Best Practices for Messaging Your Hotel’s Reopening During COVID-19


When people are ready to travel again they are going to return to brands and hotels they trust. The question is, how can your hotel instill trust in loyal guests and new guests in a post-COVID-19 world? The answer is consistent communication and thoughtful messaging. Your team has been working hard to develop a plan for reopening that follows local guidelines to maintain guest and employee safety. You should share this information and messaging across different channels to help re-establish trust with your customers. This trust will make them feel secure in booking at your hotel to drive the revenue your business needs to thrive. Here is a breakdown of our recommendations for great communication and messaging by channel.

Hotel Reopening Messaging Best Practices By Channel:

Hotel Website Messaging

Your hotel’s website is your online storefront and the place where guests and potential guests go to get official information from your business. Make sure you keep this information up to date and accurate. Here are some best practices and ideas to follow:

1. Create a post-COVID-19 reopening website landing page specifically developed to communicate your hotel’s new policies, procedures, and FAQs around how it’s complying with regional requirements to keep guests safe.

2. Install a post-COVID-19 website ribbon at the top of the homepage that links to the landing page. We recommend using messaging in the banner geared towards cleanliness and peace of mind vs. using the words COVID-19 update. 

3. Include updates with specific information about the current status of your hotel’s amenities such as the pool, restaurants, and spas. Include any new procedures and what guests can expect when interacting with your hotel’s amenities during their upcoming visit. For example:

  1. Lounge chairs at the pool will be 8-ft apart. 
  2. We’ve removed ½ of our tables at the restaurant to comply with social distancing regulations. 

4. Do not hide any pages devoted to business entities at your property that might be temporarily closed. This could negatively impact your performance in the search engines and confuse customers rather than inform them. Instead, place text at the top of the page with a status update on the specific amenity. 

5. Avoid pop-ups as Google has stated these can negatively impact SEO and provides a poor user experience, especially on mobile devices. If a visitor closes the pop-up it also makes it difficult to find the information again.

6. Add an email sign up right below any “We’re Temporarily Closed” messaging so visitors interested in your hotel can stay informed and connected with your property. This ensures you can maintain communication and encourage future stays through email marketing campaigns.

Hotel Booking Engine Messaging Updates

Keep messaging around new policies visible within the booking engine flow to make people feel secure. Include messaging around flexible reservation cancelations or changes and include details on how you are keeping them safe to increase conversion rates.

eCRM & Email Messaging for COVID-19 reopening

Ensure all of your email and eCRM communication include messaging around COVID-19 related policies, procedures, and links to learn more from your hotel’s COVID-19 specific landing page. Help the guest understand what to expect upon arrival at your property.

Hotel Social Media Communication

Your loyal hotel customers, as well as aspirational ones, are following you on social media. Make sure you are utilizing this channel to keep them informed on your hotel’s reopening or current status and any changes to policies and procedures. This is also a great place to keep your hotel’s fans updated on what’s happening locally that may encourage them to consider traveling to your area soon.

Paid Media

If your hotel hasn’t relaunched paid media, you should strongly consider jumping back in if you are able to find the funds. Check out our last blog post for a list of very convincing reasons why. Not sure what approach to take with your hotel’s reopening messaging? Here are a few examples:

  • Hotel Paid Media COVID-19 Messaging Examples:
    • Book today with peace of mind. 
    • Our spacious grounds are the perfect escape. 
    • Book a Risk-Free Vacation with our Flexible Cancellation Policies
    • Plan your worry-free escape and book today. 
    • We’ve made changes to make sure our guests stay safe. 
    • Book today with worry-free planning. 
    • Cancel for any reason. 
    • Escape to the mountains where fresh air and blue skies await.
    • Escape a world of worries. We’ve got your beach chair ready. 
    • Celebrate with a staycation and experience local attractions like never before. 
    • COVID Services Update – Learn More
    • Questions? See up-to-date COVID Information >>
    • A Deep Clean and Peace of Mind for All of our Guests
    • New Standard of Clean 

You can find an expanded list of ideas for themes to drive your hotel’s messaging during a crisis here

Your hotel’s direct booking channels are going to be the key to communicating with your guests and making them feel secure in planning their next stay at your hotel. Keep them informed and make them feel secure in order to have the most positive impact on your hotel’s website conversion rate to drive more bookings.

