SUMMER TRAVELERS ARE COMING BACK BUT NOT WITHOUT QUESTIONS
Nothing can keep travelers from enjoying the summer season and making memories. While original plans may have changed, the desire to escape and recharge is stronger than ever.
As communities reopen and people begin to travel, hotels are seeing demand rise across the leisure segment, and road trips are breathing new life and flexibility into domestic travel.
A survey conducted by Morning Consult, commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), found that 44% of Americans are planning overnight vacation or leisure travel between now and the end of 2020. Of these expectant travelers, 59% plan to take their first overnight trip by hotel stay.
While summer travelers are coming back, they have questions and are asking them across all platforms. How can hotels answer their questions quickly, consistently, and with confidence while gaining a competitive edge in the market? Stay Social and Stay Engaged!
Social media is the most effective platform for connecting directly with future guests, and it's the first place they will look. Right now, leisure travelers are looking for destinations and hotels where they can escape to relax and have fun with family and loved ones yet feel confident about what is being done to secure their safety. Providing a glance about what's happening in a hotel is critical.
Share your story on Facebook, Instagram, and all your social media pages
- Reassure guests about your safety and cleanliness practices, instilling trust, and stimulating confidence.
- Set the scenario for hotel check-in/check-out and what engaging with your staff looks like.
- Communicate any changes with your F&B, swimming pool, and all your amenities.
- Inform guests about popular, local attractions, keeping them informed and motivated.
- Use confidence-building images of both travelers and team members experiencing your hotel.
- Leverage user-generated content, both photos + videos, to show credibility of how guests are enjoying your hotel in the 'new reality.'
Answer all your Direct Messages (DMs) in all Channels 24/7
- Monitor and respond to your DMs with exceptional care during the current environment.
- Future guests are sending DMs to all channels, and they want a fast response. Be sure to answer their questions on Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all your social pages. If you don't have an Instagram page, create one. It increases your brand's visibility and provides a terrific platform for sharing your visuals.
- Demonstrate your heart of hospitality by showing care and compassion in your responses.
Staying active in the conversation of online reviews is vital, even if your volume is low. With demand returning, travelers are researching hotel options based on experiences of previous guests at your property. Reviews and your responses to them will make all the difference in their decision.
- Monitor your online reviews and surveys 24/7 – it's the first step to responding and ensures guest feedback is never missed.
- Respond to 100% of your reviews, proving to travelers that you hear them and you are actively engaged in their feedback.
- Ensure you respond on all sites - TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, and all OTAs, plus leverage Expedia In-House Alerts for service recovery.
- Remember - brand loyal guests will trust reviews and responses on your brand's website, so even if your brand has relaxed requirements, responding is important.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Travel is returning. Guests will be staying at hotels. They care about safety first. They want to know what their experience will look like at your hotel. Encourage these summer travelers to stay with you and secure a competitive edge in your market.
Start now by showcasing your story on social media, answering travelers' questions, and responding to guest reviews.
If your hotel is operating with limited staffing leaving no time to stay social and stay engaged, save labor costs by partnering with a company that will take care of you while you take care of your guests.
It's more important than ever to be proactive and engaged with your guests while the industry we love shows signs of recovery, and we all learn to navigate this new normal during and post COVID-19.
Chief Innovation Officer
Created by hoteliers for hoteliers, iResponze offers tailor-made digital solutions specifically for hotels and resorts to strengthen their online presence and support revenue growth. These solutions include responding to guest reviews and surveys, creating and managing social media posts, and replying to direct messages.