You cannot influence border restrictions, flight cancellations or the corporate travel bans due to the Coronavirus outbreak. But you can tweak your strategy to make up for the lost revenue.
90,000+ cases and rising. More than 3,000 deaths. COVID-19 is predictably heading towards pandemic levels.
The travel industry is certainly feeling this pinch as all bigwigs, from Facebook, Google and Microsoft to L’Oreal and Nestle, all suspending travel – some even for a month. Cancellation fees are being waived and some OTAs are waiving off transaction commission and service fees in some instances.
The threat to hospitality businesses is very real. We’ve listed a few strategies that could help you cope with this lost revenue.
Revisit your numbers and targets
Go back to the drawing board, dig into your revenue and distribution management platforms’ insights to re-forecast your sales. Then introduce pricing control based on this new information, informing key decisions such as staffing, operation and cash flow. An automated forecasting and dynamic-pricing solution can help to integrate hotel operations and back-office management with your sales and marketing and revenue management teams.
Maintain channel communication
Don’t stop your channel promotions and sales. Travel may be low, but it’s not completely out of the window. It is important to keep going to get sales and maintain brand presence.
Look closer to home
As international travel restrictions take a stronghold, look homewards for revenue opportunity. Target domestic travellers, even locals with promos they can’t miss. If you are located in the city, tempt locals with a “Weekend in the City” offer. Add value where you can rather than discount price to beef up revenue. For instance, offer free laundry services as you probably have that going everyday anyways.
Work your local contacts
You’re not alone in this; the whole industry is suffering. Partner with local tourism organisations, travel agencies and attractions to create combo packages that influences the demand positively.
Be vocal about your health & hygiene practices
Now more than ever before people are conscious about the environment they are in. Is it hygienic? Is it safe? Has a hotel followed industry standards in its health and safety practices? Are staff informed about how to deal with the virus and ensure they work towards preventing its spread? Beef up hygiene messaging – remind guests and staff to wash hands regularly and to self-isolate if unwell.
Be prepared for recovery and keep your eyes on the future
They made be down, but the high-volume and high-spending Chinese travellers are not out. Maintain your brand presence through key channels – distribution and marketing – with the view to convert them later. When travel re-opens, especially for China, the FIT segment will probably be the first out – keep them on your radar.
There may be changes in the way people travel and what they expect as an experience, especially when it comes to health. Keep your ears to the ground on these trends and be prepared for the shift.
Reassess your product proposition
Think beyond your business as usual hotel operations and evaluate if there are any additions you could make in the short or long term that could add to your revenue. This will enable you to copy with such crisis better in the future.
Have you noticed a drop in bookings since the outbreak? What are you doing about it? Share your tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.