Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Inns Reopening: Entice the Clients Again

As of March 1, 2021, 50% of global online searches related to travel are between 0 and 21 days in advance and 15% are related to travel between 30 and 60 days from the search date. While it is not clear when the restrictions on international travel will be lifted, travelers seem to be looking for ways to spend the vacation close to their home. What is important, however, is that they want to travel and that hotels are about to reopen.

Based on this data, Expedia Group has developed a series of recommendations to prepare for the revitalization of tourism after a long period of uncertainty in the hotel industry. Here are five recommendations for hotel reopening:

Offer flexibility

To build confidence in travelers and provide financial security, accommodations should clearly communicate flexibility policies across all channels, from websites and promotional campaigns to notifications to travelers before and during their stay. This may include offering full refunds and cancellations, or flexibility with reservations and date changes.

  • A report found that 53% of travelers are more comfortable traveling with hotels offering full cancellations and refunds, especially Gen Z travelers and Millennials.
  • Data shows that travelers searched for refundable reservations 10% more often in 2020 than the previous year.
  • Almost 70% of the room rates are now refunded.

Calm down travelers

The study also showed that hotel health and disinfection protocols should be emphasized to guests. After the pandemic, travelers will look for accommodations that represent safety.

Highlighting information on disinfection and cleaning measures in all rooms and facilities will help reassure travelers planning to travel in the short term or after the pandemic has ended, as health concerns are likely to have long-term effects.

  • 50% of travelers avoid using chain-branded hotels, boutique properties and resorts during the pandemic because of concerns about cleaning protocols.
  • 80% of travelers, regardless of age, say that measures to combat the pandemic influence their decisions about accommodation.
  • 83% of all travelers and 90% of the so-called Silent Generation (born between 1930 and 1948) consider it important that the accommodations offer a thorough cleaning and have regular disinfection protocols, while 76% of the travelers want access to a checklist that describes what has been disinfected.

Limited capacity and social distancing measures, especially in hotel chains and resorts, can help reassure more than 30% of travelers who avoided this type of accommodation during the pandemic, considering the large number of people congregate in these rooms. Implementing and communicating health and safety measures is a must for hotels to reopen. This information should be easily accessible for guests, whether they are seeking information or security.

Reviews are important

Online reviews have enabled travelers to make informed decisions, but are expected to be even more important in future travel planning. According to a study published in 2020, almost 75% of all travelers rummage through reviews before making a reservation and consider opinions about “room cleanliness” and the “general condition of the hotel” to be the most influential.

  • 80% of travelers believe that these ratings are more likely to apply if hotels do not give negative reviews.
  • In the future, 41% more travelers will use updated reviews than before the pandemic. Interest in all online reviews (published before and after the pandemic) will also increase by 15%.

Accommodations should encourage guests to post comments. Business owners should address both positive and negative guest reviews, ideally within 24 hours of posting, to show guests that feedback and suggestions for improvement are important.


Stand out from the competition

Increasingly, travelers will check hotel websites (14% more), online travel agencies (24% more) and advertisements (16% more) to plan trips after the pandemic. With this in mind, visual and written information on these channels will be more relevant and influential in the future.

As the demand for travel increases, accommodations need to implement multi-channel marketing strategies to ensure that the company is at the fore in the search or booking process of potential guests, and they need to study the marketing tools to achieve this.

Online marketing solutions can ensure that properties appear at the top of search results. Through the use of personalized text and images, information that is currently relevant to travelers can be displayed.

Focus on the right travel profile

The reasons and preferences for travel vary based on age and sometimes geographic location. Accommodation must design specific offers and promotions that attract different generations. There were a variety of reasons for traveling during the pandemic, although the main ones were a change of scenery, visiting family and friends, or a business. However, last minute trips are still particularly popular, especially with younger travelers, and this is likely to be a trend in the future.

Additionally, younger generations are expected to bring hotel demand to pre-pandemic levels Properties need to take into account the value of short-term marketing strategies and design other types of offers and messages with longer durations, but aimed at other generations.

  • 20% of Millennials who traveled during the pandemic did so to take advantage of specials and promotions.
  • 15% of Generation Z travelers took trips to work or study in a new place during the pandemic.

To reach out to the younger generations, accommodations should highlight specials and discounts or special offers related to stays for remote work or study, while family packages may be more attractive to the quiet generation. Generation X and baby boomers are more interested in outdoor environments and landscapes, so visually dazzling images should be the focus of campaigns targeting these travelers.

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