It’s been 4 months that you have been furloughed from your hotels. You have attended Zoom calls, watched webinars on the state of the industry and attempted to keep in touch with your team and clients; but today is different: you have received the call from HR to return to your position. Although you are excited to get back to work, the landscape has changed, and your hotel is most likely not operating the way it had been prior to COVID-19.
You will need to approach your job and position as if it is a new role with a new hotel. As a leader within the organization and a protector of the brand and marketing communications, together with operations, you will need to drive the guest journey and update your story and narrative. Communication will be key to re-opening your hotel. The message needs to be consistent among the staff and communicated to your guests.
Here are 4 essential steps during the re-opening process
Step 1- Identify all sales and marketing channels as well as the expenses associated with each.
Conduct a complete audit of all recurring expenses tied to sales, revenue, marketing and technology systems. Determine what was paused, deferred or terminated.
Review sales staffing by market segmentation and determine which markets will impact occupancy in the short term.
Review marketing distribution channels and determine messaging for website, social media, business listings and all digital media.
Update RFP profiles and FAQ’s for corporate, group business, FIT and OTA accounts.
Step 2- Meet with finance and determine a start-up budget. Based on the hotel’s financial situation you may need to layer your initiatives and build your budget methodically.
Collaborate with your revenue team and forecast occupancy and revenue weekly, monthly and 90 days.
Allocate monies to market segments that will build occupancy. Determine a 3-month and 6-month expense budget.
Utilize Business Intelligence tools to monitor demand and penetration of your competition.
Focus on the hyper local and drive market with geo targeted ads and initiatives.
Redeploy staff and restructure sales actions and KPI’s to reflect the new market mix.
Step 3- Acknowledge the new environment, identify trends, and respond accordingly.
SWOT Analysis- Which hotels are open? What restaurants are operating? What amenities have they added or taken away?
Analyze and develop rate strategies unique to each market segment.
Re-evaluate and optimize distribution mix.
Remain flexible and pivot based on changing demand.
Step 4- Communication and storytelling
Let your clients know your opening date. You have a new story to tell. Be sure to include the hotel’s new health and safety measures.
Create new packages and promotions. These should be available on all channels and promoted through digital media including all social media sites.
Create and send e-mail blasts to your database. Highlight changes and new protocols.
Update transactional emails with new check-in and hotel policies.
Create niche email blasts for travel agents, meeting planners and/or specific market segments.
A picture is worth 1000 words. Photograph all the new protocols that you have in place. Update your social sites and engage your followers.
Meet with operations staff and determine key on-brand phrases to assist them with guest questions. Focus on the guest experience.
Eventually, #travelindustry will return to broader markets and will resemble a time pre-COVID-19, but until then, remain diligent with sales and marketing in a phased approach. Evaluate your current business and local markets and focus efforts on your hotel’s database and your loyal clientele.
We understand these times are difficult, and that’s why Nightingale Hospitality
is here to help. Our #taskforce of expert leaders is here to help you through the challenges of the new “COVID Conscious” hospitality industry. For more information on our services, visit www.nightingalehospitality.com