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The Time is now

I'm ashamed to say that I was inspired to write this when I listened to Friday Night Comedy, where Tim Sutton sang a song which I can paraphrase too...

  • Before the Coronavirus - I am to busy to do anything. When I get more time, I'm going to do all of these important things I've been putting off.
  • During the Coronavirus - When this is all over, I get back to my life and achieve all the important things I've been putting off.

It made me think about all the things that I could be doing now. As and when we get back to normality, everyone is going to be working like crazy to pull back business.

Here are my top things that hoteliers should be doing right now to get ready.

  1. Review your processes and procedures for converting customers. Follow your process all the way through, from the first time you engage with the customer on the website, to how you contact them after, and all the points in between. Make sure you include Checking, in/out, Housekeeping, Meetings, Restaurant and Spa if you have. We have found that the highest conversion rate from OTA to direct and gaining a loyal booker, isn't from the website, its from the front desk interaction. For example, does your process include scripts or guidelines that the front desk can use? Is your process fast and efficient? What are the friction points?
  2. Website and booking engine - Take a good hard look at your website. Is your content up to date, does it work on mobile and the desktop? Have you optimised your pages, so different channels are optimised for the most effective content for the device? For example, customers who book on mobile are 50% more likely book for the same day stay, looking for maps, phone numbers or food and beverage information. If you are looking to replace your website and booking engine, now is the perfect time to do so. It's not often you are going to have the luxury to research, design and build content for your ideal website.
  3. Analytics, Audits and personalisation. Is your analytics providing the data you need to run your business, indeed are you measuring the right things anyway. Time to take a long hard look at what it is you want to happen in your hotel, and then measure the heck out of it. That way, you will ensure that this will be a focus point. When was the last time you honestly had the luxury to sit down and really look at your past data? Even more importantly, the last few months are going to skew everything in the future. How will you mitigate that? Finally, personalisation has never been more critical. Even at a country basis, different countries are going to have specific needs coming out of recovery. Do you have the ability to customise the message, content and strategy for each country when the time comes?
  4. Bottlenecks and efficiencies. What are the bottlenecks that stop your business from running efficiently, or for new ideas to come to fruition? One of my clients just recently told me that their company strength was their agility to respond to the market. Still, they were unable to implement a relevant new product for a year because their billing system was unable to categorise it correctly.
  5. Self-education. What a perfect time to get yourself up to speed with the latest technologies and update to products you already have. There are lots of free courses such as https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy as well as come fantastic paid courses like linked-in learning and https://www.linkedin.com/learning/me udemy https://www.udemy.com/
  6. Marketing Calendar. We may not know the time of recovery, but I think even the most pessimistic of us expect a recovery to happen. The question is, do we have a detailed strategy in place and the tactical campaigns in place for when it does. There's not going to be the time for us to think about things as we ramp up for the big push, but we do have that luxury now.

I would love to hear from anyone who has some recommendation for courses they have taken or ideas on what we should be focussed on yet. Add your comments below or drop me a line at john@mediaconcepts.com

Keep well and keep safe.