4 Tips for Hotel Operations during COVID-19
Picture it: It’s 2008. The U.S. is in a financial crisis. Unemployment is at an all-time high. The real estate market is a bust. And people are traveling less - and spending less on hotel stays when they do.
Smart hotel owners took note. Those who survived did so by keeping their customer experience the same while controlling expenditures. They instilled a sense of pride in employees who may have been feeling uneasy and cut spending in ways that didn’t impact customers. Those who made the right choices came out on the other side still in business.
What’s more, they realized that when another crisis came, they’d be prepared.
Enter 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is now affecting almost every sector of business, including hospitality and travel.
In this case, it’s important to note what makes this crisis different from 2008. This is unprecedented and cannot be compared to the financial crisis in 2008.
The Health pandemic is causing the travel restriction which is impacting the financial state of the industry. Demand has ceased for the immediate future while the information unfolds, and governments ban restrict travel.
So how can hotels stay afloat during this crisis and come out on the other side?
Here are some things to consider:
Events started canceling and corporate travel came to an immediate halt before the travel ban was officially implemented. Sales teams immediately had to pivot to uncover opportunities for business. During a health crisis, you can try to find opportunities with Decontamination Companies. Many decontamination companies are offering cleaning services throughout the U.S. and working in accordance with the CDC and implementing the cleaning measures that the center advises. FEMA and the National Guard are also other resources that provide help in times of need that will be looking for accommodations where they are deployed.
Many hotels may be inclined to decrease prices during this time. But experts advise to be cautious about dropping prices significantly. Discounting prices may seem appropriate, but the demand is less likely to increase because of it. A more calculated approach is preferred. Instead, hotels should review their BAR Structure and ensure the hotel is 'cautiously aggressive' without undercutting the market. Also taking a look at traditional discounts may be beneficial. Is it time to discontinue discounts or increase them to groups like AAA, AARP, and government?
If hotel occupancy is low, perhaps it is time to cut the free breakfast buffet. Not only are fewer guests at the hotel, many may not be comfortable with communal dining like breakfast or happy hour. During a time when social distancing is being practiced, expenses could be better spent on increasing room service options or grab and go dining options.
Now is the time to review advertising spending. Since fewer people are searching for travel options, it may be time to decrease spending on pay-per-click advertising. Globally, on metasearch platforms such as Google Hotels, Kayak, TripAdvisor, and Trivago, cost-per-click rates for the top position have fallen around 76 percent compared with the beginning of this year, according to metasearch marketing platform Koddi. Instead, it may be time to focus on concentrated markets or frequent customers who are loyal to your brand and may be willing to book a stay because of that loyalty.
Like this post? Read 4 Tips to Fill Rooms during COVID-19.