How to adjust your digital marketing strategy during COVID-19

COVID-19 can make you feel like the tourism industry business and your entire life is on hold. While travel may have temporarily stopped, smart hoteliers are staying busy by focusing on their overall planning, Marketing is an integrated part of how to bring those adjusted plans to life during lockdown and once the lockdown is over.

Something that most people don’t know about marketing is that it’s not just about the one time sale. Marketing is a piece of your business that is about creating a long-term relationship with your guests. This means not just telling people when there’s a sale or a deal, but having a continuous story of your hotel or accommodation. Businesses that actively market during a crisis will experience higher activity once the difficult period ends compared with those that go undercover and act like they don’t exist.

Of course, how you market your accommodation right now and where you focus your energy needs to adjust. Now is not the time to pour money into marketing campaigns. Instead, be nimble, focus on your user data and tell stories on your website and social media. This way, you’ll keep your return guests and attract new ones.

We know those working in the hotel and tourism industry are wondering where and how to focus on their marketing. I’ve pulled together a few ideas to help.

Boost your digital marketing skills

 A marketing course can help you learn new skills and be ready to make your future campaigns more effective. LinkedIn Learning (previously and Udemy have tons of expert courses. These can help you learn the ins and outs of effectively selling your business and strategically telling stories that engage your customers. What’s more, offers a free 30-day trial, so you can speed through a course at your own pace and start putting your new knowledge to work for you and your hotel business.

SEO is key

With increased self-isolation and lockdown, the amount of time people spend on the internet has grown exponentially. Take advantage of people’s escapist future travel fantasies and leverage SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. The goal of SEO is to be near the top of a search engine when people look for a hotel in your area. This helps increase potential guests’ trust in your business. Updating your local SEO can improve local search results. When you use an effective SEO strategy, you’ll be able to find out how people are getting to your website through free Google Analytics data. You can also boost your Google Analytics knowledge in the free online courses with Google’s Analytics Academy.

SEO is about making sure your website includes the words that people use to find accommodation. This can mean increasing the content on your website to include more of these words or upping the alt-tag content on your images and other behind the scenes work. However, the word optimisation is part of SEO for a reason: there is definitely some work to getting it right. We recommend watching some videos on LinkedIn Learning and using a low-cost SEO & Keyword search with MOZ or Screaming Frog. You can also use SEOsitecheckup to do a quick SEO audit of your website.

Improve your online images 

Once you increase the traffic to your website, you want people to stay there. The difference between an ok hotel industry website and a fantastic one is beautiful images. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer or buy expensive software to create eye-catching photographs. Most camera phones are very powerful and can help you get the shot you need. Natural light is free and one of the best resources for snapping the perfect shot of your guest rooms. Gorgeous photos that make your guests long to stay with you require a little bit more work. You’ve probably heard a lot about Photoshop, but we’re here to tell you that you don’t need it. Software GIMP provides you with all the features you need to make your photos stand out, and you can download it for free.

Keep telling your story

Human beings crave connection. It’s what we are put on the planet to do. When people come to your hotel, it’s the connections they’ll remember—both with their travel buddies and with your staff. Right now, most people have to connect online, and stories enhance those connections.

Don’t turn the lights out at your hotel, so to speak. Find creative ways to continue to show up for your future guests. Do you have the right photography or a short video to showcase your hotel’s location to potential customers? Videos are still a very effective way for people to discover your hotel or accommodation. Are you using your resources to give back to your community? Maybe it’s just a matter of giving people a mental vacation in your backyard. Continue to talk to your previous and future guests. You can do this through a newsletter, a blog on your website, or social media. Whatever you do, stay genuine, and keep your future guests curious. At Preno we are passionate about accommodation providers and hoteliers and share more digital marketing tips here.

Additional digital marketing resources:

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About the author

Amri is Preno's head of marketing and enjoys being part of the hospitality ecosystem. She is passionate about helping accommodation businesses to transform their marketing, by exploring their core strengths and sharing their successes.

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