At Last, we have left behind an awful 2020 that, unfortunately, we will remember for long time and we are now catapulted into 2021.
NB: This is an article from Hotelperformance
The recovery requires patience and strategies. Here I propose some useful tips to optimize all activities, with a look to the future.
Another weird year awaits us, and it is still quite difficult to make predictions: the health emergency is not over yet and at this moment it continues to have a great impact on tourism in the cities and mountains destinations, with the ski resorts still closed in many countries. The good news is that the data we read show a concrete desire of people to travel, and Hotel bookings for the summer are arriving at unexpected paces. Destinations such as Maldives, Zanzibar, Dubai already recorded significant occupancies during the Christmas period and over.
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If we add to this the experience of summer 2020, we can be quite confident for the 2021 summer.
It remains the hope for a recovery on the second part of the season in the mountains, and some doubts for the spring: when will people really feel safe traveling? When will the governments of the various countries and regions allow to do it?
With these uncertainties, it is important to define how to face this year not only to achieve the best possible Hotel performance, but also to optimize the time needed to do so. Here’s what I’d do.
Your time is precious: Use it to the fullest!
Delete all those operations that waste your time without any real value. Some examples:
Do not waste time checking and identifying which operators put you in disparity on the various online channels. If you are among those who check the various metasearches (Trivago, Tripadvisor, Google Ads) looking for which channel is “being smart” with your property, stop doing it. Really keeping it under control is pure utopia because prices can be different depending on the country from which your guests connect and change with a frequency that is impossible to monitor.
Apply a best rate on your Hotel website, so you can be quite sure that it is never (or almost never) more expensive than online intermediaries.
Don’t waste too much time checking your competitors’ prices. Most likely this year too, the rates will be very wavering going up and down in a unpredictable way.
Focus more on your pick-up and take action where you see movement. If you have benchmarking tools, monitor them frequently to identify periods in which your Business on the Book is significantly lower than your competitors and intervene on those periods. If you really can’t resist the temptation to look at the prices of competitors with a certain frequency, use a Rate Shopper tool to simplify the analysis, setting automatic alerts that highlight the greatest deviations.
Alone you go faster but together you go further.
Trust your collaborators but select them best.
If you have no one to delegate, look for the skills externally. The opportunity is not only in the fact that he will do the job in less time, but, having experience, he will probably generate more ideas and more proposals, maximizing the economic returns. Look for someone to help you with revenue management and online channel management.
Human & Technology. Do you really believe technology can replace people? Today’s guests expect to be recognized and have a personalized service. Properties must focus on this with their in house guests, while tools such as CRM and mailing are now able to do personalized marketing, automatically managing communications with guests before, during and after their stay. These tools allow hotels to customize their offers and promotions not only adding the customer’s name in the body of the email, but providing services corresponding to theirs habits.
Leave the time-consuming work to the machines and focus on strategic decisions and on your hotel guests. And ask for helps on the most useful tools.
Beware at the marketing programs… of third parties!
You know the Genius programs from Booking.com, MODs from Expedia, etc.? Beautiful right? But for whom? In truth these are great tools to get more visibility, but they are addictive, so use them “responsibly” and only if you really need them.
Use them if you have a low to medium reputation and limited to periods of medium to low demand. Take advantage of the ability to set blackout dates, i.e. define the days on which the discount does not apply.
Use the compass
There are still few certainties around, but there is a great desire to escape and return to old habits. The vaccine is a reality, and in a first phase, the leisure customers will be the “proximity” ones.
Monitor the geographic data of your hotel analytics to see who is searching for you. Set promo-communication actions with geo-localized PPC campaigns, geo-localized social campaigns, geo-localized offers on your website and on OTAs on the markets that are looking for your location. Set short stay offers based on segments: romantic getaways, family offers, sports.
“Smart” distribution and intermediation
The pandemic effects have led guests to want more direct contact with the accommodation providers and have also caused some shocks in the distribution world. New distribution opportunities are on the horizon; some “old” channels and operators have changed their approach; others have changed the markets of interest as demand is concentrating on closer destinations, national or European.
Keep updated. Review the “weight” of the various channels. Search and test new distribution channels. Encourage the disintermediation. Take advantage of this period to set up Metasearch campaigns. Right now (February 2021) campaign costs are at a minimum and search traffic is quite low: activating them would allow you to have visibility, improve the rating of your ads and be ready for the moment when the bookings will restart.
We know that as soon as they can, people will start traveling and booking holidays again… .it will be a priority to be clearly visible on all channels in a timely manner.