The hospitality industry has suffered a hefty blow because of the global pandemic; never has the need to attract tourists – local and international – been more urgent than it is now. What can your business do to stand out and stay afloat? We may have a few ideas for you.
With restrictions being eased in several places, the hospitality industry should be able to make somewhat of a recovery in the coming months. Because of the lockdowns, many people lost their jobs; competent workers have been unemployed till now. There are skills shortages in the hospitality and retail industries; the reopening of both presents an opportunity for some to try their hand at new opportunities.
The traditional methods of attracting tourists to establishments will now not work as well as they did before. As a hotel manager or guest relations officer, you need to think creatively to get people to your hotel. For example, if your establishment doesn’t have a casino, create a games room, provide free Wifi and allow access to sites like Unibet sports betting or the Euro 2020 streaming sites. Do something different that will attract and keep your guests entertained for the duration of their stay.
You need to change your marketing strategy to suit the current climate or risk losing your business. Let’s take a closer look at how this can be accomplished.
1. Maximise your online interactions
A lot of tourists rely on the internet to gather the information they need for their holidays. As a business, you need to take advantage of this opportunity and provide as much detail as is possible to your potential guests. Make sure to respond as promptly as possible to requests; engage the tourists using succinct visuals where possible, and make your business visible on social media.
Another way to do this would be to create hashtags for your in-house guests to use every time they mention or take pictures of/at your establishment. That way, you maximise your media presence; and you may get other visitors because of these posts. Be techno-savvy, create Google alerts so that you are aware of when your brand is mentioned and in what context. Let technology work for you.
2. Simplify your booking methods
As much as is possible, make it easy for tourists to book their stay at your establishment. If the tourists are booking directly on your website, make sure that the steps to securing the booking are few and easy to follow. A frustrated guest will not secure the booking and you will lose business.
3. Adapt to the new norm
Again, because of the global pandemic, we have had to change the way in which things are done. Sanitising stations, for example, are a mandatory offering in all establishments now. Other changes need to be made to suit the current operating environment and your establishment’s ability to adapt to these changes in an interesting and clever way will guarantee that more tourists will be attracted to your business. For example, you can make your room keys digital instead of physical to minimise touch or you may make online check-in/check-out available as another way to keep to social distancing regulations.
4. Watch your competitors
Instead of watching your competitors to keep up with them, you’re watching them to learn and fill in the gaps where they are lacking. Every business has its niche and none is perfect, therefore where your competitors lack, you may flourish. For example, if they offer only a breakfast and lunch menu, you can offer a supper menu instead. How your competitors handle their business will help make your decision clearer in trying to attract tourists to your establishment. Also, if they are getting something right, it will do you well to watch and implement what works for you but take care not to imitate and become a gimmick of their authenticity.
5. Create genuine relationships with your guests
A personal experience will guarantee that visitors will return to your establishment. Given that we are now forced to limit human interactions and social distance, getting as personal as regulations will allow is especially important in these times. Making the experience personal can be as simple as writing them a personal welcome letter or even a fruit basket in their room at check-in.
6. Create menus catering to different dietary needs
If you want to attract tourists from all over the world, this is your best bet. People are choosing to live healthier and outside of exercise, eating right is the easiest way to manage your health. There are a myriad of diets in existence and your being mindful of the very basic ones will set you apart from the rest. If you offer vegan food, be creative with your menu and offer enticing but uncommon food to your guests. Cater to the lactose intolerant by having more than just almond milk. Make it a point to ask at the booking stage what special dietary requirements they have and be sure to cater to these needs specifically.
Many other methods are available to attract tourists, like offering a shuttle service to take them to yoga studios or the gym if you don’t have one in-house; these are just a handful to get you started.
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