What is the current digital marketing landscape for the hospitality industry? First, let’s summarize the larger impact of COVID-19 on the industry.
NB: This is an article from GCommerce
Current Impact of COVID-19 on the Hotel Industry
According to American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the hospitality industry has lost 1.5 billion in room revenue and is on pace to lose $1.4 billion per week due to COVID-19. In the last few days, we have received word that many hotels have either already closed their doors or are planning to in the immediate future, all due to the impact of COVID-19.
While these numbers are staggering, let’s take a look at what our hotel digital marketing data is telling us:
- Ad dollars have dropped 23% between February and March 2020. This is directly due to there being less search volume and demand in each hotel’s market
- The average cost per click (CPC) has risen since January 1st, week over week:
- The average number of transactions has decreased by 46% versus the same time last year with the same sample size
With that said, a different set of stats are telling us that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel:
- Transactions are still occurring at almost every hotel. GCommerce is averaging a 130X ROAS across our portfolio for the month of March so far.
- The average lead time between booking a reservation and the arrival date is 90 days. Travelers are dreaming, planning and looking forward to their summer vacation, especially after being quarantined.
Here’s How To Help Your Hotel Now During the COVID-19 Crisis
Even if your property is one of the ones who has had to shut their doors for a couple of weeks or a month, get ready to start pushing out messaging for late spring and summer travel. Here are ten marketing tactics for hotels to start working on now to get ready:
- If you haven’t done so already, waive your cancellation fee policies for the time being. Travelers are looking to plan ahead and book travel, but if it’s not safe to do so they want to know they will be able to cancel without a penalty
- If your property is closing, let your hotel’s digital marketing agency or whoever manages your Google My Business listing know so you can update your “Open” status to “Temporarily Closed”
- If you’ve been waiting for that perfect time when your hotel isn’t full to schedule a photo or video shoot, now is a great time to start thinking about doing it in early summer
- Be ready with drive market and staycation messaging. Think about it, how long will it be before you’re ready to get on a plane?
- If you’re in a destination where the outdoors play a part in the overall experience, find a way to creatively leverage this. After being stuck at home for so long, travelers will want to connect with nature. (If you’re still open now and looking to find ways to get people to book for April travel, this is a great way to market your property.)
- Talk to your guests and be real with them. They no longer need to hear what you are doing on property to make it clean and safe. Send them email communication letting them know you’re planning for brighter days and can’t wait to see them soon. Even better, ask them what they want to see from the hotel to make them feel comfortable traveling. Co-creation is pure gold.
- Along the same lines, utilize social media to reach your audience acknowledging the situation but still remaining true to your brand. For a great example of this, check out Sunset Marquis’ social channels.
- Promote gift card purchases as a way loyal fans can help support hotels business during this time
- Hotels should focus on updating their website content and messaging to not only inform visitors on what the current status is but to help capitalize on any existing demand for direct bookings. Platforms like Triptease are a great way to help customize messaging for the segments that are still showing interest in your hotel.
- We’re using this time to deep dive into our search engine optimization efforts while paid media is lower than usual. If you handle this in-house or use an outsource, ask them what can be done to expand your content and increase your ranking for relevant keywords and topics.