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March 25, 2020

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YES. This is a big one. Our world, this time globally, is shifting day by day suffering from COVID-19 crisis and coping with the unanswered question: When will it be over? I send my warmest regards from Tel Aviv , my thoughts, and strong encouragement  to all my friends in the Travel & Hospitality Industry . Its tough but we will get over it stronger.

We are finding ourselves in our industry, Hospitality & Travel, making decisions real time during harsh conditions of uncertainty. Let’s help and strengthen each other & think together even if we can’t meet face to face. This is the time to cooperate together. Hotels that are not part of a chain or brand can get together to do joint programs such as multi hotel stays at same rate in different destinations.

I put together 10 points for Hotel Management mostly in the Sales & marketing sphere that suggest other than slashing rates, how to minimizing the losses and act for the future. Everyone including Sales & Marketing team members are doing the best they can and should be kept in companies even if it means working from home. I truly believe that there will be a surge of much creativity from all of us. Wishing us a recovery and restart soon and much future success!

Really…So much work to do!

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1)     Communicate with your guests, clients, team, suppliers , partners and Owners. . During times of crisis we should not go into a bunker to weather the storm but instead be in constant conversation with all . Transparency & honesty is the best way to maintain relationships for the day after. Share letters, weekly newsletters ,Blogs updates email explaining that we are all together and the Hotel or Restaurant or Travel company is doing its best to follow all regulations required. Start a series podcasts, interviews video clips

2)     We should continue marketing but with completely different messaging . Try offering promotions that are relevant to the situation. Hotels that are isolated, resorts, in nature/country have an advantage to offer potential guests a green /fresh air option. Offer walking trials – maps recyclable water bottle and more. Take advantage and bring in revenues wherever possible. For those urban hotels, if regulations permit, offer locals /stay home goers promotions , romantic packages , added value such as upgrades, free breakfast , free parking , free transfer that avoid public transportation, BUT.. do it on attractive rates. Its not the time to dilute rate or dump rates but its also not the time to maintain same rates. Positioning is important but cash flow is king!

3)     This is the time to market gist certificates/vouchers for future use . Be creative and offer paying goodies such as museum entrances, bicycle rentals. Be flexible wit validity date . Offer them also to suppliers, family & friends f all employees.

4)     Very important to be super flexible with cancellation fees. Offer flexible rates as much as possible even if its for spring /summer months.

5)     Time to reorganize Data bases – excels full of potential clients/guests/travel agencies/corporate accounts / Time to get a good CRM or update the one you have . I have written before a lot about planning Tech driven Marketing actions for personilization media campaigns. Do the planning and implementation only when its back to normal.

6)     For MICE Hotels, take reservations, even if discounted ,on flexible terms for near and far future. Same for groups. This will be your base – you don’t want to regret refusing business during a crisis.

7)     Have your team and content writers write articles with creative themes such as promotions involving the Arts, Music, Photography, Fashion, Culinary, Green/Sustainability, Nature driven programs. Have these articles ready to be published the “day after”.

8)     Prepare all collateral and promotional materials that are done behind the scenes. Not the time to spend monies on frontal Branding or Image media activity but do prepare updated digital brochures and most important update your BLOGS, SOCIAL NETWORK PAGES & WEBSITE!

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9)     TIME TO RENOVATE Do Product improvements. Those hotels that are nearly empty can take advantage of face lifting or just maintenance projects as long as regulations permit teams working together. For many its a great time to at least have the time for the planning stages, concept building, budgets, choosing an architect, designer, mood boards, mock room and so much more. Worry about the cash flow and implementation later . At least you will be all ready to move and increase REVPAR and GOPAR with an improved product ahead of others. 

10) Do good in your community, not for PR, but for good reasons: such as setting up a system of delivery to those in isolation and sending packages to those working in Labs, Hospitals, senior homes and emergency organizations

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Be Good & Healthy!

Ronit Copeland

Copeland Hospitality

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