A new report by hotel & travel marketing consultancy 80 DAYS contains a wealth of useful insights for hoteliers aiming to bounce back from this toughest of years. We took a look and found 10 marketing ideas to try today…
It’s been pretty brutal, 2020, hasn’t it? But hoteliers are, by nature, a resourceful breed – always on the lookout for fresh ideas to fill their rooms and restaurants.
Luxury travel marketing consultancy 80 DAYS has been generating research-led ideas and insights throughout the year, including publishing a series of reports and white papers.
It’s latest, Understanding Traveller Intent, is based on a survey of some 3,000 hotel guests, giving unique insights into how people feel about travel and hospitality in 2020/21.
You can download the full report, for free, here. In the meantime, we’ve picked out 10 highlights, in the shape of things that hoteliers can try – right now – to drive bookings and stays:
1. Focus on your domestic market
More than half (59%) of survey respondents said they’d only travel in their own country in 2020/21. This is your core market for the time being – make sure you have a voice and presence in it.
2. Cleanliness is absolutely essential
No fewer than 96% of respondents put “Cleanliness and hygiene measures” among their top four most important factors in choosing a hotel. It’s a figure that speaks for itself.
3. Provide reassurance to nervous travelers
If you are proud of the work you’ve done to ensure safe and hygienic stays, make sure customers know about it. Almost half (48%) of those surveyed said they “Feel more nervous than usual about travel, but would still travel”.
4. The leisure market will continue to dominate
We may all be sick of Zoom calls, but the survey suggests that business travel, while recovering, will still be outshone by leisure stays. Some 90% of those surveyed said they will be more likely to travel for leisure, but just 2% said this for business travel. Could you put together new offers and packages focused specifically on the leisure traveler?
5. Target offers towards the ‘sweet spot’ on stay lengths
Just 1% of the surveyed travelers prefer a one-night stay, suggesting that hotel-hopping is out of fashion just now. It was short (2-3 nights or weekends) and medium (3 nights to a week) stays that are in vogue, accruing 35% and 40% responses respectively. Offers and bundles covering these stay lengths have the best chance of paying off.
6. Push your spa (if you have one)
In terms of Google search behaviors, ‘spa breaks’ searches appear to be exceeding pre-COVID levels and are one of the most popular searched ‘break’ terms at present. For hotels with spas it could be time to make the facility even more prominent in your marketing.
7. Promote your flexibility
One of the toughest challenges ushered in by the OTAs has been the increase in customer expectations for free amend/free cancellation bookings. In an era of constantly changing government COVID responses, this has taken on even more importance. With flexible (i.e. easy cancellable) terms cited as very important by 84% or respondents, hoteliers have little choice but to play this game.
8. Give guests a reason to book direct
The OTAs tend to hog the headlines in hospitality, but in this survey 50% of travelers said they would book directly on a hotel website, with just 22% preferring to book via a third party. There were also 26% ‘undecideds’ who could be swayed to opt for the direct approach.
9. Ensure you have clear offers for couples and families
And make sure you share these through your channels, including social media. Some 54% of those surveyed said they would travel with their partner, along with 51% saying they would travel as a family. Just 20%, by contrast, said they’d book a “friends trip”.
10. Stay positive!
Easy to say, we know. But the evidence suggests that there remains a massive appetite for travel. Among those surveyed, an overwhelming 99% said they wanted to travel in 2020/21. If you want to learn more about how to find and attract these post-pandemic travelers, why not check out this recent episode of our Digital Transformation Happy Hour.