Hotel and tour operator initiatives will have to be put in place in the coming weeks and months.
Nothing will ever be the same again, said Emmanuel Macron in his last televised speech... Yes undoubtedly... because of the magnitude and consequences (some still unknown) both economic and social. Even societal.
In addition to "mandatory" business travel (local corporate clients), the hotel industry's consumption experience will have to change, if only for obvious health reasons.
The biggest unknown being International Tourism. Between the euphoria of a newfound freedom of movement, the need to escape more than ever, and the fear of risky travel, what will be the attitudes of its international customers, and how will the world of tourism evolve in the broadest sense.
A clever one who can project the trends.
Optimize 360, SEO Agency specialized in the world of Tourism and Hotels, gives you here some elements of studies, and prospective as well as the first very operational action plans adopted or recommended by "big and small" of this world.
Hotel and tourism studies necessarily already wrong?
The only thing we know for sure about a forecast is that it must already be wrong at the time it is produced...
Even if behavioural prediction studies are already in place (cf. Api & You Agency analysis on post containment behaviours ) ( cf. still to be announced Extendam ), it is very clever to predict the consequences of political decisions that have not yet been taken (when will hotels and restaurants reopen?). Dates of reopening of international borders? )
These "panels", in order to have a forward-looking virtue and a little rigour, would have to evolve dynamically according to political decisions and concrete events outside the equation with at least this double unknown.
With a little bit of common sense, we can only assume that Local Tourism, whatever the countries of the world, and their degree of deconfinement and reopening, will be privileged for months to come to the detriment of major international travel.
However, it will be necessary to be ready for the resumption of activity whatever the dates of resumption.
However, there are initiatives that already seem to make sense and are necessary, from international chains to local independent hotels.
The hotel initiatives of the "Grands" and international chains
For once, the Accor Group seems to be a forerunner in terms of anticipating health and quality standards for the reinsurance of its clients.
It is conceivable that the major international chains are all in the process of implementing fairly similar action plans or, failing that, will follow in the footsteps of the Accor group.
We cannot see a single chain losing interest in this context of drastic health safety measures and social distancing within establishments likely to receive tourists and a travelling public.
And beyond the payment facilities and postponements of stays already proposed, it is difficult to see what other levers of action they could be led to put in place, since they are themselves unable to foresee unpredictable travel to date.
All these studies have once again, the only virtue of the "wet finger" since we know nothing about possible epidemic aftershocks, and no treatment to date (vaccine in mind) has been unanimously approved.
In terms of short-term hotel initiatives, taking preventive health measures, offering a flexible commercial policy, and trying to keep the link and commercial contact seems to be the only three levers on which to act.
Hotel initiatives that can be taken by both large and small hotels.
Taking news and giving news: the only audible message today
As COVID-19 spreads around the world, all your hotel guests need is for hoteliers to continue to reassure, take and give news informing their guests of the health and trade measures being implemented.
Everyone is trying to make sense of what they are going through, and over the next few months, we will all need to be prepared to exchange and hear from each other regularly, and indeed to already... reassure.
A good combination of messaging tools, social networks, and hotel CRMs offer the three of them a solution to stay in touch and inform about current action plans.
Bringing back good memories, playing on positive emotions
While isolating yourself in your own home, it is comforting to hear about the people and places you know and love.
For example, using messaging tools and social networks to communicate regularly with customers can help them escape for a few moments, comfort them and help them think about the future.
After all, the very foundation of hospitality is to make people feel good, to please them and to share.
Some 5-star and Palaces hotels have begun to do this through their Instagram accounts, republishing, reposting "Best of" images of their guests' past stays.
Some even set up contests to publish the best memories.
In short, they try to keep the emotional bond with their loyal customers, and try to get them back into their "community" of fans and followers.
Giving meaning to the customer relationship in a disinterested (or almost disinterested) way.
This crisis is an opportunity to show their regular customers that they care about them, whether they spend money or not in the short term.
It makes complete sense to communicate now and take advantage of the fact that staff have more time to write messages of support, humour and encouragement to their clients.
Also give news of the team members, tell how everyone is doing during this period of containment, and how everyone is preparing in his or her own way for the end of the crisis.
Giving confidence in the future
Without going as far as the measures undertaken by the major international groups for independent customers, announcing what hygiene measures will be taken to ensure their protection when they return is undoubtedly a "Must Have".
Hospitality adds an invaluable and valued human dimension in these days of "social distancing" that is worth more than the simple management of expenses.
Putting one's values at the forefront today by establishing a reassuring and caring editorial line can only be beneficial and positive.
Without it, once the containment is over, it won't be enough to get customers back to your home.
A permanent presence in mind and a permanent voice will undoubtedly be a guarantee of loyalty, and even of gaining market share vs. those who would not.
Entertain, amuse... Why not...
This is one of the angles that Club Med has taken by sending its loyal customers newsletters of games and entertainment for their clients' children.
For an independent hotel, taking news, giving news, and why not entertaining people, with humorous photos, anecdotes, photos or mini video of the hotel can be very useful for keeping in touch.
Which communication channels should be used?
There are many technological tools that can provide the opportunity to personalize communication and make clients feel recognized during this period of inactivity.
CRMs such as Experience Hotel have fully understood this need to stay in touch and offer personalized message templates to be sent to different customer segments.
By communicating with them now, in a totally disinterested (or almost disinterested) way, it is precisely the opportunity to personalize this customer relationship a little more.
Social networks, of course, are also an excellent way to stay in touch within the limits of organic Reach, since advertising and promotional budgets at half-mast do not allow for over-investment in times of budget cuts.
In terms of hotel initiatives, reassuring, keeping in touch and social contact, allowing price flexibility, these are measures that everyone, big or small, has (almost) the duty to implement, for lack of better.