Every company in the world has been impacted by Covid-19. Closures, reduced hours, layoffs and a shift to working from home, hotels, and hospitality have been hit particularly severely.
At Sprint Digital we always aim to be helpful. Not only helping our clients, but also other businesses that may need a hand. We’ve come up with some great ideas to help those working in hospitality during this time. For those not in hospitality, we hope that this will trigger some ideas for your own business.
We’ve split up our ideas into two parts: what you can do now, and how you can make the most of your marketing.
DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS FOR HOTELS DURING COVID-19
With hotels and businesses all over the world desperately looking to cut costs during this time, paid digital marketing has come under more intense scrutiny. Due to restrictions, most hotels in Ireland and the UK are currently closed.
SHOULD I STOP SPENDING?
With budgetary concerns making some expenses difficult to justify, we would strongly advise against completely stopping paid marketing even if you are closed. Just as demand is beginning to pick up in China, demand is very likely to pick up in Ireland, the UK and Europe as whole in the coming months and some marketing channels will continue to deliver results.
Paid marketing on search engines such as Google and Bing will continue to be effective as it is intent-driven marketing. If you are a hotel in Ballsbridge and people are searching for “hotels I Ballsbridge” or your brand name, then you know that they are probably looking for a place to stay.
SEARCH & DEMAND
Here is one factor that will naturally reduce spend on search engines at the moment. Search advertising is a product of demand and since demand is down significantly, it makes sense that the number of people searching for hotels has also decreased. Although the data is changing on a rapid basis, it has been estimated that the search traffic for hotels has decreased by around 50% compared to the same period last year and this estimate would be in line with what we are seeing for our clients.
There are two other factors that will affect your search campaigns during this current time but these factors offset each other. The first factor is the conversion rate. This has seen a huge decline for companies in the travel sector which means the number of clicks you need to get per conversion has increased.
However, this is offset by the fact that cost-per-click has decreased significantly. On Google Hotel Ads, reports indicate the cost for the top position has declined by 70%. This is because there is less competition as many hotels have pulled their advertising spend. Even one of Google’s biggest spenders, Booking.com are reducing their advertising spend.
Not only does less competition mean lower cost-per-clicks, it also means it is easier for your message to stand out. This is a great opportunity and there will probably never be a cheaper time to advertise on search engines in the coming years.
In terms of the areas you should focus your ads on, you should focus primarily on the domestic market for now. It is likely that when Ireland, the UK and Europe get this virus under control, there will be other parts of the world that will be struggling to control it. For example, China has had almost no domestic cases of Covid-19 in the past week but some cases have been coming from ex-pats returning to China and Foreign Nationals entering China.
As a result, China has had to ban foreign nationals from entering.
It is likely that travel restrictions from some parts of the world will be in place for months as Covid-19 is currently in 199 countries and territories (and counting).
You should also continue to remarket to people who have been on your website on Facebook Ads. You can narrow it down to only focus on those who have stayed with you in the past on or focus on those who have gone to certain pages of your website.
As these users have shown an interest in your brand they can still purchase vouchers or make bookings for later in the year.
Highlight features such as free cancellation or refundable rates as a selling point. People are worried and stressed about bookings and you need to reassure them that it is simple and easy to cancel their booking.
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
Who isn’t thinking about getting away for a break? Another area you can focus on are people searching months ahead on Hotel Ads. Hotel Ads gives you the ability to increase your bids for different advance booking windows.
For example, you could increase your bids on people looking to book a room more than 90 days in advance.
When this is over, people are going to travel again. For example, in the past two weeks, the number of global flight bookings to the UK and Spain for Q1 or 2021 has increased by 160% compared to the same time last year. People are already planning their next trips and the price for getting your message in front of these potential customers has just become a lot cheaper.
As well as paid marketing there are several FREE or organic marketing activities that you can do such as social media and email marketing. Use the tools you have to keep your customers up to date with any changes that may be happening or any initiatives that you are taking. Maybe your focus on social media has become about encouraging your customers to think of happier memories. Tell them how they can get involved or help with any of your initiatives.