My mom always says to me that this generation is cash-rich and time-poor. Well, how things have changed in the last few weeks! We are now all-time rich, whether you are working a shorter week or business demands have decreased, your new normal means you have more time to focus on all of those jobs that you just never had time to get around to before.
With endless blogs and content from all sectors of the travel and tourism industry, it can be hard to try and figure out what exactly it is you need to be doing right now. Unfortunately, no one has a timeline for this and when it will end. So the best option is to focus on evergreen digital activity that will benefit your business now and in the future.
We have put together a list of digital activities that you can focus on to ensure your site (shop window) is future-proofed.
While Paid Campaigns on pause, you are relying on your organic rankings to deliver.
With most paid campaigns paused, hotels are relying on their organic content to appear in the SERPs. Your content will only rank well if it’s rich, well written and relevant. It’s time to revisit the top 5 – 10 landing pages on your website. There is no doubt the travel industry is going to look very different over the coming months. People will want certainty on a number of levels, they will look for flexible cancellation policies, and language that will reassure them that your property is 100% compliant in terms of hygiene standards, which may mean being a bit more vocal about the hygiene guidelines you adhere to.
When reviewing your landings pages:
- Make sure you have a minimum of 300 words on your pages.
- Ensure that content is well structured and easy to consume, for example, if it’s a hotel special offer, detail your special offer, and use headings like, ‘How to find X hotel’, ‘Things to do when you stay at X’, ‘Top 5 reasons to stay at X hotel’. Don’t forget to add your CTA to the top and bottom of the page. This makes the content easy to digest and easy to scan through – particularly on mobile.
- Review your content style and the tone of the language on your homepage. Remember people will be cautious when making travel plans and will want reassurance. Your brand needs to reflect this.
- A message from your GM and team can work really well on your site with a dedicated ‘team’ page. This will help give your brand an identity that people can relate to.
Plan ahead with your content
Now, more than ever, people are consuming a huge amount of content. The statistics have shown on numerous sites that people are not booking right now, rather they are looking, researching, and planning on what they will do when they can travel again.
Our own survey over the last 2 weeks has shown the following results when looking at a group of 775 participants.
Intent to travel abroad decreased in the past week by just under 1 point. Those actively looking to book now has fallen from just over 1% to just below the minimum at just 0.81%.
14% have advised they are sticking with plans previously booked, up from 12% the previous week, Another indicator the income guarantee has given the public confidence to travel in 2020.
Previously booked and now cancelled has flipped with those cancelling last week moving to the no intent to travel abroad in 2020. This ties in with our own data showing we have hit the peak of cancelled bookings in the past 2 weeks.
You need to be looking at creating all the content that you never got around to creating. The key thing to remember here is that recovery across the board will be within the domestic markets first. Start with the key landing pages and work back from December to Summer. If your content is relevant and rich it will not be hard to ensure you have your 300+ words. Imagery is also key here, ensure you use good quality high res images that are relevant to the content. Once this is complete ensure your pages are fully optimised. You can do this yourself or send it on to your digital agency.
Here are a few ideas for landing pages you need to create or revisit. Christmas Party Nights | Christmas Breaks | Christmas Shopping Breaks | New Year’s Eve | New Year’s Breaks | Black Friday | Halloween Breaks | Midterm Family Breaks | Bank Holiday Breaks| Summer Breaks
Digital Assets & Ad Copy – Review your messaging, imagery, style and tone of your brand
You probably already have a good bank of digital assets that were (pre-COVID-19) perfectly relevant, but in light of our new normal, it is definitely time to review your imagery for all of your market segments. Key tweaks you could make are around the tone and language of your brand, highlighting flexible cancellation policies and any year-round adds on you have to offer i.e. ‘kids eat free’, ‘kids clubs’, ‘stay longer for less’. You should also consider looking at adding hygiene logos you have, like your hygiene awards/certifications. Think about the generic messaging that your brand will be using for the next few months pre and post-recovery. You can also revisit some of your ad copy; the messaging you use in your display campaigns will carry over to your paid campaigns. The key message people will want when looking to book is reassurance that you are open for business and you offer flexible cancellation policies.
Social Media – Stay Connected – Front of Mind Brand Awareness
Social media is such a powerful tool and you can harness the effectiveness of this by keeping your audience engaged. You are not trying to do a hard sell, and many of you are already doing things like, i.e. sharing recipes from the Chef, Fitness Videos from the GYM team, home facial recipes from the Spa team etc. Potential guests will also appreciate the effort that your team has gone to, to share this content with them, and it also keeps your brand front of mind and relevant. As we start to emerge from this, feel-good videos with sections of the hotel being deep cleaned and ready for re-opening, the gardens being done etc will help reassure people that you are ready to welcome them back.
Direct Marketing Activity – Engage with your audience, communicate your plans and give them the option to rebook.
If you have a good database ensure you are communicating with your audience. Email all guests who cancelled and offer them an option to rebook or purchase a gift voucher instead. If you are selling discounted vouchers, let them know! Give them a few ideas, cheer someone up who has lost their job or is just feeling lonely. It’s the thought that counts. It may just prompt someone to purchase a voucher to do just that…cheer up a friend, colleague or front line worker.
Keep in touch with your digital agency, they will be sending lots of updates and trends as they emerge. Keep them in the loop with any new pages you have created or just jump on a call with them to brainstorm some content ideas you have that you want some feedback on. Ensure they are optimising all of that new content you are creating.
Hotel Digital Academy
In an effort to give back to the industry and to help Hospitality Individuals to upskill, Avvio has launched a Hotel Digital Academy. The Academy will cover an introduction to digital marketing tailored specifically to the Hospitality Industry, through self-learning modules and a range of webinars and guides supported by the Avvio Digital team.