Strategies for hotel revenue managers in COVID times: brace your business upfront! Part II

May 14, 2020COVID-19, Revenue Management

While COVID-19 has brought the hospitality industry to a standstill, at YieldPlanet we believe that by providing our clients with the right advice we will win this battle together. Therefore our team of experienced and certified revenue managers has prepared a list of the tips and recommendations of what you can do to start getting ready for the market bounce back already today and outpace your competitors. Check out the first part of this anticrisis list here [LINK] and keep learning!

1. Local market.  

When the situation starts to improve, and life starts getting back to normal, movements between countries and cities still will remain difficult during some period. The domestic travel most probably will be increased in comparison to previous years. 

Check your reviews
Local people have a bigger choice, so an excellent online reputation will be your pros. Answer to your reviews – the feedback is important. Let people know about all the services you offer and keep staying in touch. 

Local people area
Review the most popular channels and forums that local people use when they are looking for plans for the weekend. Check the integration list,  to find channels local people use. Every area has its leaders. Think about how you can improve your offer for local people (packages, promotions) and try to find the best platforms to present yourself there. 

Review your competition
You can start by checking your competitors: packages, prices, promotions. Use additional value to complete your offer, give to your guests a bit more than others (welcome drink, discount for the dinner at the hotel restaurant, free parking, possible late check out etc.). To be updated with the latest news you can follow your competition at social media and see what they offer, analyse their offers and improve yours. 

2.Data 

Update your competition set
Monitoring the market situation, don´t forget to keep the list of your competition updated. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and compare all these points with your competitors.
Do some research at your engine using the name of your city, famous sights and conference stages nearby, extra service or good points you have (SPA, terrace view, central location, Eco-friendly etc.). You will find more accommodation options to compare. You can also open popular channels and travel platforms, find your hotel and check similar accommodations, recommended below. Even if you know that some of these recommendations are not your competition, take a look to know what your potential guest could be proposed to. 

Analyse the data you have before making changes
Take advantage of the reports you can find in the analytic systems you work with. Examine the data provided by the revenue management system or channel manager to understand your clients better. This will help you work with prices, rate plans and will assist you to optimize your current structure. Data analysis can prompt you unexpected solutions: additional services cost changes, differences between categories, new distribution ideas, promotion ideas etc.
Maybe it’s a good time to finally implement a proper segmentation? 

Update your event calendar
Most of the events were cancelled but some of them were rescheduled. Update the calendar and prepare the strategy in advance. 

3. Content 

Attractive pictures and descriptions
Capture attention, convey the hotel mood, give clear and complete information about the accommodation, compel a sense of confidence that this is what the guests were looking for and let them be happy with their choice. Take as an advantage the time you have now to choose truly “sweet” pictures. Correct your descriptions if needed. Try to provide only necessary information to win every second of the customer’s attention.  

Adjust the information at all OTA you are presented
Don´t be afraid to delete old pictures if you have new ones. Use different pictures for each of the different categories you have. The customer has to clearly understand the distinction. Check the information on additional services, taxes and cancellation policy. 

Give the priority to your own website
This is not only the hotel face but also the most important booking channel. In times of crisis, lower commission payments will be an absolute help in reducing hotel expenses. Verify translation into different languages, maybe you have time to add a new one, based on the historical data about your guest’s nationality. 

Extra tips:  Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What is she going to look for after the long time of social distancing? What kind of additional services will be mostly appreciated? How does she want to feel? Try to show it from the very first moment. 

4. Direct reservations 

Website conversion
Check if the booking engine is working properly. (When was the last time you tried to make a reservation at your own property?) Make sure that there are no mistakes in settings and whether the hotel information is clearly stated. Ask your account manager or website support what can be improved to increase the conversion. Check with them the rate plans and cancellation policy information, photos and descriptions of all room categories you have. Look into your promotions and special offers. Think what else you can do to make your customers finish their booking at your webpage? People don’t like to spend a lot of time reading conditions choosing the appropriate option. Help them with their choice, make it user-friendly, simple and logical. 

Digital marketing
While under the quarantine your marketing budgets might have been cut, the activity of people on social media has increased. Activity on social media doesn’t cost money if you already have some visual content and a good idea. Think about an attractive promotion with flexible conditions. No need to lower the price too much, but you can include more extra benefits, making your offer more interesting and complete.
Inform your followers about the measures taken due to Covid19 (increased attention to cleaning, taking care of the guests and hotel staff healthy etc.). Actively answer questions the guests might ask. Keep your answers polite and positive to maintain good vibes. 

Dealing with cancellations
Try to win back those who have cancelled their bookings recently. Reach out to them and offer them a special rate for the long term stay date – you already got their interest and you can still use it. It can be a direct email for the guest who made a direct reservation or, if still there is a possibility, you can send an email through the OTA chart.
Depending on the additional services you have, you can offer a discount for dinner in the hotel restaurant or free breakfast, a discount for accommodation or a free massage in the SPA.  

Customer base
Reaching out to your guests email base is almost free of charge. Write your loyal customers a personal email. They will appreciate your attention and caring. Inform about new packages and promotions you create. Give the special bonus or an extra discount for the first couple of months. 

We have a special Price Optimizer Revenue Management System helping program where we offer 3 months for free. Learn more here.

You might also be interested in reading:
Strategies for hotel revenue managers in COVID times: brace your business upfront! Part I
Rate management in the peak season with YieldPlanet’s Channel Manager
Price management: the key when selecting hotel technology

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