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Now Is The Time To Consider Your Recovery Plan

July 6, 2020 | Nicole Tomasso

Travel trends are showing consistent improvements in demand as quarantine restrictions have been lifted. In a recent webinar, Travelzoo stated 78% of their top demographic is ready to start planning travel again.

For the third week in a row STR reports US absolute occupancy percentages have improved. Tracking data from April 25 to June 20, STR reported that occupancies had gone from below 20% in April to 45% in June.  According to Kalibri Labs, reporting on data from ForwardKeys, airlift saw a 20% improvement from May 14 to June 24.

Pent up demand is here, with many citizens now looking for a change of scenery. 

I have had the privilege of remaining engaged in the hotel revenue strategy space to listen, learn and lead clients through their journey to recovery. Many of our clients are independent, boutique and unique properties all walking different paths towards recovery.     

Pent up demand is here, and it is time to take action. Now is the time to consider your recovery plan.

Restore Trust And Engagement

Now more than ever we need to remember we are human first. Restoring trust through heart-centered messaging will be the first step in bringing back demand to your hotel. Here are some recommended communication and engagement initiatives for hotels in recovery:

  • New Initiatives: Publish new superior sanitation processes, safety procedures and social distance guidelines on all guest touchpoints.
  • Guest Journey: Communicating the new guest journey is critical to show how the guests experience will be. The more visual and descriptive you can be the more personal your message becomes. 
  • Community: We are all in this together. We need to keep reminding ourselves that. Together we are better. I would encourage hotels to spotlight efforts of community involvement, stories of their dedication and the hotels’ commitment to hospitality. 

Painting a clear picture of the new guest journey experience, staying in a state of continual improvement, and staying engaged with your community are all good places to start.

Revamp Product Positioning

The hotels that are currently surviving in this environment are likely not who you considered your competition this time last year. The competitive landscape has changed and will be somewhat of a moving target for the foreseeable future.

Evaluate your hotel’s position against the current climate in your market in these key areas:

  • Current Supply/Inventory Picture: Be sure to have a good understanding of who your competition currently is and might be in the future.  
  • Selling Strategies: Evaluate the market’s position regarding hotel fees, policies and offers against your hotel’s position.
  • Guest Sentiment: Assess the guest perspective from both the digital and narrative scenes.  Review all guest touchpoints: brand, distribution, and social media channels.

It is important to understand that in this current climate your comp set is not necessarily who your hotel was competing with prior to COVID-19. Being adaptable and agile will be important as you navigate your hotel through these uncharted territories.   

Revive Your Strategy    

The hospitality industry has demonstrated healthy recovery from crisis, downturn, and environmental challenges in the past. Consider a commercial, holistic approach that is focused on connection internally and externally. We are in this together. 

Some ways to expand your circle and communicate:

  • Collaborate Internally: Operations, sales, marketing, finance and revenue teams should be in a state of constant communication. 
  • Collaborate Externally: Continue to foster networking and partnerships on a local and national level.  Stay engaged in world events. Events in the news are going to have a direct impact on your hotel’s booking pace and on profit.

Continue to get out of our own space and connect with others to stay in tune with all levels of individuals and associations walking through this journey.

There is no doubt in my mind people will want to explore and to travel. We are in a state of transformation. It is not a time to sit back and wait. It is time to make changes and take action.

Consider these tips to be a CliffsNotes version of three areas of action to take on your journey to recovery.

And remember, from one of the most famous High Schoolers of all time: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller.

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