Whether you run a domestic hotel in a popular U.S. destination like the Ozarks or you’re an international hotel owner with locations in Europe, the summer of 2021 is likely to look different than any one you’ve had previously.
This is a good thing in many ways.
Travel is reopening, and many tourists say they’re ready to hit the road or the sky and check off some of those bucket list items.
There are a lot of options available to travelers, however, and that’s why you have to stand out from the competition.
The following are a few tips to get ready for summer 2021 if you operate a hotel and really to prepare you for the foreseeable post-pandemic future.
While many people have signaled that they want to return to traveling this summer and into the fall, they’re still understandably a little nervous.
While being vaccinated might make travelers feel better about the health risks of traveling, they still want flexibility because they don’t know when things could change with little to no notice.
If it’s at all possible to provide flexibility to your guests when they’re booking, do it.
That’s going to be one of those factors that can set you apart from your competitors if they’re not offering it.
Know Your Audience
There are a few main groups of travelers right now, and you should really figure out who your targeted audience is if you haven’t thought about it lately.
There are luxury travelers, and these are the people that are willing to spend more to get the experiences they dream about when they scroll Instagram.
Then, there are family travelers who care most about things that are going to make their trip more convenient with children.
Value travelers tend to want affordability paired with comfort.
There are also people who you might call researchers. These are the people who look into everything in detail before they take a trip.
Finally, there are groups of people that go to the same places time and time again, and they appreciate knowing what to expect, and also they may be budget-conscious.
You need to take a hard look at who you’re targeting so that you’re not spending your marketing money with no target.
You have to think about what groups not only want in terms of a vacation in general but also their COVID-specific concerns. For example, seniors may be more concerned still with the pandemic, even after being vaccinated.
Then, there are Millennials that may have young families, and they may just want to get out and about again, without a lot of concern for social distancing.
Now Could Be the Time to Embrace Technology
If you’re used to doing things the traditional way, and you haven’t really embraced technology in your business, now could be the time to take the leap.
For example, if you were to invest in a hotel check-in platform, you could have guests check-in without having to interact with employees.
This is good in a variety of ways. First, it might make your guests feel more secure if they’re still social distancing.
It’s also beneficial because your staff can focus on more high-value tasks, and with employee shortages across the hospitality industry, it might relieve some of that burden.
Contactless technology is really becoming a necessity in hospitality, and there’s no better time than now to start using it.
Stay Focused on Your Reviews
Every year, reviews become more important in the travel industry. Almost 75% of travelers say they read reviews before booking a hotel.
You need to keep an eye on your reviews, and you need to respond to them, even when they’re negative. Travelers are more likely to believe that reviews without a response from the hotel are true than if there is a response.
When you monitor reviews, it can also help you see where you might need to make changes to better serve guest needs.
Communicate Throughout the Guest Experience
Many people are excited to travel but also nervous and unsure about what to expect. You can help alleviate some of this anxiety by being very communicative.
You want to communicate before your guests’ stays. Let them know what your safety protocols are and how things might look different. Also, let them know how to get in touch if they have concerns.
Then, once your guests check-in, you might send them a survey to see how things are going.
Finally, when they leave, wish them a good and safe trip home, and also use this as a time to ask for reviews.