The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly affected the world in so many ways, causing businesses everywhere to adapt to an unprecedented crisis. The last few months have been very uncertain for people all over the world, with every country implementing social distancing rules to flatten the curve and reduce the number of infections.
Every industry has been impacted in some manner, including the hospitality industry. In fact, it has been one of the sectors which has suffered the most. Many hoteliers and restaruanteurs have wondered what to do about their marketing, do they pause it, carry on, spend less, spend more?
After all, this isn’t a situation anyone has ever faced before. A pandemic of this magnitude may not have been something they considered when they wrote their crisis management plan. Many may not have even had such a plan.
But the question remains, what should they do about marketing during a pandemic like coronavirus?
Take a Measured Approach
Essentially, what we mean is don’t panic. The world is indeed a scary place right now. Things are uncertain and we don’t know when life will return to normal, or if it even will in a traditional sense. Lots of people and business owners are feeling this way and it’s natural.
What you need to do is to remain composed and assess your options. What represents a sensible path forward? There are still things you can do to keep your business thriving in the long run as far as marketing is concerned.
What You Can Do with Your Marketing Budget
Budgeting is a tricky one at this time. Should you cut your marketing budget or keep it the same as it was?
It all depends on what you can afford at the moment. If you can justify keeping your marketing budget where it is then do so. Although you should examine how your budget is spent. Conduct an internal audit of expenditure.
Does your hotel spend a large portion of its budget marketing a facility or service that cannot be used at the moment? If so then consider what else you can do. Rather than cutting your budget, it may be possible to reallocate the funds.
Focus on Digital Marketing
Your conference facilities may not be the most exciting thing to post about on social media right now, but what about your other facilities? Remember your audience, what do your customers come to you for? You may be a hotel that is valued for its location.
Your peaceful location plus your spa facilities may be what tempts customers to visit you regularly. Of course, they cannot at this time, but showing them what they have to look forward to when social distancing is relaxed can be powerful.
Many people will be looking forward to when restrictions are lifted, and they will be looking for some catharsis. Showing them this content now will plant the seeds to ensure they consider you when the time comes. And it will put you in a better position than those who choose to pause their marketing completely. Maintaining your social media, SEO and blogging efforts represent the bare minimum needed to remain relevant in your customer’s eyes.
Work on Your Website
Now is the time to pay more attention to your website, take advantage of the downtime your hotel may have to audit this too. Make it look more appealing with fresh content and beautiful pictures. Reassess your SEO strategy and see where improvements can be made.
Is there vital information that needs to be added or a special message you’d like your customers to read? Now is the time to make these changes, and when you can; prepare for your big re-launch. At this point, nobody knows when it will be. But be ready, how will you stand out?
Localize Your Marketing Efforts
With lots of travel bans likely to still be in effect for some time, your focus should be on domestic bookings.
If you run any PPC campaigns, then you should focus them on the people that are in your country. Focusing your marketing efforts on the people close to you will be the best use of your budget.
Reassure Your Customers of Safety Measures
You need to let people know the measures you are taking to ensure their safety. Let them know you are following the expert and Government guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. Many hotel groups are introducing new initiatives focused on health and safety and marketing them heavily to ensure customer confidence. Could you offer something similar?
The aim of this is so that when customers are finally able to make bookings, they will categorically understand that your hotel is the best and safest place to be. Customer priorities and expectations have changed, try to cater for this through your digital marketing channels.
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