While it is common knowledge that demand has dried up in recent weeks, it is perhaps surprising to see that there is still a large amount of traffic landing on hotel websites. From data across Hotelchamp’s customers, we see that transactions (yellow line) have dropped to 8% of where they were on March 10, but sessions (green line) are doing 4.1x better at 33% of their March 10 numbers.
Visitors are still researching, learning, and exploring for the future, although they are not making concrete plans as they did before. Now is an ideal time to collect email addresses of these interested visitors, so that you can retarget them when they are ready to travel. Hotelchamp’s Email Capture technology allows you to target visitors at key points in their journey with prompts to join your mailing list. We have created 3 base templates for driving email sign-ups, these can be found in our Template Library under the “Crisis Campaigns” filter, or by searching “email capture”.
Given this opportunity to capture email addresses, many hotels have asked for some inspiration for their email campaigns. We have put together 5 email tactics that can be used as part of your COVID-19 recovery strategy.
Without a doubt, the most important long-term goal of building newsletter subscribers today is to be able to target interested travellers when things improve. This quieter period is a perfect time to draft an offer strategy. Some offers that we have seen include:
- Seasonal offers e.g. Easter sales
- Short-term offers valid for limited periods of time e.g. flash sales
- Long stay offers e.g. packages for 4 nights, 7 nights, or even "quarantine specials" of 2 weeks to a month
- Packaged value-add offers, e.g. complimentary parking, bike hire included, breakfast
2. Your destination
Travellers view your website for a reason - because they want to visit your destination. The lockdown has meant many of the things that make cities exciting are closed or cancelled: museums, shops, bars, restaurants, galleries, tours, and cultural events. Your newsletter is an ideal way to let your visitors know when life returns to your destination; when museums open and restrictions are lifted. Looking ahead, many countries are planning to gradually ease restrictions as their outbreak subsides - with countries once at the epicentre of the pandemic such as China, Italy, and Spain now leading the way. The eventual piece by piece easing of restrictions is a great signal that it is safe to travel again, and so incorporate the passing of these key milestones in communications.
3. Inspire your guests
Hotels are filled with unique talents and creativity - make use of these in new ways. For example, Parc Hotels in Italy have shared a video from their Pastry Chef Salvatore, teaching their guests how to bake a chocolate crumb cake filled with ricotta cheese and black chocolate flakes(!)
We’ve seen some brilliant examples of ‘quarantini’ cocktail recipes from bartenders, activities for kids, online yoga classes (pictured below), and other lively lock-down activities.
At Hotelchamp, we have heard some remarkable stories from our customer’s history: royal weddings, the first hydraulic lifts in a hotel, and former guests from General Napoleon Bonaparte to Pablo Picasso. We’ve encountered hotels housed in former banks, jails, schools, castles, docks, navy ships, abstract cube houses, and admiralty manors. We’ve also heard of unique features from cigar rooms to rooftop gardens, and experiences such as chanting with monks, swimming with whale sharks, and open-air beach cinema. Hotels have a unique story to share and guests will miss this in their brief time on your website.
5. Tips for the new wave of travel
Travel surveys conducted in China show that people are looking to travel in a different way than before, with more of a focus on nature, relaxation, and safety.
The key features of your hotel can be repositioned to appeal to this new traveller mindset. For example, a Michelin starred restaurant can now be a Michelin starred room service, apartments a ‘home away from home’, and parking spaces a way to avoid trains and planes.
Equally, different types of hotels can leverage their unique advantages. Countryside properties can be a destination for an escape to the country. Hotels that are near a river or park can draft up running or cycling routes. City hotels can create special walking and cycling tours that pass interesting architecture, landmarks, and historic sites, with a hotel packed-lunch or picnic prepared for these adventures. Hotels with a large garden can create a special treasure hunt to keep kids occupied. Lakeside properties can look at private (row) boat hire experiences. Beachside properties can highlight secluded beaches and natural beauty spots away from the crowds. The way people travel will change in the short to medium term, so the hotels that can creatively adapt to the emerging consumer tastes will do the best.
We hope these tactics have stimulated some ideas on how you can use collected emails to drive revenue when demand begins to return. If you're not a customer yet, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, otherwise, visit the platform to have your own email capture campaign set up.