In every single story, in every single situation there is good and bad, we learn from adversities and we become stronger. I’ve been watching the data and how consumer behaviour has shifted in the past couple of months. It’s important to look at the data and know what is happening, and work to understand how consumers think by consumers I don’t mean every single human that wants to travel. You need to ask ‘What type of guest do I want to attract?’
This morning I overheard a conversation in the reception of my HIIT class about a recent holiday the lady had. She described how she loved her trip to Germany, how cautious everybody was, wearing masks in stores, and how safe it was. It was interesting to see how travel has become this ‘rare’ thing, like a ‘luxury’.
People are desperate to travel, to get out. I believe a lot of people just can’t wait to get away. Some people are traveling already – they have booked their holiday abroad, or already travelled to Greece, Croatia and other countries that don’t have an air bridge. But what kind of people are traveling right now?
I think there are different types of people and their behaviour defers. New research last month found that 83% of tourists would prefer to holiday in the UK than travel abroad this year – the staycation as we call it now. It looks like this trend set to continue in 2021.
There are other people who are traveling abroad, in Europe. I’ve actually heard from many people that travelled to Europe and came back to the UK. People who travel right now are comfortable with a level of risk. You will not see a person who is scared to death by the virus to travelling.
So, regardless of what one person might feel, think and do we need to be prepared for all types of guests and we need to market to the right guests. There is no point in marketing and sending mixed messages to people who are not willing to leave the house to go to Tesco’s. It’s just wasting resources.
What we need to do is focus on people who are traveling. What are their main concerns right now? Well having looked at a word cloud (A tag cloud is a novelty visual representation of text data, typically used to depict keyword metadata on websites, or to visualize free form text) first word people think of when travel is mention is; safety. This is the most common word that came out. Here are some other words: ready, scary, fun, masks, cautious, relaxing, quarantine, cost, health, unsafe, money and of course a word that has been in our faces in the past six months is Covid.
Based on this as a responsible hotelier, you can show your potential guests how safe is your hotel, you can show the procedures that you do once the guest leaves the hotel, you can show that it’s not risky to stay at your property. Create video content, social media content to explain and elaborate to the guest.
Do your website terms need to be updated? For example you can mention that any booking you make the guest has the flexibility to change without extra charge. You can offer reassurance that the property is doing extra sanitizing, in addition to other value-add items, like complimentary drinks.
Other research I saw states that the top three reasons that prevent guests from staying at the hotel are: 1) Fear of other guests’ interaction 2) fear of the common areas and 3) fear of the hotel room. Based on this, you can create content explaining how the hotel has different exists, you have stickers on the floor reminding people to keep the two-meter rule and other things that you’ve done to keep your guests safe.
Now, I wanted to jump to the next step but I want to pause for a minute here and elaborate just a bit more about the execution of this; by placing certain things in place I mean you need to update your content on the website for guests that are currently thinking of booking and adding perhaps new pages there and then you need to create different creative designs and post them on social media to remind your current guests. But there is a huge difference between reminding people and posting it every day, so there must be a balance.
This brings me to my next point; hoteliers need to become city guides in a way. I always say that every company needs to become a media company, create valuable content that people want to consume, content that people will find interesting. Think of influencers, social media influencers, people follow them for different reasons but one of the main reasons is because they create content that adds value to that particular audience.
You can ask yourself right now, what questions do potential guests might have? Here are some examples: ‘Are all restaurants open?’ ‘What attractions are open?’ ‘Where can we go and have fun in an open space?’ Things that people are interested in, things that people are looking for.
There are so many opportunities right now for hoteliers to capitalize on. To win the right audience, to win the right guest. Some hoteliers are going to take the opportunity and win.
The competition is fierce. Cash-strapped properties need customers, and they need to differentiate. The best way to differentiate is by creating an authentic story. Create a story that puts in your consumer heart and head. Now is the time to win that guest and stand up for something. Once you create that story, go and find the right people that will care about that particular subject.
In the coming months, it is important not to forget that people have the same wishes and desires they did before Covid-19. They want to have a holiday, and they want to enjoy it. Inspire them to book that trip. Inspire them to book a stay at your property.
For more expert advice on content marketing, email Alex at [email protected].
Listen to podcasts? Tune into Redefine Hospitality, a weekly podcast offering a fresh perspective on the hospitality and leisure industry. Browse episodes and subscribe on all major platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.