You don’t need me to blog about the devastation of the hospitality industry. We all know well enough. But if you do have any doubts, I suggest a 30-second conversation with a London based hotelier – you will quickly understand. There are some positives in coastal areas and more rural, country house properties, but very few are in the position they would expect to be in during October 2020.
Throughout the full lockdown in Spring the entrepreneurial spirit shone through and there were lots of stories of kind deeds for the greater good, from housing the homeless to feeding key workers. The industry also benefitted from strong Government support. As restrictions eased over the summer, hospitality venues began to see light at the end of the tunnel. Time and money was spent on making properties clean, safe and secure to take good care of guests.
But the 10pm curfew, the shutdown of hospitality in some regions of the UK and the increase in cases has severely dented confidence, and the UK population has stopped booking and started cancelling. It is not a pretty picture.
Businesses that were entirely viable prior to COVID-19 may not be so viable today, but they will be successful again if they can just survive this bleak period. The country’s economy relies so much on hospitality and the knock-on effect of closures will be felt far and wide.
We need to continue encouraging guests back through our doors. We have launched the #SleepoverToHelpTurnover campaign and we have worked with Amadeus to recommend strategies to boost guest confidence, increase guest satisfaction, and build loyalty. You can read more from Amadeus HERE, but here are some highlights:
Understand new guest expectations Clean, disinfect and sanitise, and don’t shy away from letting guests see these processes in action. Guests are likely to be highly selective about their travel, and even short weekend getaways will be taken with a mix of excitement and fear. Ease travel-related anxieties by shouting about your new procedures before guests arrive, whilst they are with you and post visit too!
Constantly review your processes What was right before COVID or when you first re-opened may not be as relevant today. Unless you keep evolving to suit the current mood, you risk getting it wrong. And keep smiling! The ‘atmosphere’ that was taken for granted is often no longer the same, so engagement from all of the team is more important than ever.
Highlight unique experiences It’s not just Millennials who want more than simply a meal or a bed for the night. Special experiences are top of the list for most guests when leaving the safety of their homes. Make it clear what you can offer to make their trip worthwhile.
Contactless guest engagement There is so much technology available to help – not all of it costs an arm and a leg. Take a look and work out what you actually need to enhance the guest experience or to increase your income and then talk to the suppliers. Suppliers’ revenues have also been affected so will be happy to come to an agreement which works for both parties.