The last year has been the toughest one for the hospitality industry, but things are looking up gradually, as vaccine rollouts are in full swing. 2021 will be the year of revival, and you can expect bookings to pick sooner rather than later. But the focus shouldn’t only be on revival. Rather you must aspire to get your business on the growth route. It is vital to have long-term growth and sustainability plans in place because the pandemic will be around for the foreseeable future.
Although the new strains of the coronavirus are causing surges in cases, everything isn’t lost. People are open to the idea of traveling with the right precautions. Thankfully, hoteliers have a host of opportunities to get things back on track and push the business ahead. Let us share some actionable strategies that you can embrace to push start your hospitality business in 2021.
Flexibility in policies and procedures
The pandemic has made life unpredictable, and you cannot be sure about the next moment. When people plan trips, they will want the flexibility of last-minute cancellations without losing their money. If you want them to consider your hotel for accommodation, steer clear of rigid cancellation policies and non-refundable bookings. Expect your guests to cancel anytime because of the growing numbers of cases, and let them do it without hassles. It will make them happy with the experience, and they will probably rebook when things get better. Apart from flexibility in policies, ensure that you have adaptable procedures and operations. Being agile and embracing regulations quickly is the key to keeping your business afloat.
Go the extra mile with cleanliness and hygiene
As people are learning to live with the pandemic, they realize that compromising cleanliness and hygiene can elevate the risk factor. They want to follow the guidelines at home, while traveling, and at the lodging. If you want your hotel to thrive in the post-pandemic world, you have to go the extra mile with cleanliness and hygiene. It may mean updating your standard operating procedures, hiring additional cleaning staff, or investing in sustainable cleaning technologies. Although it sounds like a lot of work, taking these measures can set your hotel for long-term success in the new normal. While you do everything to ramp up cleanliness and hygiene, let the customers be aware of these initiatives. You can display the information on your website or drop personal emails to potential guests..
Offer contactless experiences from the start to end
The future of the hospitality industry is contactless. Hotels have to align to stay in the race and match the guest expectations. Avoiding contact is a habit for people now, and it is here to stay. They expect everything to happen without contact, from exchanging cash to entering check-in details, sharing elevators, and touching surfaces. Investing in smart hotel automation is the best bet for any business that wants to reach growth targets in 2021 and ahead. It may be a considerable investment, but the results will come down the years even when the pandemic is over.
Focus on local customers
Your hotel may have a massive international fan following prior to the pandemic, but you cannot expect them to come back any time soon. Travel restrictions and a general fear of the virus have cut international travel to a minimum. The only way to stay afloat and grow amid the current circumstances is by prioritizing local customers from nearby destinations. Realigning your marketing strategy is the best place to start because you will have to target a different audience now. Work on facilities that are likely to appeal to the locals, such as gyms, saunas, and food delivery. Cafes and hotels can even offer co-working spaces with facilities such as Wi-Fi for remote work and social distancing to keep the business flowing.
Gear up for solo travelers
Social distancing has fueled solo travel, while people are looking forward to spending time alone in the post-pandemic era. You can expect an uptick in bookings by solo travelers, so gear up for providing them the best experiences. Consider converting suites into single accommodations and revamping interiors designs to evoke a sense of homeliness. Fewer barriers between staff and guests are the mainstay of excellent experiences for solo travelers. Even as you cultivate an informal atmosphere, ensure that the virus-safety guidelines are followed at all times.
Get personalized with marketing and communication
While personalization with marketing and communication were already around in the industry, you will have to go a notch higher in 2021. The competition is massive right now, and you need to impress potential guests enough to have them coming. Following customer data is the key as you need to know their demographics, past preferences, and buying habits to stay a step ahead of their expectations. Tailor your offers and promotions accordingly and communicate them through personalized emails. Apart from bringing personalization to the messaging, focus on making them more empathic and human. People are yearning for genuine connections these days, and businesses that provide them are likely to win the game.
The pandemic has taught many lessons to the human race and sustainability is one of them. Right now, sustainable tourism is making it big, and providers who follow an eco-friendly approach can capitalize on this trend. Going eco-friendly isn’t as complicated as it sounds because small steps can make a big difference. Consider avoiding plastics, reducing food waste, and eliminating unnecessary paper consumption. Now that most hotels have embraced automation, much wastage is curbed, and paper-based processes are also minimal. You can go the extra mile by reducing energy consumption with smart appliances, choosing organic toiletries, and switching to ethically produced bed sheets and towels.
New-age hospitality will be different, but the objective will still be to go all out with the guest experiences you deliver. A few changes in your processes and policies can get your hotel the success it deserves. Moreover, they can also drive customer loyalty in the long run, which matters even more than booming revenues.
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