From the Editor: We asked Tatiana Goncharenko to write an article
She says this about herself:
“Chief Marketer and BDSM (maybe easier: a marketer with extensive practical experience), specialization: hospitality industry (hotels / restaurants / tourism).
Owner of BeeSMART Marketing Advisor.
I can do well: strategy / development of non-standard ideas, crisis solutions / audit and product creation / PR and even copywriting!
Experience - 20 years in the field of marketing and advertising, 13 of them in the HoReCa sector. Portfolio: business, resort and MICE hotels in different cities of Ukraine - the 7 Days hotel chain, the Drevny Grad park hotel, the Truskavetskurort chain, Kumpel Group restaurants, the largest hospitality festival in Ukraine HoReCa Show Lviv and even "Osvita" publishing house and the "State Security Service".
If you have any questions, then write comments under this article or even to the author's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“For 3-4 nights, most likely to Western Ukraine. And six months later, I will go abroad” or “I won’t go anywhere, I’ll work” - these are the most common thoughts about traveling after the end of quarantine.
What will influence the decision "when" and "where"?
- Quarantine end date - will affect both the size of the wallet (losing weight daily) and the season itself.
- Opening one's own and other borders - whether and where exactly they will be allowed to go.
- New offer.
And if we have practically no influence on the first two factors, then on the third one there will be competition of two levels: between destinations and with each other within the destination.
Tourist destination - a center (territory) with all kinds of amenities, facilities and services to meet the needs of tourists. That is, it is a geographical area that has certain boundaries, which can attract and satisfy the needs of a fairly wide group of tourists.
Therefore, colleagues call 2020 the year of service and communication.
Pay attention to the results of the survey, which was made by the marketing and sales director of the Premier Hotels and Resorts Valeria Sekisova.
It is already clear that if the borders are not opened in the next few months after the quarantine is lifted, then most (36%) of the people who were going abroad will travel around Ukraine. Because people will still need rest and "changes in the daily picture." Where will they go? And how will this affect the recovery of the industry?
There are two forecasts - optimistic and pessimistic, which were published by STR, on the pace of recovery and priority travel directions after the removal of quarantine.
In the first place - that type of rest which is called "deferred demand". It includes health improvement, family holidays, summer holidays, vacations.
The second place is occupied by business trips: work trips, meetings necessary for business development. They will be reduced to the most necessary, but there is also a field for competition. Prepare an offer you can't refuse. After all, the budgets of companies can be greatly reduced. Corporate group travel is not forecast until Q3-Q4 2020, with a full recovery as early as 2021.
Concerts, events and the entire event industry, which formed a large part of the market, will fall. Improvement and rest, tourism, business trips will remain. These are global forecasts. And how will it be in Ukraine?
Where will Ukrainians go?
Now there are less and less chances that the borders will be opened soon, so there will be no alternative to Ukraine for some time. Ukraine will be for Ukrainians. It is important to understand: the guest will not immediately flock en masse.
I see the following options:
- Traveling in Ukraine: sea and mountains (this includes health improvement, family trips with children, children's camps if allowed, +, respectively, Odessa and Lviv as transit or direct popular destinations).
- Business trips.
- Tourist trips for long weekends (holidays, etc.) - city breaks with a wider geography.
- Nowhere. People will work. Or they don’t have money at the time.
Will hotels in the mountains and on the sea be in demand? Yes. But it is already necessary to prepare for a difficult season.
Previous strategies and plans for 2020 can be washed down with water. Do it if you haven't already. Leave only tricks which will be relevant in the "new" season 2020-2021. Take a critical look at previous ideas, see if they really work and come up with new ones. And don't expect the same income and profits.
And one more thing: the guest will be complex and nervous, like all of us now.
The pain of a hotelier - the price
This factor will be very important for the middle class. It's just that other tools will work for the premium segment: a larger package of services for the same money, greater communication.
