The hospitality industry has been one of the worst-hit by the COVD-19 pandemic. Unable to adopt the same work from home measures that have kept other industries operational over the past few months, there’s been no option but to shut shop completely.
With some light at the end of the tunnel, hospitality establishments must start taking steps towards welcoming guests back through their doors again. The following post reveals the top 5 must do’s for Airbnb hosts and property managers in preparation for a travel recovery.
Let’s Prepare for a Comeback!
Many governments have expressed plans to relax lockdown measures as a result of decreasing infection and death rates. If this goes ahead without the introduction of an effective vaccine, there may be another surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Such a scenario would force authorities to bring back certain restrictions as can be seen in some countries that lifted stay at home orders early.
As a result, Airbnb hosts and property managers must strategically prepare for any outcome. This can be done by:
- Developing an action plan to ensure that properties are set up and equipped to minimize the spread of the virus.
- Updating health and safety policies to demonstrate how you will lessen the risk of infection for guests.
- Putting contingency plans in place to keep you operational in the event that your employees or suppliers are unable to fulfill their duties when you re-open.
- Staying up to date with the latest guidelines issued by local authorities and being prepared to quickly adjust accordingly.
Adjust Your Customer Service Processes
Great hospitality has always been modeled around friendly, welcoming human interactions between hosts and their valued guests. Staff members with customer-facing roles have been trained to go the extra mile to ensure that visitors feel comfortable.
While customer service will still be just as important when travel restrictions are lifted, the way it is delivered will have to change. It will be essential to provide the level of assistance your customers need but with minimal human contact.
This means your guests may be required to verify their guest ID and check-in and checkout online or you might need to reduce the frequency of housekeeping visits during guest stays, for example. As a property manager, you will need to decide which touchpoints absolutely require face-to-face interaction and which ones can be removed because of the current circumstances.
You will need to communicate the changes with your staff to ensure they firmly understand what’s required to effectively carry out this new type of post-COVID-19 customer service.
Update Your Marketing Communications
So much has changed in the last few months. Understandably, you will probably have halted all marketing activity on your properties due to forced closure.
At this time, you will need to reintroduce your marketing in preparation for a travel recovery and potential travel incentives. However, your communications will have to be updated to accommodate the new way of life.
As such, you will need to think of creative ways to craft your messaging. Small details such as an emphasis on hygiene and the safety of your guests in any marketing campaigns you publish could be the difference between customers booking a stay at your property or your competitors’.
Revisit Your Terms & Conditions
With so much uncertainty regarding the future and whether lockdowns will either be extended or reintroduced, now is the perfect time to review your terms and conditions. Potential guests will give preference to places that clearly demonstrate the capacity to change with the times.
As a result, you might consider showing flexibility with payment terms. If your standard terms dictate full upfront payment for bookings, temporarily switching to a more installment-friendly model, for example, could enhance trust and, therefore, increase interest.
Cancellation terms are another aspect to pay attention to, as new regulations can be put in effect at any moment to disrupt your normal operations. It will also provide legal cover should any disputes arise.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on any changes to travel agent policies as well. This is because the terms of travel agents you’re affiliated with can have a trickle-down effect on your own responsibilities.
Maintain Practical Rates
At a time of heightened sensitivity, many establishments will adopt the approach of offering special rates as a gesture of recognition to the challenging times. While this might generate some interest in your property, it is important to be tactful in your decision-making.
Strategic revenue management will be critical to ensuring that you’re practical in your judgment. You will need to monitor what the competition is doing with their pricing and be flexible with your own rates to stay afloat. However, be careful not to go too low. While price affects your occupancy, health and safety will likely have an even bigger impact in unprecedented times like these.
Remember that you can also add value to your customers without slashing your prices. Instead, you can incorporate add-ons as an alternative method of incentivizing potential guests to book their stay with you. This could be a free breakfast, a spa voucher, or a ‘pay for 3 nights and stay for 4’ deal, or free luggage storage, to name a few.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses from all industries but few have been hit as hard as hospitality and similar service provider companies such as BagsAway who provide luggage storage for traveling guests. The key to survival after a travel recovery is to think objectively and make informed decisions. As such, you will need to prepare for further isolation regulations, adjust your customer service policies, update your marketing communications, revisit your current terms and conditions, and maintain practical rates.
These 5 must do’s will put you in a position to hit the ground running and maximize occupancy as the world, and hospitality industry, in particular, attempts to return to normal.
About the Author
About BagsAway BagsAway is the leading luggage storage and bag storage company, operating in 40+ cities with over 1000 locations. We partner with local shops & hotels to offer the most secure, and convenient storage.