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Marketing Tips in COVID-19 Times - Vatel

Marketing Tips in COVID-19 Times

Online marketing can be a tool to help alleviate the consequences of a very difficult situation. Crisis management is a critical component of any viable and realistic digital strategy.

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Faced with the crisis situation that the country is going through, Vatel Madrid teachers offer their experiences and knowledge. This is the case of Andrés Romero, professor of E-Commerce and Hotel Marketing at Vatel and Project Manager at the Marketing Agency specialized in Tourism Asiri Marketing, which proposes 10 Digital Marketing actions to combat COVID-19 from common sense and empathy towards the traveler.

1.   Protect your brand against the market situation.

Your accommodation becomes a communication agent in favor of the traveler and even an agent of cooperation both with the client himself, with the worker as well as with the well-being of the destination. Initiatives such as Casual Hoteles, Room Mate or Grupo Palladium are emerging to provide assistance in their facilities to the lack of capacity in hospitals. In this way, being empathetic in this situation and leaving reinforced is a matter of solidarity with the world..


2.  Creativity to generate alternatives.

A good alternative may be to close some floors, bungalows or apartments to reduce direct costs. The use of opaque prices, such as accommodation + flight packages, will allow you to offer discounts without altering your price positioning. It is also recommended to practice upselling and crosselling strategies with which you can offer additional experiences or special offers. Also, be sure to offer your inventory to all channels and segments.


3. Interpret the Forecast in the short term.

How well they tell us from the government and from all the official institutions, we live in a dynamic and changing scenario. In such specific situations, algorithms take time to adapt to changes in passenger demand and supply. Therefore, our main recommendation is that you pay special attention to the short-term figures and on those values values when making decisions. Demand will vary across different segments, channels, and markets. For example, in Spain the internal market is resisting better than the international one. Once you identify the opportunities, you can design specific products.



4.  Diversify between current and potential guests.

As people become more reluctant to travel as Coronavirus continues to spread, it is important for your accommodation to be aware of and communicate that a prevention plan exists across all critical channels - website, social media, and email. For accommodations in destinations that have been hit hard, it is important to consider waiving cancellation fees. For accommodations in destinations that have not been severely affected, simply reassure guests about the current prevention plan and convey security. Use your CRM (Customer Relationship Management Tool) to create a cancellation return email within two weeks of cancellation promoting an early booking offer or a gift card offer with a redeemable voucher if COVID-19's impact continues.


5.  Pay attention to your opinions and update the content associated with your brand.

Both being able to solve any doubts that are thrown at us from platforms such as Tripadvisor or update the schedules of our Google My Business profile, we need to continue clarifying doubts and interacting with the market to avoid confusion due to ignorance. It is necessary to have a firm response on the situation and communicate it through all our channels in a 360º strategy.


6.  Plan the medium and long term.

We see how in China the number of new cases decreases once the Coronavirus stabilizes. It is interesting to be proactive in the search for medium and long-term businesses, such as groups during the third and fourth quarters of 2020. By then, demand should return to normal. It could even increase if people who delayed travel make up for lost time. On the other hand, it is possible that we implement future improvement measures in our accommodation in terms of digital marketing strategy; Let's optimize our websites, update our social networks or even plan our content strategy on the blog to enhance our positioning.


7.  Concentrate on offers during stay or promotion of premium accommodation types.

With demand down, the digital strategy of accommodation should focus on increasing the income of each reservation. Consider launching extended stay deals, like booking two nights and getting the third night with a 30% discount, or packages that inspire business travelers to increase the number of nights in the destination.


8.  Power and commitment to traveler loyalty.

Now is a good time to build loyalty and strengthen trust with the traveler. Actions of the type that facilitate cancellation and offer new dates at no additional cost. Suggestions how customers who paid lower rates could select high-demand dates. Always from a customer-oriented approach, this will make travelers much more likely to return. Show support by offering rates without penalty for the change, will generate loyalty in your travelers.


9.  Permanently measure your performance against the market.

 Probably, the budget established at the beginning of the year is no longer valid. So there is little point in comparing current performance to your budget. It is more relevant to evaluate your performance against the market in real time. If you have an RMS Revenue Management System tool, a Rate Shopper or a Business Intelligence tool provided by your PMS, you can keep more accurate track of what the market trend is.


10.          Training to emerge stronger from this situation. 

This bad time like previous ones will pass, and we must learn and emerge stronger from this situation. Recommendations such as team training and process improvement should be the order of the day also in this time of crisis. A few days ago I put together this article about very interesting free digital marketing and revenue certifications  that you can do during these days, they will keep you active and strengthening key concepts to improve the profitability of your accommodation.

An authoritative voice that, ultimately, offers an optimistic message: ¨simply encourage you to remain calm, to take care of the traveler and your workers, to reflect on your accommodation model and to continue improving what we do both online and offline. We must burn ourselves that our maxim in tourism is the well-being and happiness of people, so in a period like this it is time to reflect and continue to be sympathetic and empathetic with the client, ”concludes Romero. 

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