for trips in Ireland)
- Facebook / Instagram Ads: Welcome back / Book Direct Offers
Google My Business
Some properties have marked their GMB profile to temporarily closed. If you’re opening for business on June 29th, now is time to remove that.
- Revise your basic information content, imagery and contact us information on your Google My Business Account
- Update your opening hours
- If customers have asked questions in the Q&A, answer them
- Spot check some dates in the Hotel Ads section. Are OTAs showing rates for dates where your property is closed? If yes, contact them to close out allocations
- Have a look at your reviews / testimonials and take notes
Social media & ezines
Use your social channels to let people know when you’re open for business again. Let them know you’re looking forward to welcoming them back!
Facebook / Instagram Story Ads are visually appealing and are proven to increase engagement and activity on your website. Focus your messaging on ‘Safe Breaks’ or think about promoting Family / Summer Offers.
Facebook has a new feature to support small businesses. As a hotelier, you can use the opportunity to show off your community support and promote your restaurant or bar if they’re open for business or takeaways. On your posts, include the #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag.
Another great way to engage with and keep customers up to date with your open dates and specific offers is through your ezines! If you haven’t sent one out already, do so. You can include promo codes too to encourage bookings from return guests.
The point of effective ad copy is to increase your conversion rates and profits. Great ad copy achieves this by highlighting the key components of a product or service and communicating them to potential customers in a way they can relate to, quickly and easily.
Now is the time to review, prepare and devise the right ad copy, that will prove to be as effective and powerful as possible.
Some suggestions to get the ball rolling:
- Staycation in style
- Road trip anyone?
- Dream now, stay later
- Stay longer for less