The Coronavirus and the Hospitality Industry:
How Best to Respond
Monday, 9th of March 2020
Amidst daily increases in infection cases and widespread cancellations of events and gatherings, many in the hospitality industry have already felt the impact of this COVID-19 crisis. Things may get worse before they get better. Successful resistance is based on how you respond to the crisis as it evolves. Thoughtful planning will directly impact the level of downturn for your business and your rate of recovery, once the situation improves.
The global spread of COVID-19 affects your guests, your staff, your suppliers, and your bottom line. It is a crisis that spreads across all areas of life. How you respond, to some extent, will depend on government decisions and measure put into place by healthcare agencies. These will, of course, be outside of your control. There are, however, various strategies to mitigate the impact on your business.
Communication is crucial to any business but in a times of crisis, it is more important than ever. With hourly updates and widespread misinformation on the situation, it is essential to reassure guests. Remind them that you care by ensuring all the necessary health and safety precautions in place. Regularly update your information sheets, checklists, and guidelines on your website, front desk, social media channels. Provide updated FAQs and points of contact where COVID-19 queries may be handled, be it online or by phone.
Keep members of staff updated. If they are well-informed and reassured, they will assist in transmitting messages of reassurance to guests and beyond.
Penalty-free Cancellations: Reassure guests that have already booked (or those considering booking) by highlighting more flexible terms. Consider reviewing all advertised packages and offers to highlight those that are “Pay Nothing Now” or “Free Cancellations”.
Hold Your Nerve: Try to avoid dramatic discounts. Instead, focus on added value, loyalty campaigns, book direct to reduce the cost of acquisition, staycations, and early booking campaigns. Promote booking now for Summer, Autumn or Winter 2020.
For those who cancel, aside from not applying any financial penalty, consider offering an added reward if they decide to re-book at at later date.
Promote Your Voucher Offering: Extend the validity of vouchers so that customers are reassured and can redeem their vouchers whenever is most suitable. Consider adding in extra offerings such as chocolates, prosecco, or dinner for two.
Digital Marketing: Keeping in mind that this crisis is a threat to life, reconsider the message in your marketing campaigns. Add a more human touch. Look to reassure. Look to the future. Plan for the long-term, whilst managing your current campaigns and messages on a daily basis, ensuring they adapt as the situation progresses.
Having a flexible and robust plan in place will help to mitigate losses in the short-term and support a return to growth in the long-term.
The In1 team are here to help. Talk to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org