Although the entire travel sector has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, forward-thinking innkeepers are getting creative to make sure their properties stay top-of-mind with guests and help drive demand when the economy begins to reopen.
From offering discounts on future stays to using social media and digital marketing to keep their brands relevant with potential guests, there are actually some positive approaches being taken in response to the pandemic.
For example, the Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Colorado is taking steps to provide flexibility with current bookings and offering specials and packages for those who want to make a reservation for a future stay in 2020.
Along these lines, the Holden House B&B in Colorado Springs is offering an “Early Bird 10% Discount Book Now For Later” to assist travelers in pre-booking and planning their vacations at the property.
Innkeepers and independent hotels are also using this temporary business downtime to creatively engage with and entertain guests through social media.
For example, Deer Path Inn located in Lake Forest, Illinois, is using its Instagram feed to publish light-hearted posts, which aim to provide a respite from the stress that most people are feeling these days.
The hotel recently announced it will be holding an online auction that will grant exclusive experiences to future guests, with the money raised going to the hotel’s neighboring businesses that have also shut down entirely during COVID-19.
Taking a page from Deer Path Inn’s efforts, many other boutique hotel brands are making their properties an ideal virtual destination. Anatara Hotels & Resorts is offering a steady stream of content designed to provide a positive form of travel escapism. And, the Acqualina Resort & Spa is publishing arts and crafts videos as part of its “Bringing Acqualina to You” campaign. Any innkeeper can record and post their own videos…all it takes is a steady hand and a mobile phone.
Now is a good time to reach new and existing guests using the tools you have today, such as email and social media, and to consider offering discounts for future stays. With most Americans being quarantined at home, there is actually a captive audience longing to get away and in need of positive travel-related stories.
All things do truly pass, and so will COVID-19, hopefully at some point in the very near future. Guests are certainly looking forward to booking their post-COVID vacations, and the key is having your property be top-of-mind when they do.