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.