What you should definitely change now and why content is now even more "King"?
At the moment, two things are publicly debated: First of all, there is the notion that the economic damage caused by the extensive protective measures cannot be accepted much longer. Even the leading virologists agree with this. They are also the ones at the centre of the second discussion, which is about developing scenarios for the period after the shutdown. In the midst of this it seems clear that there will be no quick return to normality.
On the contrary, everything looks more like a gradual easing of restrictions. The virologists also assume that borders will remain closed for the time being to prevent the arrival of sick people from other countries. The most important thing, however, is the announcement by Kekulé, as well as Germany's most featured virologist Christian Drosten and their colleagues that social distancing and security precautions will remain in place for months to come. The wearing of breathing masks should then become the norm for everyone, as should intensive hygiene labelling and the avoidance of large crowds.
What does this mean for hotels?
For hoteliers, of course, all of this means that people will spend most of their holidays domestically. But it also means that overnight guests will be sensitised to the risk of infection at their holiday destination for a long time to come. In case of doubt, they will rather book the hotel that credibly informs them that it complies with certain safety standards. In this regard two questions arise:
1. What do I have to change in my hotel to meet the increased security needs of my guests?
2. How can I communicate the measures I have taken to my guests?
To answer the first question, we would like to suggest starting points to deal with in the next days and weeks. This list is certainly not exhaustive and open to additional suggestions, which we would be happy to share here. The answer to the second question revolves around the keyword content marketing. Here, too, you will find some possible starting points below.
Starting points for new security standards according to Corona
Waiver of cash payments: Transition to contactless payment procedures
Adaptation of check-in & check-out processes: Reduction of human contact e.g. via vending machines. The advantage here is that there is also the possibility of saving time for employees and guests
Conversion of the reception area: Installation of acrylic glass panels analogous to supermarket checkouts and the addition of disinfectants in the entrance area
Reduce contact points: Automatic doors, toilet flushes and taps, use of disposable towels etc.
Provision of disinfectants: Contactless disinfectant dispensers should be available throughout the hotel at regular intervals.
Increased cleaning: Specially assigned employees should disinfect door handles, elevators, couches, handrails, changing rooms, etc. several times a day.
Expansion of care products in the bathrooms: E.g. disinfectants and face masks
Increased digitalization of rooms: mid to long term, consideration should be given to voice control of TV, lighting etc. in the rooms.
Complete changeover to room cards: It is important that these can be cleaned easily. We know from some of our customers that especially the classic keys are very popular with many guests, e.g. because of their individuality. Especially decorated keys made of a sensitive material may be more difficult to clean.
No buffets: Transition to menus and a la carte service
Greater distance between the tables: Keep a distance of 1.5 m. The positive side effect for the guests is more privacy.
Greater focus on open-air gastronomy: Put the focus on health, because fresh air is good for everyone.
Adjustment of cleaning: for example, cleaning the tables with a micro-steamer
Conferences & Events:
Adaptation of the break snacks: E.g. serving of cake pieces on individual plates
Change of seating arrangements: More distance
Change of product: Focus on smaller groups, external events, days in the countryside
Equipment of the employees:
For all measures always remember that it not only protects your guests, but also your employees and they are your most valuable asset, especially in the service sector.
Communicate, communicate, communicate - content is now even more "King"
Remember again: If in doubt, guests will rather book the hotel that credibly informs them that it complies with certain safety standards. This is where the topic of "content marketing" comes into play. With his 1996 statement "Content is King!" Bill Gates pointed out how important content is for the internet. Today there is more truth to it than ever. Basically, content means everything that is shared on the Internet in terms of substance and value, i.e. any text, image, audio and video data.
Content marketing, in turn, is a marketing approach that aims to address and convince users with high-quality content instead of clumsy advertising. And this is exactly what is currently important. In order not to miss the crucial moment, you should start to create helpful and interesting content for your existing and future guests now. This way, you can put a special focus on all the protective measures you have taken and how you care for the health of your guests and employees. So create blog posts, video messages or image series that you can share through your social channels, hotel website and newsletter. These can be subjected to any of the above-mentioned starting points for new security standards according to Corona. Creativity is limitless, as long as authenticity is maintained.
The list of possibilities is also endless, but here are a few suggestions:
Message from the director on the topic of security measures
Video series, which shows in short units what measures you are currently working on
Show a foto on how you realign the terrace tables at a distance of 1.5 m from each other using a measuring tape.
Capture your anticipation of the time after Corona in a picture.
Record all the things you introduce to protect your guests and staff.
Create picture collages or picture series.
Blog post (combined with images) that gives a look behind the scenes and shows how you prepare for the time after Corona.
Hardly any other sector is as heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis as the hotel industry. Contact bans and curfews keep hotels, restaurants, spas and conference centres closed. Nobody knows exactly how long this situation will continue which increases the uncertainty furthermore. However now is not the time to despair; the past teaches us that every crisis is also an opportunity for the industry. With 9/11 and SARS 2003 and the "Great Recession", hoteliers can draw on two externally caused events within the last 20 years which really took a toll on tourism and travel. Those crises were also mastered, and astute hoteliers came out of them stronger than before. Why should it be any different this time?
Author:Philipp Ingenillem - Online Birds Hotel Marketing Solutions