Although a reduction in marketing and online advertising spend is inevitable for those running tactical revenue generating campaigns, we are now seeing some properties maintaining their marketing across a number of different approaches.
Book and deposit now; travel later
Some properties are attempting to maintain their forward booking pipeline by offering discounts and incentives to travellers willing to pay deposits now on future flexible bookings.
Focus on domestic audiences
They’ll be the first to recover in countries where the epidemic is under control or receding. Budgets set aside for international travel, albeit significantly reduced, will be spent on local and regional vacations.
Offer flexible booking conditions
Waive cancellation or modification fees. Automatic room upgrades where available. Consider changing rapidly to an all-inclusive model, as travellers will want simplicity and ease once this is all over.
Keep the dream alive
The guests that should be basking on your private beach or in the paddling pool with the kids are currently worried, concerned, wondering what the future holds. Show them that this too shall pass, and pretty soon they’ll be soaking up the sun in your luxury rooftop lounge. We all need to dream, now more than ever.
Share your outreach and support work
We know of a number of hotels opening their doors to the homeless and repurposing as emergency-treatment facilities. This compassion deserves to be shared widely. Social media is generally a captive audience, so consider paid CPM media to double down on your credentials.
Collaborate and combine budgets
Collaborate with other properties and businesses locally and reach out with messaging about your destination. Reassure past and future guests that as soon as you are able, as soon as it’s safe for them, you will be back in the travel dreams business. Likewise for MICE, work with local organisations and business leaders together on recovery plans, at least to lay the foundations.
Consider your distribution networks
Some of the online distribution networks you have been using may not survive. They work on very low margins with high marketing and technical overheads, they are highly sensitive to any sort of disruption. Now would be a good time to discuss options with them for positioning, promotions and rates, and their commissions. With so many properties going offline they may be open to new positions and offers, eager for any sort of inventory, and with guaranteed rates for x months you could help yourself and the OTAs survive.
Review your scheduled marketing
I just received what appears to be a pre-scheduled marketing email from a travel company using the now-famous ‘follow me to’ motif—where a person in the foreground the viewer forward by the hand to an intriguing group-travel experience. Probably not the best graphic device to be using at this point.
It would pay to review any longer term scheduled marketing you already have in your plans.