A guest with different requirements and standards will go to some part of the hotels. For those who are used to vacationing abroad and require the same service, the price will be less important. He will pay for quality if you are willing to refine it. Now some country hotels are already 100% full, and some of them have raised prices.
Already, tour operators are reworking package offers for more economical options: fewer days, a smaller package of services. So that even with smaller wallets, people can afford to travel, and therefore feed the entire infrastructure.
If you predict less demand, then it's time to go "to the market" again. Put up for sale to tour operators, offer anti-crisis conditions for cooperation. Offer higher commissions, more flexible terms, perks, readiness for transfers, upgrades, and other tailored solutions. And of course, the right price. This could be the start of a long collaboration. And travel agencies that live on commission will be able to provide you with groups and even cyclic arrivals.
Some travel agencies have cool bases of tourists who traveled abroad in the summer. Contact them yourself and offer an alternative in Ukraine and good conditions for cooperation. Remember, tour operators are now working for you.
Commentary by Olesya Protsenko, top manager of the hotel industry, on what is common in successful and civilized relationships. (But practice shows that this is often quite the opposite.) Review and adjust your sales strategy in this channel if yours is lame.
And most importantly, the price is now impossible to name. There will be 2 extremes - price increases and dumping. The mind and unity of the market will win.
- There is a cost, which depends on the load.
- There is a demand that forms the price.
- There is a package of services and your USP, which is not too late to finalize.
- There is your communication.
And no one has canceled the “rule of +15%” that the guest is ready to pay more if you convince them that you are better.
How to sell yourself / how will they choose?
I think that people will first of all go to the one who is trusted, who is seen in the information field, to those who have a reasonable price, which will be formed by the market and our wallets. Concentrate on:
- new product,
- personal contact with the guest.
For those involved in the hospitality industry, SPRAVA has developed a comprehensive phoenix marketing - a whole range of services you need at anti-crisis prices. Come in and we'll figure out how to help you keep your business going through the storm.
Why create a new product?
What do you need? Think about your advantages over competitors and actively advertise them. Do not only think, but invent, create them. What exactly could be better? It might be price or conditions of purchase or the best service package. It depends on your specific local market.
The main thing to remember is that the price of a hotel room is not the cost of a bed or one night. The guest buys a package of services. And the better and more adequate the request and the closer the package will be to the task of the guest, the better for ... you! The guest chooses the best offer. But better is not always cheaper.
A new product is a package of services adequate to the situation at the right price.
A competitive product is the best service package.
Your goal: to form an offer for the guest that he needs now.
Get into the head of the guest (“sleep with the consumer,” as the well-known Ukrainian marketing guru Andriy Fedoriv says) and change yourself to suit his needs. What might be relevant?
- Special offers for long stays are the price and different service packages (if you are a resort).
- Special price for ordering several rooms (family or company).
- Add the necessary household services that will ensure the convenience of living (free laundry / free long-term parking and car wash, etc.).
If you work with the “family tourist” segment, answer the question: what are you ready to offer the guest to give him the opportunity to “take a break from quarantine”? What services to add? What would a guest want? Does the site say enough about it? Are you ready to focus on the family tourist? There is still time to figure it out.
What you can do right now:
|Family segment||Wellness||Think over perks|
Loyal conditions for families with children
Holiday Inn Hotel in Kyiv accommodates children under 18 FREE OF CHARGE with their parents
Active recreation program for adults and children
What is the benefit: such a guest will come for a long time and leave money>
Include a list of wellness services
Sauna, psychologist lectures, group therapeutic walks, etc.
Children's health improvement
More animators, training, classes with psychologists. What else?
Create the most loyal conditions - transfers without penalties
Think: perhaps children's camps will become your segment? They are now expected to be in high demand. Have you ever arranged that?
Study the websites of hotels and organizers who do this. Try this model for yourself. Form a test offer and a database of potential customers (out-of-school developmental studios, sections, etc.). And go!
What are camps? With successful cooperation - arrivals several times a year with a good check and length of stay.
What is required from the hotel: the ability to accommodate from 20 to 100+ children (camps are different), security and flexibility of thinking :)
Don't know how but want to? Call me :)
Security - sanitary and financial
Sanitary safety - besides clear requirements, what else can you offer and advertise? For example:
- If you have a large territory and halls that allow you to maintain a social distance - tell us about it!
- Offer breakfast in the room (free of charge) and food delivery to the rooms as additional security.
- Consider a distance seating or restaurant schedule for the safety of guests (and actively advertise this!).
- Place disinfection stations at the entrance gates.
- Show videos on social networks about cleaning, staff, and how you follow safety rules.
Equally important is financial security. Non-refundable tariffs and fines will kill you now if there is no queue for your place.
Are you ready to talk about it?
Now is the time to update something you never had time for before. Do an audit of the site, social networks, newsletters - everything that is included in your communication strategy. Go through important communication points:
- Other OTA
- Google Maps
What do you want to be there after quarantine? Check if the information is up-to-date at all points of contact. Are there any updated terms of payment and booking? Where will you post new anti-crisis proposals?
Look at the site through the eyes of a modern guest - your guest. Check UX - is it convenient and easy for the user to find? Ask friends to book something. Will they find everything, will they understand your focus and your USP?
This must be done now, else it would be too late. The marketing team has more work to do now. You have to prepare everything now so that at the time of the start it remains only to set the price and press the "Start" button.
Who will win the great battle for the guest?
The most effective and least costly way is not to chase after a new guest, but to save the previous guest. And for this you need to communicate properly.
What can you do now?
|Base setup||Sort emails||Communicate personally with guests|
|Make an audit and add all the guests to at least a simple Excel table.||Target audiences and consider who you are most relevant to this year. Select the warmest contacts and fight for them.||The more personalization, the better. Send lovely personalized greetings to your guests on May 1st, Mother's Day, Green Holidays. Ask how are they? How are children? How is their health? Ask about vacation plans - will it be relevant? Do they need an offer from you? Tell them about your news. Sign letters personally.|
The best communication: a personal email, and for hot guests, even an occasional phone call.
For everyone in bulk: newsletter, sms, Viber, Telegram (through special mailing services). Don't forget about the hotel's social media accounts. You must communicate there right now! Greetings from the team, sincere warm emotions, photos and videos, evidence of your readiness to receive guests.
You can sell "future packages" now - for the number of days with the possibility of booking in certain periods. Even if these are purely virtual bookings, this is a good reason for communication / pre-booking.
Will people pay money for this now? Depends on price and loyalty. If you are known, you are at the top and there is a queue for you - everything is possible. If you sell "only 10 tours or special offers at a price that has never been before and never will be after" - there are also chances.
An example is a dream hotel in Kyiv called "11 Mirrors" for 111 euros at a standard price of 245 euros.
And even if these are preliminary reservations without payment and dates, but you have a base and a fixed price (2019) or a special offer "5 + 2 nights" - there is a high probability that some of the people who book will come to you.
You will get super hot contacts who to call on the day the quarantine is lifted. But do not put severe financial restrictions. Nobody wants to lose money. Especially now.
Keep track of colleagues and competitors. And unite
Locations outside the top recreation areas will need a special promo. I would like to hope for promotion at the state level. You can participate in regional promotional campaigns and associations yourself. Go where you are called, or call to unite yourself.
As a summary
Marketing is an interesting and ambitious journey from creating the right product to a genuine "thank you" from your guest and a positive main cell in P&L.
As Oscar Wilde said, “You can't change the direction of the wind. But you can always set sail to reach your goal.” If it is defined. And there are sails.
That's all you need to know about marketing strategy. Don't try to guess the price. Monitor the market, count costs and make new offers. The ones your guest will need. And that will set you apart from your competitors. Strengthen and renew communication.
Everything will be fine. And everything will be different. We are almost there.