The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down consumer and business travel dramatically. It’s changed our lives and there’s no doubt the hotel industry has been one of the hardest hit industries.

This has affected the way we think about our hotels and how to market for future business.

Even though travel is slow, this is not the time to go dark when it comes to your sales efforts. Building a solid marketing and content strategy now, can ultimately be your ticket to your hotel’s future success. This can be done by creating engaging, entertaining, and informative content across multiple platforms in order to maintain a strong brand image.

So, if you’re interested in how to effectively market your hotel during this slow time, here is all you need to know.

In a three part series we will discuss in detail how you can take steps that will see your hotel through the slow times to backed to booked.

Communicate with Past and Future Guests

While people are not traveling, your ultimate goal is to connect with a personal touch. Your messaging will need a nice blend of optimism and sensitivity.

Your communications won’t be what they were pre-COVID-19. You will have to first acknowledge that things have changed. Talk with your customers and see what their own unique experiences have been so far.

Phone Calls

Give all of your inquiries the white glove service. Phone calls are a great way to stay connected to your top national and local clients and it adds add a personal touch.

Written Notes

Do everything you can to make your previous guests feel special. Write hand-written notes to let them know you appreciate them and their business. Also, reach out to your high-volume clients, brand representatives, meeting planners and community leaders to gain a better understanding of their current and future needs.

Lobby Ambassador

Be a presence at your hotel. Talk to your guests in the lobby to gather information. It’s helpful to know what brings guest to travel during the pandemic. Are they local guests enjoying a staycation, or are they traveling out of necessity for work?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

Use your existing CRM Software to grow relationships and stay connected. Reaching out via email gives you the ability to create deeper relationships with previous guests, groups, and corporate clients.

Since people are more likely to stay at hotels they recognize and trust, these connections will come in handy and give hotels a huge advantage, and is therefore worth the time investment.

Connect Via the Digital World 

Writing and posting content on tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a valuable strategy most businesses use today. Most likely you already interact with this type of content on a personal level every day!

Writing strategic content in the form of blog posts, videos of your hotel, repurposing guest reviews, is known as attraction marketing. It’s highly effective and it’s what your future guests prefer!

Content writing is a long-term marketing method that is used to:

· Build brand awareness:

· Attract and retain a defined audience

· Spread knowledge to potential guests 

· Drive profitable customer interaction

Social Media Posts 

You can start by putting out content that will add value. For example, your future guests are interested in how your hotel is responding to COVID-19. Make social media your tool for connection and way to spread useful information through your hotel’s Facebook page, LinkedIn, or Twitter feed.

Here are some examples of what COVID-19 content your hotel can post to make your guests more comfortable: 

· Critical information on openings/closures 

· Traffic flow through busy areas of the hotel

· Hotel cancellation policy during COVID-19

· Frequently asked questions page built around top COVID-19 questions

Website Blog

With people sticking closer to home and finding ways to recharge without getting on a plane, they will be looking for ideas on how they can create a staycation experience in their own backyard. 

Ask yourself what your hotel has to offer in terms of location, and what outdoor activities can be enjoyed nearby. 

Head out on an afternoon and take a few pictures that will help inspire bookings based on what your city has to offer. 

Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered:

· Highlight local restaurants that deliver 

· Map out how to explore your city on foot 

· Beer hopping to local outdoor breweries (weather permitting!)

· Nearby day hikes, skiing, or bike rentals

Update Your Hotel Website Photos and Reviews

An essential part of dealing with the pandemic is showcasing how your hotel is dealing with COVID-19 cleanliness. One strategy is to show pictures on your website that show 

and tell your future guests how your hotel is sanitized and disinfected. Reassure them of how you are keeping their safety in mind. Ideas for this include: 

· Hand sanitizer stations: Show that you are dedicated to a new level of cleanliness, and make your guests feel secure by setting up stations in the common areas of the lobby. 

· Food service areas: If your hotel has changed buffet-style services, you may want to describe how you’ve switched to prepackaged foods to remove food prep, or how you’ve added sneeze or cough guards. 

· Contactless check in/out: Allowing guests that desire less face-to-face contact to check into your hotel with minimal interaction.

· Guest Rooms and Housekeeping: Define your new disinfection commitments that make for a clean, comfortable stay. 

· Share favorable guest stories. Did your guests leave a recent comment about their clean room, or how they felt safe during their stay? This is definitely something worth promoting!

Now more than ever hotels must communicate to guests and help them feel more confident at a time that’s uncertain. The hotels that succeed will be the ones that have been thoughtful, informative, and communicative. Communicating to your past and future guests and promoting your hotel’s identity can help to increase your chances of future business.