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communication

Communication strategies during and after COVID-19

Sara Farkas
Mar 24, 2020 2:10:00 PM
  • What can you do as a hotel owner to keep your guests engaged during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • How can you continue building trust if you need to temporarily close your hospitality business?
  • What can you do to ensure you can get back on track when the crisis subsides and tourism rebounds?


The key to successfully keeping your customer base during these difficult times is well-thought-out and well-timed communication. If you take the time to plan out a thorough communication strategy now, you can not only make sure people will regard you as a responsible and stable business, but you can also ensure they will be loyal to you and be around when you open your doors to the public again.

We have collected our recommendations for you below regarding the types of messages you can send out during the crisis situation and right after things start going back to normal. Regardless of whether you had to make the decision to close your business for a while or you are still open, we have prepared some guidelines and some more specific example messages for you, which you can utilize while the outbreak lasts. You will also find suggestions in this article for after the coronavirus crisis, so that you can stay competitive, and get ready for new reservations and guests when that time comes.


DURING THE CRISIS

As highlighted earlier, it is crucial that you maintain regular communication with your guests and potential customers throughout this challenging period. Be transparent, and regularly send out honest updates regarding your operations. Make sure you also communicate in an open and reassuring tone which will calm your readers, and inform them of your stable situation. Show them that you are not only strong and determined enough to get through the crisis, but that you are also thinking about the future. Let them know that you are spending your time effectively and that you are working hard on improvements which will make their next stay at your place safe and even more enjoyable.

These messages can come in the form of newsletters, blog posts, and/or social media messages. Whichever option you choose, we recommend you group your communication into two categories:

- Official statements on the status of your operation
- Informal communication regarding how you use your extra time

Official statements
In case you had to close your hotel or hospitality business for an indefinite period of time, make sure you let people know in an open and clear way. Try to convey your message using a direct style, and reassure people that you are doing everything you can to manage the situation. If this is the news you need to deliver, it will inevitably be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be overly negative.

When phrasing your statement, highlight that the reason behind your decision is the safety of your team and guests. An example sentence you can start this message with could be:

We believe the most responsible decision we can make in this situation is to temporarily close our hotel (hostel/apartment, etc.) in order to protect our guests, staff members, their families and friends. It is important for us that we contribute to our community’s efforts to try to stop the virus from spreading, which is why we decided to take this step…”

After stating the facts it is very important that you switch to a more optimistic and hopeful tone, emphasizing how you and your staff will try to do your best to overcome this situation. Stick to this confident tone in the rest of your official statements as well, and keep your guests up-to-date regarding your plans.

Informal messages
Don’t stop posting on your blog or social channels. Use the messages communicated on these platforms to inform your followers about how you and your staff spend your time to bring about improvements in your hotel, and to deliver some more personal content that helps them keep their spirits up. Some example topics you can create posts about are:

  • How you are working on making your hotel safer and more comfortable - upload photos and short messages about how every hotel room is cleaned and sanitized, and how you are renovating, replacing, or fixing certain things

  • What improvements and developments you’re working on to make your hotel smarter and your processes easier - emphasize how certain new tools and features can not only increase guest experience but also lower health concerns, such as the possibility to check-in and check out online, book services and get information on guests’ own devices instead of making personal contact at the reception

  • How your staff is working from home - share home office photos, videos and personal stories created by colleagues, showcasing how they are preparing for the reopening

  • Engage guests and followers by encouraging them to share happy memories and stories related to their previous stay or favorite holiday at your place

AFTER THE CRISIS

When the effects of the pandemic subside and new reservations start coming in, keep your newsletters, blog and social media communication alive just like before, and introduce some new content to encourage further bookings.

  • Reach out to previous and potential guests and let them know you are ready and prepared for their arrival

  • Introduce in detail some new developments you’ve been working on before reopening, and teach your guests how to use any smart applications you have acquired

  • Organize a reopening event, invite guests, and come up with special offers (such as first night for free) that you can highlight in your communication

  • Motivate your returning guests to share their positive experiences on social media by giving out discounts/vouchers, etc.

We believe that with an effective communication strategy you can significantly improve the vitality of your hospitality business, build trust, and stay top of mind. However, communicating with your staff is just as important as sending out messages to guests, which can be a challenging task during these times. If you feel like you’re having issues with keeping your colleagues together and your to-do lists in sync, stay tuned for our upcoming content.

In our next post we’ll discuss useful platforms that will help you tackle the challenges of online communication and collaboration within your team.

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