As per National Geographic report, contributed by World Travel and Tourism Council (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/2020/04/how-coronavirus-is-impacting-the- travel-industry/):
- It projects a global revenue loss of $2.1 trillion in travel industry alone.
- It also projects a global loss of 75 million jobs.
As per World Economic Council report, contributed by World Travel and Tourism Council (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/world-travel-coronavirus-covid19-jobs- pandemic-tourism-aviation/):
- COVID-19 pandemic could cut 50 million jobs worldwide in the travel and tourism industry. Out of 50 million, 30 million jobs cut is expected in Asia.
- Once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover.
- The tourism industry currently accounts for 10% of global GDP.
I shiver reading these forecasts. We have already seen hundreds of hotels shutting down (at least temporarily), many lay-offs and major pay cuts.
On April 6, I wrote an article with sales tips to be implemented during COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, is the time to start brainstorming on how to overcome losses that will be incurred due to COVID-19.
There are 2 major ways for hotels to overcome losses incurred due to COVID-19:
1. Increase Sales
2. Control Cost
In this article, we will focus on tips to increase sales. In the next article, we will discuss tips to control cost.
1.Win guest confidence:
Win confidence of guests in regards to their health and safety, so that they choose your hotel. Communicate you are taking all the health and safety precautionary measures through videos, emails, bookers, procurement managers, etc.
2. Expand / add source markets:
Immediately after COVID-19, you will need more source markets to support you in order to overcome losses with additional business, you dint have before. Re-look into your current list of source markets and add new source markets. Working with hotel market representation company is highly recommended, as it will be cost effective.
3. Re-negotiate with existing customers:
Have a meeting with your existing customers and ask them about their revised travel plan and budget (per diem). Some companies will cut down on the volume of travel but maintain budget, some will maintain volume of travel but cut down on budget and some will cut down on both. You will need to adjust your offer accordingly as you don’t want to loose business to competition, at this critical time.
4. Negotiate consolidation of business:
Have a meeting with your existing and potential customers to discuss consolidation of their revised volume of room nights and meetings to one hotel rather than splitting amongst 3-4 hotels.Offer special rate or better inclusions for consolidating their business.
5. Buy back with hotel suppliers:
With the help of purchase and finance team, negotiate with your hotel suppliers to buy room nights, meeting rooms, food & beverage, etc., as much as possible.
6. Work with tourism board and destination marketing companies:
Invest time and efforts in working with tourism board and destination marketing companies to promote your destination and hotel / resort to bring global events like conferences, sports, movie shootings, etc.
7. Promotions & Packages:
Launch promotions to fill up unoccupied rooms, like:
- Use now pay later: This will help companies to not defer their hotel usage and hotels to immediate start selling.
- Use now pay in instalments: This will help companies to not defer their hotel usage with small payments in instalments and hotels to immediately start selling.
- Source market promotion: Offer special rate and inclusion to new / targeted source markets.
- Need / demand based inclusion: Offer customised packages based on need / demand, eg. room upgrade, meals and cocktails inclusive, transfers inclusive, laundry inclusive, Spa inclusive, etc.
- Brand website exclusive offer: Offer exclusive promotions through brand website, eg. Pay 2 Stay 3 nights, Member extra special rate, Extra loyalty points, etc.
8. Maximise revenue through Hotel Data Analytics:
Revenue leakage due to lack of expertise in data analytics is a big challenge faced by most of the hotels. This service can be outsourced to a Hotel Data Analytics company. It will help hotels maximise revenue.
9. Incentivise sales partners:
Offer incentive plans to motivate your sales partners:
- Sales team: Incentive will help them become focussed and sell creatively. It will also help them recover some pay cuts or leave without pay incurred during COVID-19.
- Agent Partners: Offer incentive plans to Online Travel Agents (OTAs), Wholesalers, Travel Management Companies (TMCs) and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) like commission %age, volume based bonus, etc.
- Bookers: Offer creative incentive plans to corporate bookers like earn free nights, extra loyalty points, shopping vouchers, incentive trip, movie / taxi vouchers, etc.
10. Collaborate with Airlines:
Tie up with airlines to make a package with rooms to be sold through their brand website without involving OTAs and vice-versa.
11. Acquire project (long stay) business:
Companies will re-start their projects immediately as they have already invested money into it. This will be the best time to creatively acquire those project (long stay) business which will help with business on weekdays, weekends, meetings and food & beverage.
12. Up-skill your human capital:
The market is going to become highly competitive when it opens for business as everyone would want to recover their losses, as soon as possible. To succeed in such a market place, you need to be ready with well trained / up-skilled employees.
13. New market trends:
Finally, keep a close watch on the new market trends to identify new sales opportunities. It could be immunity boosting food companies, new pharmaceutical companies, environment friendly products, hygiene product companies, etc. Some of these could become a mandatory requirement to live our lives.
If you want to discuss these tips, I am happy to do it on a free one on one call. To book a call, please write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this helps. I am looking forward to sharing Part 2 of this article focussing on how to control cost to overcome losses incurred due to COVID-19.
Until Then, Please Stay Safe, Stay Positive & Stay United!