Ideas for Hospitality Marketing During COVID-19

Ideas for Hospitality Marketing During COVID-19

The hospitality industry took a major blow at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many hotels and restaurants had to shut down completely, and some couldn’t recover. Now, although the pandemic is waning, it still isn’t going away any time soon. 

People are still scared. Many are hesitant to travel. It’s expected that tourism spending won’t go back to normal until 2024.  

So, it should come as no surprise that marketers in the hospitality industry are doing whatever they can to bring people into their establishments. For example, some hoteliers have opted to get rapid COVID testing for businesses in Miami. These tests can be administered to staff on an ongoing basis, catching the virus before it has the chance to spread. This safety measure can then be advertised to potential guests, boosting their confidence about their safety before they book a reservation. If COVID-19 has impacted your hotel or other hospitality business, what can you do to stand out, make guests feel comfortable, and assure them that they can enjoy themselves when they choose you? 

Let’s cover a few ideas that can bring a spark to your business again, so you can start drawing in more guests as the year comes to a close. 

Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is always important in marketing. But, now it’s more crucial than ever. Consider factors like the time of year and who you want to advertise based on your current promotions. 

One easy way to segment your audience and create individualized marketing strategies for each one is to develop user personas. User personas are fictional profiles that represent groups of people within your target audience. In the hospitality industry, you might consider creating personas like: 

  • Businessman Bill
  • Single mom Sally
  • Family-of-four Frank
  • Millennial Mark

When you develop user personas, you can create advertisements that specifically speak to those “people”. For example, “Family-of-four Frank” might be interested in a family-friendly package that includes tickets to a local attraction. Or, you might bring him and his family in by talking about the ice cream sundae bar for kids in your restaurant. 

People want different things when they’re traveling. Knowing your audience and how to break them up into smaller segments can help you market your strengths to everyone. Keep in mind that there can be a fine line before creating user personas and stereotyping people. Utilizing user personas is a positive tactic when used the right way, so make sure you’re focusing on the positives, rather than any sort of personal judgment of a person’s life. 

Content is King

If you’ve been in the marketing industry longer than five minutes, you already know the importance of content.  Content marketing is just as important for hotels, especially in uncertain times. 

Not only can content marketing give your hotel more of a personality, but it will keep your audience well-informed, so they will feel more comfortable traveling and staying at your establishment. It’s an opportunity to seem less like you’re advertising and more like you’re a friend passing along information. Some content ideas for your blog or website include: 

  • Sharing what you’re doing to keep your staff and guests safe
  • Offering travel tips and advice
  • Talking about local events and activities
  • Suggesting tips and tricks people can use at home to stay safe

The more frequently you update your website with relevant content, the more people will see what you have to say and feel confident in choosing your establishment. If your marketing team isn’t all working together yet, consider using collaboration software to build better communication, share content ideas, and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what you want to post. 

Boost Your Brand Awareness

Now might be a perfect time to rebrand your hotel, or boost your existing brand as the world starts to return to normal. There has never been a better time to take a humanistic marketing approach with your brand. 

People want to feel heard. They want to feel understood. Most importantly, they want to know they are safe. When they feel like they’re connecting with a person, rather than a business, that becomes easier. 

Whether you rebrand or make changes to your existing one, be as personable as possible.  Utilize social media to engage in conversations with people. Share video content. Show what’s going on behind the scenes. These small efforts can make a big difference in the trust levels of your future guests. Plus, building a brand based on personality and human qualities is more likely to boost your word-of-mouth advertising. 

We all know that’s priceless. 

Getting out of this hospitality industry slump isn’t going to be easy until people feel more confident that the pandemic is behind us. In the meantime, however, more individuals want to get back to normal, and travel is a big part of that. 

Take advantage of this slow return to normal by marketing the right way. Ensure your guests’ safety, hone in on your target audiences, and consider if the voice your brand has used in the past is the same one you want to use in the future. By making a few small changes in your marketing strategy, you can see big changes in your bookings. 

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