Did this headline catch your attention? Is it merely wishful thinking or something our industry needs to be prepared for?
As baseball’s legend Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” However, this isn’t stopping some social scientists from believing that we may shortly experience something like the ‘roaring 20s’, when the 1920s experienced a social boom after a long period of war, Spanish flu and other uncertainties. As it was then, a cooped-up generation wants to go out and live their lives to the fullest.
As you may be aware, many articles about post-COVID hospitality trends have been published. But as Yogi mentioned above, it is difficult to know for a certainty what our industry short- and medium-term outlook will bring. But these we know for sure:
- Covid-19 will come to an end or at the very least be manageable
- Life and business will return to a ‘different’ normal
- There is a pent-up demand for tourism
Knowing this, how can we as an industry and more importantly for us small and medium operators, be prepared for this demand?
Industry insiders are now seeing these developing trends:
• 44% of travellers said the last holiday they took was more than a year ago.
• 77% of travellers surveyed globally reported that post vax international travel is on the cards, and 86% of them would travel domestically.
Staycations, Workcation / Flexcation, Vaxications
• 86% of travellers surveyed globally reported that post vax domestic travel is on the cards (Tripadvisor)
Staycation is not just stay at home travel, but travelling within your home country. As the statistic above shows, this is likely to continue as a trend for the near future.
Workcation and its close cousin Flexcation (mixing work and play) — Over the past year, people have been conditioned to work from home. Due to Covid-19 restrictions still in effect in many countries around the world, it is not likely to change until 2022. It comes as no surprise Google Analytics shows an explosion of searches on the term ‘Workcation’. This type of customer is tired of being cooped at home and is looking to work from a different location for a change. But they are not all about business, they want to find meaningful leisure time at their rental location.
Vaxication is a thing… Many expats and others in countries where the vaccine is not readily available, are willing to fly into other countries to get vaccinated. Typically, it means 2 weeks quarantine and up to 2 months in some jurisdictions to get the second dose and be cleared for travel.
These could be your guaranteed long-term customers.
How can You Prepare?
The above customers are typically looking for long-term stays. They are careful about researching which establishments can provide them with the following:
• Fast and reliable internet
• Ongoing hygiene protocols, social distancing etc.
• Long-term discounts
• Work desk, smart monitor/TV, in-room entertainment
• Local experience, outdoor tours & activities
• Free breakfast
• Drink/food voucher
• Upgraded room
At this point, you might be thinking, “My business barely survived Covid-19, and now I have to give away my profit and invest in new technology?”. The answer is… not necessarily.
Here is the kicker… 70% or those surveyed are willing to pay extra for properties that have their favourite amenities and services! In other words, these customers are looking for value. If all an establishment can offer is a room, this customer is likely to look for something else, no matter how cheap it is advertised.
Now is the time to look closely at your operation to see how you can meet your potential clients’ expectations. First look at the low-hanging fruits, things that may cost very little. Could you upgrade your internet/Wi-Fi? Could you get in touch with local tour operators/gyms/spas to offer package discounts? Picnic baskets are always appreciated for hikers. Could you offer upgraded rooms and discounts for long-term stays? Free parking? Free breakfast (free as in ‘bundled’ into the price at a higher rate – if you don’t have a kitchen, you could partner with a local restaurateur). Either in-room or segregated and comfortable workspaces? By looking closely at your operation, it is likely you can upgrade your value with very little cost involved.
Other things may involve some investment that you can use year to year and be a source of ongoing additional revenues. How about bicycles and scooter rental? A small café, or other amenities such as a jacuzzi, sauna, room fridge, stocked liquor cabinet etc.
Frankly, the sky is the limit, and it will likely require some creativity on your part to stand out among the crowd. As a suggestion, why not poll your current and past customers and let them provide you with suggestions as to what would entice them back to your establishment and location.
And remember, providing ‘value’ to your customer does not mean giving away your profit. 70% are willing to pay more for it!
Making Your PMS Work for You
Sirvoy makes it easy for you to manage incentives. You can easily set up discounts for long-term stays, coupon codes, offer your rooms as packages, rentals etc. Please do not hesitate to contact us for ideas, as we support customers worldwide and can provide suggestions on how best to set up your system.
Next month we will discuss…
How to manage your online reputation to grow bookings.