By Lindley Cotton
As the number of people infected with Coronavirus continues to rise while the U.S. stock market continues to drop, the hospitality industry is wondering what the true impact will be in the coming weeks and months. While no one can accurately predict the total damage, we do know that hotels who rely on business from China, Japan and Korea will need to look elsewhere to make up for loss in traffic from these countries. In addition, in the last few days, some of the largest conferences in the world have been canceled due to companies shutting down international travel (and in some cases US domestic travel). The Washington Post recently stated “Booking Holdings, which owns Priceline, Booking.com and Kayak, said this week that it expects hotel room bookings to fall as much as 10 percent this quarter because of the coronavirus.”
3 Things Your Hotel Should Start Doing Today To Protect Your Revenue
1. Focus all of your hotel’s digital media efforts on domestic travel. This doesn’t mean don’t take business from international audiences if they are still looking for a hotel, but prioritize your media spend on domestic audiences who have historically performed well. In your analytics tool, look at both frequency from various geos and average purchase value. This will give you a good indication as to which domestic locations will get you your biggest bang for your buck.
2. Engage your hotel’s repeat customers with customized messaging to encourage them to come stay at your property. This isn’t a new idea and certainly is not exclusive to dealing with the Coronavirus, but will be a critical component to your hotel’s success during this time of crisis.
3. Be prepared for ADR cuts and flash sales in your hotel’s market. Whether your property frequently participates in deals or typically focuses on experiential-based packages to entice travelers to book with you, you will need to be prepared for your market to start to slash nightly rates in order to fill the void from the Asian markets. This is directly related to #2 (above) – engage your repeat customers so you don’t have to drop your rates as much just to get heads in beds.
One thing GCommerce learned during the 2008 economic downturn was that the properties who doubled down and continued to invest in their hotel’s marketing programs were the ones that made it to the other side less scathed. This is a similar moment in time – lots of uncertainty about where the economy is headed not to mention our public safety. Above all things, we behoove you to be safe, keep your people and your families safe. But as it relates to running your property and keeping revenue flowing, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal.