Seven Hospitality Marketing Trends For 2021

Pandemic has driven the hospitality industry to conceptualize & frame new marketing techniques to meet new safety standards & demands

The hospitality reset

A famous quote says “Change is hardest in the beginning, messiest in the middle and best in the end”. The world was unprepared for an unprecedented pandemic and a change so huge that had long run and large effects on the majority of markets and sectors and particularly the service-oriented sectors like the hospitality industry. It has been immensely challenging for the hospitality sector to deal with different strategies implemented by the governments to contain the virus.

Strategies like rigorous lockdowns, social distancing, stay indoor orders and a tab on mobility and transport has been challenging to operate. The pandemic has driven the hospitality industry to conceptualize and frame new and improved marketing techniques. Techniques that won’t only transform their operations effectively but also meet the safety standards and demands of the consumer due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The new normal

The new normal post-Covid has brought standard shifts in the operations of the hospitality sector. The only way out is a positive shift of focus on deliverables and marketing strategies that keep human touch at negligible levels. In this article let us dive into the most effective market trends for 2021 post the pandemic.

Embracing the digital world

The Hospitality industry has always been an industry with maximum human contact but the challenge now is adapting to technologies that eradicate human touch completely or at the least. Digitization involves using the internet for payments, hotel reservations, hotel check-ins and check-outs, ordering food online, access to digital menus, updating your website regularly so that your clients are aware of any latest updates and improvisations and being accessible on social media, emails and phone calls. Digitization is the way ahead and you can go a long way with a diversified and positive approach.

Be savvy on social media!!

Social media has become one of the most effective ways to market conveniently in these tough times. The hospitality sector needs to have a solid and active presence on social media to help them market its property. Social media is not only a powerful but an excellent marketing approach to be successful in these changing times. An eye-catchy visual on Instagram, a personalized approach on Facebook and regular tweets on Twitter can do magic to your brand!! Social media will help you build an excellent brand presence at all levels.

Create a great website

A lot of hotels and restaurants so far neglected the positives of a website for their company. A great website increases your brand value and brand recall. Your website is a great marketing tool to communicate with your consumer and build a positive image. A guest will always expect an updated website with information on services, location and prices. A good website that focuses on your brand name includes appealing videos and pictures, manages your reservations, includes flexible options to pay, and lastly has accessible contact numbers and email ids. Investing time and money in an integrated website can take your brand a long way.

Build an effective SEO

An effective search engine optimization campaign aims to optimize a company’s relevant search on Google search when your customer types specific words on the google search bar. It is important to create an effective SEO strategy. The innumerable google searches in the pandemic for an attractive and comfortable staycation or Eco stay has increased by folds. This means that your brand needs to build key specific words and links to help your client reach your business online.

Use of virtual and augmented reality

The coronavirus pandemic has heightened the emerging and effective trend of virtual reality tools in the hospitality sector like virtual tours and videos for marketing your business. Virtual reality is a technology that lets your client feel and visit the travel location virtually through a computerized device. You can use different virtual reality technology like virtual tours that use real-time sounds and sensations. Your client will prefer visiting a location virtually before actually travelling rather than reading dry and boring descriptions that aren’t visually appealing. An effective virtual tour is one of the best marketing tactics post the pandemic.

Augmented reality on the other hand allows the hospitality sector to enhance its services by deploying technology to perform tasks in a real-time environment. It makes the environment appealing and interactive for the millennial age. A few examples of augmented reality in the hospitality sector are creating interactive hotel room setups with smart devices that let your client have hands-on information about the property they are in just with one click on a screen. This almost minimizes human interaction and at the same time enhances your stay experience.

Be flexible to reschedule and cancel bookings

In these tough times when the scare of the pandemic is still lurking around it takes a lot of effort and planning for families to take a vacation and move out of their homes. The least you can do as a business is being open to rescheduling dates and accommodating cancellations. Your customer should be convinced and feel safe to come back to your property which is only possible with flexibility and trust. You aren’t looking for a one-time sale of your property but repeat bookings. Make sure you respect them enough and accept changes in their bookings.

Be the business that provides value

What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? I can’t lay enough emphasis on highlighting your business through your USP. Your USP can be your location, your architecture, your excellent food, or the complimentary breakfast. Make sure your business provides value for your customers’ money and time. Focusing on value and good experiences will make an impact on your client and will attract them to your property again. Be generous and accommodating always.

Communicate hygiene standards and safety protocols

Maintaining excellent hygiene and safety protocols at your property is extremely crucial. Cleaning and sanitization of your property is a prerequisite. Make sure you restrict mass bookings and book your property keeping in mind the distancing factor. Communicate your safety and hygiene protocols through your website, social media updates and phone calls.

The Covid 19 pandemic restrictions easing out lately has been like a fresh revival of life for the hospitality segment. Restaurants and hotels have opened doors to consumers and it’s time for you to market your business aggressively to gain a stronger presence. Evolving with change is the need of the hospitality sector and bringing about this change is an opportunity and obligation to love and care for your consumer a little more. Like I earlier said change is hard in the beginning and best in the end.

The Author is Husain Khatumdi, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ekostay

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