Although many businesses have remained open or are already reopened, they continue to struggle from the impact of COVID-19. One industry that has been overwhelmingly affected by this crisis is the hospitality industry. As businesses are forced to reconsider financial plans, marketers too are forced to reevaluate their communication strategies to optimise for the lowest cost with the highest impact.
So how should you assign your marketing budget if no one is actively searching and booking holidays and dining out? Not to worry – there are still plenty of opportunities for your brand to engage with your audience despite the restrictions, so they can keep you in mind for when they’re ready to visit your establishment again!
Here are 7 ways to keep your hotel or restaurant on the radar:
1. Encourage wellness
Provide useful (and shareable!) content that encourages your audience to boost their wellness and stay safe during the pandemic.
Here’s an example from Silkari Suites at Chatswood who have shared tips on doing meditation and yoga at home.
2. Offer freebies
Although restaurants and hotels took a big hit in revenue due to COVID-19, many in the industry have chosen to give back to the medical community by offering donated meals or a free stay at the hotel.
Accor Hotels found a way to do this by partnering with Sunrise.
3. Engage with your audience
Some hotels started a competition to encourage user interaction for a chance to win a free or discounted stay, others have opted for something simply fun like creating a Spotify channel.
Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel aimed to personally connect with their audience remotely and felt the best way was through music, so the team members created a Spotify channel with songs close to their heart. Members from all departments and levels contributed, “from the housekeeping team to chefs and the front office,” says General Manager Pedro Pinto.
4. Sell meals kits
Consider selling ‘almost-ready’ versions of your most-wanted dishes.
For example, Sydney restaurant CicciaBella offered “takeaway for the home” packs that allows its audience to take their culinary experience home to enjoy.
5. Share your DIY cooking videos
With nothing better to do, many people are looking for ways to pick up new skills at home, or enhance their stay-at-home experience, such as cooking up more advanced dishes.
Zagame’s House posted a video of Head Chef Michael Tse sharing simple and delicious ways to make pasta. This is also a good type of content for your brand if you’re offering almost-ready meals.
6. Post about your health and safety protocols
It’s important reassure your audience and let potential guests know about your health and safety protocols. An example is Meriton Suites’ ‘StaySafe’ program which explains how they have applied the latest government guidelines to best protect their guests and staff during and after the pandemic.
7. Know your timing
Above all, we need to be considerate and mindful that these are uncertain times, so timing and appropriateness of messaging are of the utmost importance to maintain and build a good brand reputation.
The marketing plans we had strategised for 2020 has been constantly and drastically changing throughout the course of the year, the best way to ensure your brand stays connected with its audience is to stay on top of the latest news, regulations, and apply the highest level of customer service and empathy (as you normally would!) to all levels of communication. That way, you can keep your audience entertained and inspired so that when they’re ready to travel again, your brand is the one they think of.