What can hotels do to help their business during lockdown
On the 16th of April the UK wide COVID-19 lockdown was extended for a further three weeks. Prolonging the initial guidance which caused all hotels, bed and breakfasts, pubs with rooms and any other accommodation provider for leisure or commercial uses to close their doors.
Understandably, this places hoteliers in an even more difficult position, as unlike other hospitality offerings which have been able to adapt and shift their offerings online – hotels have few options here.
So we’ve put this guide together to help hoteliers be in the best position once all of this is over and we’re all back to business as usual:
So what can hoteliers do in this difficult time?
Make the most of the (however unwanted) downtime
‘Downtime’ is the best time to review your business as a whole. Although due to the lockdown you may not be able to access your premises there is still plenty you can spend the next three weeks sinking your teeth into. Now is a great time to update your online presence, give your website some TLC, update the room pictures and descriptions you’ve been meaning to do or think of some great packages to lure eager travellers in once the lockdown is lifted.
Think about updating your social media profiles and getting a strategy in place for once you’re back into the swing of things, plan content and think about ways you can excite new and old guests. Whilst we know that this is inevitably a low-point for the business, positives can be found when you utilise this time to get your business in the best position possible, come the busier months.
Think outside the booking box
Hospitality has been one of the hardest hit industries during this outbreak, but if it has shown us anything, it is the importance of digital. Restaurants and pubs have adapted to being takeaway or delivery only and other businesses have been able to find work arounds. However, for hotels the options are pretty limited.
To prop up your cash flow over the coming weeks consider setting up voucher schemes for everything you would normally offer, stays, meals, spa treatments etc. Get on social media and push this new way guests can support you and try to get locals to spread the news. Although these are tough times, communities are looking for ways to support each other and help their favourite businesses – so make sure you’re giving them lots of options to do so.
Make the most of the support available
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary measures to help ease the disruption for people and businesses caused by COVID-19. This includes tax relief and deferral options, help with staffing costs and cash grants up to £25,000. So, it is definitely worth looking into what you may be eligible for to help you during these difficult times.
There is also an abundance of online support in the form of webinars, podcasts and blogs which are all geared to protect and guide hoteliers through these challenging times. Put the kettle on and have a read through the information available and see what the thought leaders in hospitality are suggesting and perhaps you’ll pick up some ideas you can implement.
Be prepared for when this is all over
Be ready for the rebound! This climate will not last forever and once lockdown has been lifted and travel restrictions are relaxed there’ll be an influx of customers eager to enjoy their freedoms. Consider it a pseudo new-start and put your best hotel foot forward.
We think it’s also worth reviewing your cancellation policy and making a point of advertising it. Once the restrictions have been lifted there will undoubtedly be a period of uncertainty. So it is essential that you give guests confidence to book again. A free cancellation or a deferred stay policy in this time of uncertainty makes the world of difference to your guests and will boost their confidence when booking with you.
We've also written a Social Media Guide for Businesses During COVID-19 which you can check out here. If you have any questions or want specific guidance, feel free to get in touch.