Planning for the Rebound | COVID-19


After an absolutely crazy couple of weeks, our dear friends at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa shared this picture with us:

It was so refreshing to see this positive message that reminds us that the current coronavirus pandemic is not going to last forever. The entire world will bounce back. We just have to hang on, be kind and support one another while we get through this. Also, start to put our thinking caps on as to how best to be ready for the inevitable rebound of the travel industry. Whether your property is closed or remains open, there’s no better time than today to start thinking about how to adjust your hotel’s digital marketing strategy.

Here are the top 11 digital marketing tactics you should do to get your hotel ready for the rebound and get ahead of the competition:

  1. Be ready with drive market and staycation messaging. Think about it, how long will it be before you’re ready to get on a plane? 
  2. Geo-target your hotel’s digital marketing campaigns to focus on the drive market. Don’t spend money or effort reaching your fly-markets for a few more months. If they still want to come, they will find you. Right now, we need to penetrate the local market who can hop in their car and drive to your hotel.
  3. With the increase of people driving in cars, consider including free parking in a staycation package if you have that ability at your hotel.
  4. If you’ve followed some of our previous hotel marketing recommendations during coronavirus, you are most likely spending a minimal amount of ad dollars on paid search focusing on your brand terms. As we start to see specific markets rebounding, we will be adding keywords related to your specific neighborhood (i.e. Back Bay Boston Hotel) to your hotel’s paid search campaigns.
  5. Social media advertising is a great way to reach a geo-targeted audience for your hotel. Get creative and think about fun things that are specific to your property that can correlate to people desperately looking for a leisure getaway.
  6. Expand your hotel’s campaign retargeting list window - typically we set these to 30 days, but since people will be researching for months while they aren’t quite ready to book it is a great opportunity to reach a larger audience that is still interested in your property. Test increasing this to 90 days.
  7. Keep your Google My Business and other local directory listings updated as you change the hours and days that your hotel is open. This is the first place people are looking to see if a business is open.
  8.  If your hotel is in a destination where the outdoors play a part in the overall experience, find a way to creatively leverage this. After being stuck at home for so long, travelers will want to connect with nature and the fresh air if they can. 
  9. Get your hotel’s guest email database ready to reach out to your following with specific messaging. Think about the following past guest segments for your hotel:
    • Guests who had to cancel their plans and invite them back
    • Guests who live in your local drive market
    • People who had called for information between January and March did not book
    • Guests who have stayed at your property multiple times a year. They will expect you to talk to them differently since they have proven their loyalty.
  10. Continue to promote gift card purchases as a way loyal fans can help support your hotel’s business during this time.
  11. As much as you may not want to get into how you are ensuring your property is clean (because it’s always been clean), travelers are going to expect more communication around this in the future due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you don’t have information on your hotel’s website, in your pre-arrival communication and on-site, your guests may wonder if you aren’t taking this seriously.

Email Marketing is Not Dead


Yes, you read that correctly. Email is not dead, nor is it dying. In fact, it’s still hotter than ever! 
Claiming that email marketing is a thing of the past is an age-old tale that holds about as much weight as the argument that SEO is dead too (which is also not true, by the way).

If your hotel isn’t utilizing the powerful force of email, you may be missing out on a major opportunity to engage with your guests (both past and present) and help bridge the gap between one-time guests and guests who will be loyal to you for life. You don’t need us to tell you the hospitality industry is one of the most competitive markets out there, so it’s important to use your marketing dollars effectively.

Don’t Believe Us?

