As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, the magnitude of the public health and economic crisis becomes more real every day. We don’t pretend to have all the answers to this unprecedented situation for our industry. Indeed, this is unchartered territory for all of us.
But with over 60,000 rooms on the RoomKeyPMS platform, we want to share things we are hearing from our customers and friends in the industry to help provide practical, helpful information.
How do you get occupancy when there’s not much demand out there?
Not all regions are affected the same – some hotels may find it easier to find some occupancy than others. The value proposition of staying at your hotel has changed. First and foremost, show that your hotel can be trusted as a safe place to stay – communicate your new cleaning standards and things you’re doing to ensure your staff is healthy (such as taking temperatures as some hotels are doing).
Next, ask the fundamental question about why someone would really stay with you now – then create great offers on your web site and via email to past guests in your drive market which highlight those answers.
- Urban and suburban properties – essential business travellers, locals who need more room for family staying with them, displaced college students.
- Smaller town properties – some of the same dynamics as urban and suburban hotels. Plus “staycations” for the drive market – some residents of urban areas will want to leave for smaller town settings.
- Resorts – Travellers in drive market who want to get away to “ride out” the next several weeks. Many vacation rental properties in resort areas are full because of this dynamic. Strong room offers that also bundle the value of amenities (vacation rentals cannot compete with this) can be appealing.
How do you plan for a recovery?
Data from all past recessions shows that it takes around 3 years to get back to prior RevPar levels. No one knows what this one will look like, of course. Some observations:
- Occupancy leads rate – ADR recovers slower than occupancy. Winning your share of demand versus competitive hotels will require you to show great value. This is especially true for hotels who are not part of a chain loyalty program. Instead of dramatic rate decreases, look to add as many high perceived value/lower actual cost benefits to room offers as possible (free upgrades, amenity credits, local experiences, future stay credits, etc.).
- Open all channels – it’s very important that your hotel is bookable to as many distributors as possible during recovery. Pay special attention to negotiated and consortia rates promoted in the GDS and wholesalers (aka “Bed Banks”). Build relationships with travel bloggers and social media influencers now – they can promote special offers to their followers that can be very effective.
- Past Guest Offers – your past guests are your best source of new revenue. Make them special offers through email, your website and social media. Give them exclusive deals.
What are some creative ways to generate revenue now?
- Travel vouchers – offer vouchers for great deals on future stays. This is a way to receive immediate cash and deferred revenue. Campaigns like this can also be appealing to those in your community who want to help you make it through this crisis as well as past guests who care about your hotel. If possible, make this available only through your web site, email list or other special distribution partners.
- Food Delivery – for hotels with any F+B, you can offer delivery or pick up services. While most restaurants are doing this now, perhaps your hotel can do this a bit smarter to win business. An example: reach out to 55+ adult communities in your area and offer meal delivery to their neighbourhoods at a select time every day. What’s more, you can offer a set dinner menu for every day of the week for pre-orders. Another thought: provide discounted meals and free delivery to first responders and health care workers.
We at RoomKeyPMS are your partner, and are here as a resource to help you.
In the meantime, the healthy and safety of our employees and their families is paramount during this period as we continue to provide service and support to our customers. Please be assured that our cloud-based platform is running optimally, and is unaffected by COVID-19. In addition, our teams are setup nationally, and able to run effectively in a work-from-home scenario which ensures the continuance of all projects and support with no changes to our hours of operation. Additionally, our hearts go out to all those affect by COVID-19.