3 B2B Hospitality Sales Practices to Adopt During COVID-19

If you don’t think COVID-19 has influenced your hotel marketing strategy, think again.

Since mid-February, when the pandemic took full effect, hotels have already lost more than $18 billion in room revenue. Nearly 9 out of every 10 hotel rooms have been empty, and the losses aren’t slowing down.

We don’t share these numbers to scare you - but rather to reveal just how seriously the pandemic has impacted both the B2C and B2B hospitality industry. Hoteliers and other hospitality workers are facing a period of revolution. Our marketing strategies and sales practices will need to change dramatically to survive the wave of COVID-19.

Wondering how to best optimize your sales strategies to make it to the other side of this virus. Pay attention: we have some predictions about the practices that hospitality companies need to adopt.

1. Understand How Hospitality Interests Will Change

 First and foremost, we predict that successful sales strategies will revolve around understanding new hospitality interests. What will people want from their tourism and travel experiences post-pandemic?

Obviously, this is a big question and one that we won’t necessarily know how to answer right away. However, there are certain signs that point us toward a shift in hospitality interests, both from consumers and other businesses.

 For instance, let’s start with something basic: a sparkling new interest in sanitation and cleanliness.

 

Image Source: USA Today

COVID-19 has led many people to care immensely about safe cleaning practices. As a result, hotels and tourism businesses around the world are advertising their sanitization processes more than ever before. From changing all linens daily to wiping down public spaces often, hotels want people to know that they take cleaning very seriously.

 As Best Western’s President and CEO David Kong says, “Most travelers will be hyper-conscious of cleanliness and they will look for hotels that have stringent cleaning protocols in place.”

We also expect hotel content marketing strategies to revolve around an emphasized customer interest in better technology.

Online communication services, streaming platforms, and strong wireless connections have gotten us through this pandemic thus far. Even post-COVID-19, we can assume that people will be accustomed to relying on tools to get them through travel and daily life.

People will want to be able to check-in via their phone, avoiding unnecessary human contact. They’ll want to find smart kiosks, room upgrades, keyless entry, and other high-tech features. Not only will these elements promote enhanced hygiene and safety, but they’ll also bring your hospitality business into the new wave of technology dependency.

As you develop your future hotel online marketing and sales strategies, consider what people will be looking for in post-pandemic travels. The more you can play on these new interests, the easier it will be for your hospitality business to survive.

2. Adopt a Growth Mindset, Not Just a Survival Mindset

The second hospitality B2B sales strategy we predict will be hugely important: your company’s mindset.

We won’t sugarcoat the situation by saying things aren’t hard right now for businesses like yours. Knowing that it could take more than a year for hotel demand to begin recovering, it’s easy to struggle with low morale. You’re likely in survival mode, simply trying to make it from week to week.

However, we can tell you that the hospitality businesses that will thrive, not just survive, are the ones already adopting growth mindsets and new hotel marketing ideas.

Image Source: Medium

Now isn’t the time to cling to your old sales strategies and hang on for the COVID-19 ride. Instead, focus on what’s to come. View the virus as a challenge that can steer you toward future prosperity. Ramp up your marketing instead of slowing down - prove to other businesses and customers that you’re adapting.

Let’s look at some ways that the big hotels are growing rather than just surviving.

Marriott Is Changing the Way People Use Their Credit Cards 

Image Source: CNBC

As hotel booking rates plummet, Marriot has looked for a new way to provide value to loyal customers. That’s why their new Marriott Bonvoy cards offer even better rewards than before on groceries.

Although the brand might not be able to serve its customers like usually, Marriott is doing its best to continue to provide services for its most loyal customers so they return with open wallets once the pandemic has come to an end.

Hyatt Is Launching a Brand New Cleaning Program

Image Source: CaribJournal

 Like many companies, including Marriott and Hilton, Hyatt recently unveiled its new “Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment.” The brand states that it understands how important safety and hygiene has become in light of the virus’s effects, and they are therefore putting the future of travelers’ safety at the forefront of their marketing and cleaning plans.

Hyatt is the first big hospitality company to announce that they plan to commit to GBAC STARTM accreditation. This is basically a program that provides accreditation based on standards of cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.

Wyndham Is Honoring Essential Workers During the Pandemic

Image Source: Loyalty360

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has launched a program called #EverydayHeroes. This provides instant, complimentary Gold membership upgrades to all essential workers who are in the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. These members receive special discounts, preferred rooms, and other benefits at all Wyndham brands.

As you brainstorm your future hotel email marketing and sales strategies, think like these brands. Adopt strategies that promote your brand’s growth, even when things are challenging.

 Now isn’t the time to sit back and see how things unfold. In order to thrive in the following years, hospitality brands need to jump on the bandwagon and prepare for a post-COVID future.

3. Prepare for a Future Influx

Now, we come to some good news in the world of luxury hotel marketing and hospitality. Many news sources, including USA Today, have openly stated that they anticipate a “travel surge” once coronavirus has died down and restrictions have been lifted.

 So, this brings us to our last sales practice for struggling hospitality businesses: prepare for an influx.

Some hotels, like Oxford Hotels and Resorts, are offering deep discounts and credits for future stays in preparation for the influx. Others are offering long-term cancellation policies to encourage people to book “worry-free” for later in 2020 or even into 2021.

Image Source: Julie Squires Twitter

These post-pandemic promotions, from free-night stays to credits and beyond, all aim to prepare for a surge in travel and help hospitality businesses recuperate some of their losses.

How is your hospitality business preparing for future surges in business? If you’re out of ideas, here are a few sales strategies that might play out well for you.

  -   Enhance your hotel SEO to appear in future travel searches more frequently

-   Optimize your B2B hotel booking system to make reservations a snap

-   Promote your hygienic and cleaning policies to please anxious travelers

-   Advertise social-distancing policies

-   Discuss contactless check-in and check-out capabilities 

-   Highlight how you provide a more personalized hospitality experience

According to Destination Analysts, a large chunk of American travelers feel that the worst of COVID-19 might soon be over. One in five of the people surveyed says they’ll book a trip as soon as the lockdowns are lifted.

So, the question is, is your business ready for this upcoming influx? Or are you still drowning in the struggles of pandemic cancellations and chaos?

In Conclusion

It can be difficult to think about hotel marketing plans when we’re in the midst of an uncertain, chaotic pandemic. However, as a hotel marketing company involved deeply in the B2B hospitality industry, we can tell you that the future success of your business relies heavily on your sales practices today.

Consider the impending changes in hospitality interests. Think about ways you can grow and how you’ll handle a future travel influx, as well as the booking challenges and lost revenue of today.

If your brand is to thrive, not just survive, adopting better sales practices today is 100 percent essential. 

Want more? Let's connect! We love to chat about B2B hospitality sales ... and so much more ;)


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