The hospitality industry is being inundated with advice on what to do, what to buy, how to recover more quickly, etc. Some of the advice is good, but some of it isn't. Here are three common myths related to COVID recovery strategies that I keep hearing, and here is my advice on what will actually be good for your business.
MYTH: Business and/or city-center hotels are dead.
Truth: There is no type of hotel that can’t reach profitability, even if corporate travel and MICE business don't pick back up again for years.
Explanation: The road to success will be different for these hotels, but is still fully attainable. The key to success for city-center and corporate hotels is to make their properties relevant in other ways. Consumers are looking for new, exciting travel experiences. Think about out-of-the box experiential activities that leisure travelers will love – and that will inspire them to book with your property.
It’s also important to look for opportunities for new or additional revenue streams. For instance, The Jupiter Hotel in Portland partnered with local restaurants and chefs to create pop-up restaurants that featured different types of cuisine or well-known chefs. The food was delivered to each guest in their room, giving them a private chef’s table experience to remember!
By partnering with restauranteurs, hoteliers are doing good for the community, while also attracting a new demographic to their property: fans of a particular restaurant or chef. Today, chefs have become rock stars, and consumers will follow them around the world to taste their food. By bringing those well-known chefs to your property, you’ll be creating a new revenue stream and securing bookings with lots of new, very excited leisure guests.
MYTH 2: Less is more when it comes to OTAs & other online booking channels.
TRUTH: Hotels need to accept all the bookings that they can – no matter where they come from.
This is a very prevalent belief among hoteliers in the United States. But hotels need to remember that they only pay OTAs once a booking occurs. Why limit yourself to just listing your property on a few OTAs? Your property should be listed on as many OTAs and other online booking channels as possible right now, even if it’s just for the free advertising.
Hotels should also be listing their property on regional booking sites used by travelers who are interested in traveling to their destination. For example, if you know that there is demand in your destination from European travelers, you should be listing your rooms on their preferred booking sites to capture some of that pre-existing demand.
Another reason to be on as many OTAs as possible: The Billboard Effect. Often, consumers use OTAs to identify which properties are available at a destination and then will click through to the property’s website to book direct. It’s been proven in countless studies over the years; being listed on as many online booking channels as possible brings in bookings through their websites while also increasing direct bookings.
MYTH 3: There is no demand on the GDS, so I don’t need to be listed on it.
TRUTH: Don’t disregard the importance of the GDS. Recent studies are finding that many travelers, post-COVID, will prefer to book through travel agents. A recent study showed that “44% of travelers are more likely to use travel advisors after the pandemic.”
In addition to the leisure travelers who will be using travel agents, post-COVID, there will still be corporate bookings coming through. Either way, having a presence on the GDS is another way to expand your reach – again, giving your property the opportunity to secure as many bookings as possible and reach recovery, more quickly.
Finally, I hope that you’ve heard of the TripAdvisor Plus program. It is a subscription model program launched by TripAdvisor, which gives travelers discounts and perks at hotels and experiences booked through their site, worldwide. If you want to participate in this program – which I highly suggest you do, by the way – you MUST have GDS connectivity. So, GDS connectivity is a must today, tomorrow, next year and well into the future.
To read part two of in this three-part series, click here.