That’s okay, we don’t blame you. Every year there are a number of articles insisting that email marketing is dead, and every year the stats come rolling in proving them wrong. According to a recent report from Campaign Monitor, email returns $44 for every $1 spent. On top of that, 59% of digital marketers said that email continues to drive the highest ROI of any other digital channels, followed by social media at 21% and display ads at just 15%.

This all sounds pretty good, right? Think of it this way—92% of adults use email, and unlike social channels that force you to work around their algorithms, email almost guarantees eyes on your content. Not only do the majority of adults use email, but they use it more than social media. Only 74% of internet users use social media, but 89.6% of users send at least one email per month. And if you’re sending email, that means you’re also checking email regularly—sometimes 20-plus times per day!

But what about GDPR Regulations?

Yes GDPR, we remember the panic that hit the marketing world like it was yesterday, or a year ago to be more exact. The EU’s new laws were predicted to wreak havoc with digital marketers and to totally kill email marketing as we know it. Luckily, that didn’t happen (at least to the majority of us). In fact, those who were already following best practices for list management and data protection didn’t see much of a fallout at all. 60% of brands that complied with GDPR saw their email lists shrink by less than 10%, and more than likely those 10% were already inactive or unengaged users.

Although this isn’t the case for everyone, it’s important to remember that tighter regulations don’t always have to be bad. Maintaining good email practices such as regular list cleans will only help to keep the most qualified and engaged people on your active user lists, which means you can then better curate your email content to those users, thus driving more conversions.

Tell me more!

Now that we have your attention, let’s talk about a few best practices that will be extremely important to the success of your email campaigns in 2019.

Keep your content relevant through segmenting

Gone are the days of one-off batch emails to your entire subscriber list, and if this currently describes your email strategy, then this section is for you. Batch emails no longer work. Sure, they garner some click-throughs and a conversion here and there, but the one-size-fits-all strategy prevents you from truly connecting with your users and curating a relationship with your brand.

This is where segmentation comes in. You probably already have a ton of data on your users, so why not use it effectively? Segmenting doesn’t need to be complicated, either. It can be as easy as sending a summer package email to guests that stayed the previous summer, or simply targeting your local drive market with a weekend offer. The fact is that segmented campaigns get 14% more opens and nearly 60% more clicks compared to batch-style emails.

Personalization is no longer optional

Working in tandem with segmentation, personalizing your emails will help increase the likelihood of your users engaging with and trusting your brand. Personalization does require you dig in and really understand your audience, but once you do, you’ll be sure to see open rates and bookings soar. Even something as simple as a birthday email or stay-date anniversary can go a long way in creating lifetime value with your guests.

It all starts with a list

At the core of email marketing is your list of subscribers, and this is the key to unlocking successful segmentation and personalization.

How do you grow a robust list? Start with what you already have. Have you cleaned your list recently? If not, it may be clogged with inactive users that are driving your performance metrics down. A few easy ways to clean your list include stripping out users who haven’t opened an email within the past year or starting a drip campaign to re-engage your list. Narrowing down your list of hard-earned contacts might seem scary, but trust us, it’s all about quality over quantity.

Once you have a clean list, you’re ready to start growing! The first thing you should have is a clear sign-up on your website that is easy to find. This means if its hidden in your footer, not on your homepage, or takes longer than a couple seconds to find, you’re missing out on getting new subscribers with virtually no work required. Another easy way to gather emails is directly from your customers upon booking or check-in or at the bottom of a blog post.

That’s a wrap

The marketing world is ever-evolving, and our consumers now have more control over their information than ever. It’s our job as digital marketers to make sure that information is relevant, timely, and useful. Email is certainly not dead and still has the brightest future of any other digital marketing channel. Don’t get left behind by cutting this integral channel from your marketing repertoire! GCommerce has the tools and knowledge to help your hotel adapt to the new way of email marketing and build up an audience of loyal guests and travelers.

