Since late February 2020, the Avvio team have been tracking – in real-time – the impact the COVID-19 Coronavirus has had on the *guest journey across hundreds of hotels throughout Europe.
The data on guest behaviour couldn’t be clearer:
- Bookings have plummeted
- Cancellations are off the charts
- Website traffic is non-existent
Understandably guest’s travel plans will continue to be hugely disrupted over the coming weeks and months. We are working hard to support not only our existing hotel customers through an exceptionally trying time, but also the wider hospitality industry. The most critical and timely issue we are attempting to tackle is ‘how can hotels ‘keep the lights on’ and continue bringing revenue into their business?’
Encouraging bookings – direct or otherwise – is not, we believe, an effective strategy over the short-term. Indeed any bookings that are made now are also far more likely to be cancelled so hotels should be more wary of these transactions.
Consequently, many hotels feel helpless and unsure of how to engage with guests, but now is not the time to fall silent on guest communications. Rather now is the time for hoteliers to be innovative in their approach.
We encourage all hoteliers to implement the ‘Guest Retention Voucher’ strategy.
We have unveiled new e-commerce functionality aimed at supporting hoteliers in recouping potential losses from booking cancellations by incentivising guests who want to cancel a booking to purchase a voucher, at a discounted rate, for a returning visit in the future. We are strongly advising all hoteliers to consider positioning this incentive to their cancelled guests.
This functionality will also be available for hotels that don’t currently use our services. The guest retention voucher can be set up quickly, using either your existing Paypal account or Avvio’s booking engine.
We believe the benefits of this strategy are across the following 3 areas:
- Improve P&L outlook by getting guests to spend money with you today
- Ensure guests come back to you when their travel resumes
- Costs can be offset by non-redemption: businesses know that not all sold vouchers are redeemed and this might be a factor in determining what discount hotels can offer guests who purchase during this period
We are encouraging hotels to contact their cancelled guests by email** and offer them an open-ended voucher which can be purchased at an incentivised discount. This innovative and flexible approach is important as it entices visitors back and more critically, keeps essential revenue within hotel businesses.
For more information visit: https://www.avvio.com/guest-retention-vouchers/ or email email@example.com
**Hotels websites have fallen quiet for now, so email marketing is a better channel for communicating with past and cancelled guests.