The deeper we get into 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic, the more we begin to understand that it will be quite a long time before we get back to a sense of normality.
NB: This is an article from Avvio
Countries and cities have begun implementing second lockdowns to reduce the impact of a second wave of COVID-19 impacting people’s lives, the economy, and several industries.
So what do you do if your hotel is impacted by these lockdowns? First of all, don’t panic! Remember, we’ve done this before on a much bigger scale. Here’s a list of 5 do’s and don’ts if your hotel has been affected:
1) Don’t Turn Off Ads
We know you’re going to want to tighten the purse strings when it comes to marketing budgets, but don’t be tempted to turn off your ads on PPC or Metasearch. Turning off ad spend will only aid the Online Travel Agencies, and it’s essential to protect your brand. It’s also important to keep in mind that PPC ads only show when relevant searches are being made – if there is little-to-no interest or demand, very little will be spent, and you’ll still be protecting your brand.
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2) Review Your Ads
Circumstances are changing so fast in 2020 it’s hard to keep up! Make sure that your ads are sensitive given the changing market. Are your “call-to-actions” promoting shorter lead times (e.g. “stay this weekend”). If so, they’ll need to be changed, as lead times are only continuing to get longer.
If you have seasonal display or search ads, make sure to review them. If your local area has gone into lockdown for Halloween, it’s best not to be showing halloween ads, and focus more on Christmas and the New Year.
3) Target Your Local Area
If your hotel is in, or targeting, an area that is in lockdown, don’t stop targeting impacted areas. We’ve seen continued demand throughout regional lockdowns & restrictions. Reducing marketing budget and ad spend will only serve to reduce your visibility at a time that is critical for your hotel.
4) Take Advantage of Social Media
Things change on social media just as quickly as they do during 2020! As information and updates are changing rapidly, take advantage of the speed & ease of social media to keep in touch with your guests, and keep them up to date with what you’re doing. People are looking to support their favourite local businesses and brands where they can, and being active on social media is a great way to keep top-of-mind.
Instagram stories are a great way to do this. Instagram users click through their stories more often than they scroll to see actual posts, so utilising this feature is essential for any brand. Show your followers that there’s a human beyond the business by focusing on employees, success stories, and work anniversaries. Using social media to explain your hotel’s steps & precautions for guest & staff safety is also essential. If your followers know that your hotel is safe, and knows what you’re doing to keep them safe, they will be more likely to book.
Lastly, share content from guests (with permission). Users trust people they know, and user-generated content is the holy grail of earned media. Why? It’s free! It also improves online visibility, trustworthiness and customer satisfaction.
5) Focus on Organic
If you’ve paused some (non-branded!) ad campaigns, you’re going to be relying on your organic content to appear in the SERP. Review your content on the top 5-10 landing pages on your website and make sure that it’s rich, well written, and relevant.
Preparing for seasonal content in 2021 should also start now. Start preparing for New Years Eve, January Sales, Valentine’s Day and Mid-Term Break (to name a few). Having meaningful, useful content prepared well in advance gives that content time to rank organically (which can take anyway from a few weeks to several months).