How To Boost Engagement With Your Email Marketing


If your business isn’t utilizing email marketing, you’re already missing out on one of your most lucrative segments of highly qualified and brand loyal customers. Think about it, these are guests who have stayed at your property before or opted in to hear what you have to say. However, often times businesses are faced with the daunting reality of designing, developing and launching email campaigns that have low engagement and, therefore, low returns. If email marketing is so important, then how do businesses ensure that their campaigns are engaging and effective?


All great email campaigns start with your email lists. Who are you sending your emails to? Are you segmenting your lists to personalize and target potential customers correctly? The number one rule of marketing is to know and speak to your customers, and segmenting is an effective way of making sure that the right message gets to the right customer at the right time. Asking yourself “Who are we targeting and what would interest them” before designing a campaign is a surefire way to kick off on the right foot. You can segment email lists based on many things including demographics, interests/behaviors, or even their position in the conversion funnel. The more relevant the message is to a customer, the more likely they are to engage with it. Segmenting correctly can increase open rates, click-through rates, and conversions while decreasing unsubscribes and avoiding spam filters. Below is a graphic (See: Effects of List Segmentation on Email Marketing Stats) of how list segmentation impacted global marketing stats for Mailchimp:

Related GComm case study:

Image: (Business)

Related Graphic:



Now that we’ve answered the first question: “Who are we targeting?” the follow-up is “What do they care about?” The whole point of segmenting is to get the right message to the right person, so what is the right message? Understanding your segments is key to sending the right information. For instance, are you targeting business or leisure travelers? Business travelers might be interested in conference rooms, technological capabilities, or app-based concierge services that can cut down on time while leisure travelers may be more interested in local “insider” information on your hotel’s locale or new services or amenities. Again, relevancy is key, and customers only care about what you have to say if it will directly affect their experience with your brand.

While creating great content is a starting point, make sure that whatever great content you’re creating shines through in your subject line as well. According to Hubspot, 33% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email solely based on the subject line. Keep it short, sweet, and simple while still keeping it personal by teasing what’s inside without giving it away. You can use online subject line testers that can give you performance estimates based on keywords. Utilize these services to make sure that your customers are getting what they want in your email marketing campaigns.

Related GComm Case Study:

Image: (Exploration)

Alt Image: (Local)


Instead of reiterating, possibly for the 100th time, how important mobile is in today’s digital marketing, I’m going to leave you with one statistic from Litmus: 54% of all email was opened on a mobile device as of March 2016. So how exactly do we cater to these mobile email users that make up over half of your list? The first step is to ensure that your email template is mobile responsive. Nothing is more annoying than getting an email built only for a desktop and having to zoom in and out to read and click links. Most email clients offer mobile responsive pre-built templates to make your life easier, but if you’re custom designing a template, be sure that its mobile user experience is functional and seamless. Other tips include utilizing one column layouts, limiting clutter by keeping copy simple, short and to the point, and a personal favorite: use buttons for your call-to-actions. Text links are a thing of the past, having to zoom in and tap on a single word or phrase is time-consuming and off-putting for mobile consumers, it’s also visually disconnecting. The better and more simple option is to use buttons for your primary links, and noticeably long text for your secondary links. Constant Contact reported click-through rates of up to 30% just by using a button for their primary CTA. However, buttons alone aren’t enough, be sure to stay creative when designing your call-to-actions avoiding friction phrases such as “book now” or “sign up” that can turn a reader off to clicking. (See: Most Emails Are Opened On Mobile Devices)



Email lists are one of a business’s greatest assets, providing easy access to brand loyal customers that have the potential for high return. Boosting engagement is key to email marketing success, and leveraging segmentation, great content, and mobile friendliness can help make sure that what you have to share is relevant and engaging for customers. When designing an email campaign, always be sure to ask yourself “Who am I targeting and what interests them?” to get in the right mindset for delivering the right message to the right customer, at the right time.