The festive holidays are fast approaching and hotel guests are behaving in a way and making decisions that we haven't previously seen.
While that's not a cue to panic, it is an important reminder to review your hotel's current operations and offerings. COVID-19 is still influencing consumer behaviour, so it's crucial to understand how your guests are navigating the new normal to help you to succeed through one of the busiest seasons for hospitality.
Hospitality is beginning to bounce back following the most challenging 18 months the industry has ever faced. However, as the UK sees highest daily death toll since February, operational and marketing plans could be subject to change. Therefore, it is vital that hotel managers remain flexible and prepared for a case of the unknown.
Here are our tips for getting your hotel prepared for the festive peak.
Instil peace of mind
Health concerns will inevitably be at the top of hotel guests' minds if COVID case numbers continue to rise over winter.
While promoting seasonal offers and discounts to encourage bookings is essential, communicating health and safety procedures is also necessary to instil confidence and meet the expectations of your guests.
Provide touchless tech
Offering a complete contactless journey with a hotel-branded app will enable your guests to manage their entire stay from their own mobile devices. Mobile check-in, digital room keys, ordering room service, and access to helpful information such as hotel facilities, local dining and WiFi passwords will help to reduce human contact.
Prepare to be flexible with cancellations
You may find that guests also expect more flexibility around booking amendments and cancellations. A free cancellation policy is becoming popular with guests when deciding where to stay. If you're not flexible around last-minute cancellations, you may risk losing out to a hotel that is.
Focus on the domestic market
Most guests will be travelling to visit friends and family over the festive season, so targeting the domestic market is essential this year. However, if you're not sure how to reach local and UK-based guests, speak to our hospitality marketing experts, HopDigital, who will help you strategise and execute effective campaigns to maximise your reach and direct bookings over Christmas and beyond.
As we near the end of 2021, while there are signs of improvement, it's still clear that COVID dominates consumer behaviour, the hospitality industry is still unstable, and we continue to live through unpredictable times.
Focus on targeting the domestic traveller, communicate your COVID-19 health and safety procedures, offer your guests solutions for peace of mind, including a contactless stay, be as flexible as possible with booking amends and cancellations and assess your operations to ensure you're prepared for all scenarios that may lie ahead.
Book a demo to find out how Hop can help you to get prepared for the festive peak.