Nowadays, travel is the most nerve-wracking activity, safety-wise. Social gatherings might make people anxious as Omicron instances rise and social distance becomes more important. Of course, there are several exposure opportunities during a vacation, including flights and hotel stays. Naturally, this makes most individuals reluctant to make travel arrangements.
As a result, it’s critical that the hospitality industry highlight COVID-19 safety precautions including cleaning areas and social seclusion. The key to conveying this message is COVID-friendly marketing, which should be a part of all of your hotel marketing initiatives.
Building Trust Through Safety & Hygiene
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses across the globe have had to face the challenge of restoring trust.
It goes without saying that, of course, in accordance with COVID-19, sanitation and hygiene are important considerations for potential guests when choosing a hotel. Building trust and enhancing brand image may be achieved by letting your visitors know that the property managers are prepared to go above and beyond for their safety.
Consumers are most influenced by their confidence in a brand, which includes places where they feel safe and clean. Thus, hotels need to prioritize cleaning, disinfecting, and infection prevention to give their guests and visitors peace of mind.
In addition to considering the needs of their guests, hotels should also consider the needs of their employees. A recent survey showed that only 14% of employees around the world feel confident in the leadership of CEOs and managers regarding return-to-business policies. Employees that have already returned to their jobs say that safety measures put in place by management were either ineffective or not strictly enforced.
1. New Safety & Hygiene Measures
As we learn more about the spread of COVID-19, we see that some of the strategies that were implemented early on aren’t necessarily effective anymore. For example, it seems like the best thing you can do to protect yourself from getting sick is to wash your hands frequently, but washing your hands doesn’t always lead to less illness.
We also learned that there isn’t a single right answer when it comes to what type of PPE to wear and that it might not matter if you wear full coveralls or just long sleeves. So, managers need to reassess their current safety guidelines, policies, and practices and determine what will keep them safe while minimizing unnecessary costs.
Ensure and communicate that high-touch areas are frequently disinfected with high-quality cleaning products to increase guest confidence. Practice and enforce physical distancing or social distancing.
2. Communicating Cleanliness
Provide your consumers with an easy-to-read summary of your safety measures. Use a comforting tone and avoid using technical jargon. Making the points crystal obvious requires combining the text with a visual presentation.
Promote any additional local endorsements your hotel obtains from local authorities regarding your hotel’s Health & Safety Guidelines in order to legitimize your Safety Measures and display certification logos from the audit companies utilized in your hotel on your website, social media, partner booking platforms, and on-site.
a. Leverage Your Website & Booking Platforms
Communicate the safety-related actions that have already been performed by practicing visibility. Since it’s crucial to change the material on your website’s homepage, emphasize how your operations have been impacted. You can also decide to insert an internal link that takes potential customers to a page specifically devoted to COVID-related safety and health information.
The COVID-related safety and health information section needs to include practical advice on COVID-19 safety standards and social distance suggestions. This ought to cover typical inquiries about reimbursements, regional laws, and other topics.
As a member of the hospitality sector, it’s critical to disclose how your personnel is guaranteeing everyone’s safety. You assuage your guests’ concerns by displaying through your hotel marketing strategy that your crew takes COVID-19 safety seriously.
b. Send Safety-Related Information in the Email Updates
Most hoteliers will email Pre-Arrival and Confirmation updates. Use this email to inform your clients of your COVID Safety Regulations and to give further information, including QR codes or end-user agreements. This email is usually opened and saved by guests so it makes perfect sense to take advantage of this as yet another chance to explain the actions that have been taken to address safety-related COVID-related issues.
Create a straightforward one-page guide for guests that highlights the important safety aspects. Much of it should explain how they may assist guarantee that the safety precautions at your hotel are followed, encouraging shared responsibility. Include this client safety information with your reservation confirmation voucher.
c. Include Regular COVID-19 Updates on Your Social Media
The epidemic (and ensuing limitations) often change rapidly. Regular social media updates must be a key component of any hotel marketing strategy. Changes in governmental limits, travel restrictions, and vaccination needs should all be covered in such updates. In order to keep clients safe, COVID-friendly marketing efforts are founded on openness and communication.
d. Reinforce with On-the-Spot Safety Information
Ensure that there is clear signage in place throughout the hotel instructing visitors to observe safety precautions. Any on-site representatives should clearly explain the safety precautions your company has implemented. This will provide customers more assurance and, in the end, serve as a reminder to travelers that your company places a high priority on their health.
3. Check-in/Check-out Optimizations
In this pandemic, guest satisfaction can hinge on safety in check-in and check-out options. For instance, one of the core guest expectations nowadays is to ensure either minimal or no-contact check-in/check-out procedures.
With contactless check-ins, visitors may enter their reserved room using their mobile device without going through the traditional check-in process at the front desk. As a result, there is less opportunity for the virus to spread between hotel workers and visitors.
Beyond only contactless check-ins, some hotels also allow visitors to utilize their mobile devices as digital keys. Digital keys provide customers a completely touchless experience, which is a very persuasive tactic to get tourists back to their hotels.
There is no one method that works for all contactless check-in implementations. Create alternatives depending on the requirements of your own establishments. Adhere to industry standards for a smooth check-in procedure for visitors to achieve and ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone.
4. Food & Drink Safety
Food safety culture has evolved from “what you’re doing when no one is looking” to “What you do when everyone is looking.”
Previously, food safety protocols were happening behind the scenes. Employees used to take proper precautions to cook food to proper temperatures, avoid contamination. They work only with reputable suppliers. The kitchen made sure to clean their equipment, and so on and so forth. Customers didn’t pay any attention to what was going on. Customers assumed that the kitchen served properly cooked food prepared by clean hands.
With ongoing concerns about the coronavirus, customers are watching more carefully than ever before. They want to see proof that your establishment takes safety precautions seriously. And that your employees are taking every measure to reduce or eliminate risk. If they don’t see employees wearing face masks and constantly practicing safety measures then they will go somewhere else. And they may not return.
After the initial panic of the pandemic has passed, it’s time to start thinking about how we can elevate the food safety culture plans. As long as we don’t know what the future holds, we can be sure that organizations must improve their food safety cultures by consistently demonstrating to employees and consumers that health and safety are the organization’s top priority.
5. Provide thorough Staff Training and Keep Them Updated
In the hotel sector, having a skilled team is essential, but in a COVID-19 future, it’s crucial. Giving your personnel the correct resources to assist visitors to feel secure will distinguish your facility. To ensure that all operations adhere to the hotel’s hygiene and safety strategy, every employee must attend specific departmental training.
To remind staff members of the critical actions to guarantee guest and colleague safety, provide posters in the rear of the house and pocket manuals. Make sure staff members are knowledgeable about the cleaning procedures. Provide them with access to training films. And keep them informed of any changes to local laws and ordinances.
Of course, it’s critical that your staff understands how to explain policies and processes to visitors.
6. Guests Must Know their Rooms were Just Cleaned
Even while you as a hotelier are aware of how clean your establishment is, it doesn’t follow that your visitors are as well. Visitors search for visual cues, however, COVID calls for sanitization, which is imperceptible to the unaided eye. It’s crucial to proactively communicate with guests to let them know what your establishment is doing. This is to guarantee a safe guest experience if you want to keep them at ease and keep them coming back. It’s especially important because not all hotels in your area might hold themselves to the same level of strict standards.
Freely provide disinfectant wipes for guests’ personal use for their peace of mind.
7. Maintaining a Safe and Welcoming Environment
Maintaining a safe and welcoming environment is always a continuing process. Even though some days will be better than others, never stop trying. Don’t forget to pay attention to the guest feedback.
If you listen to your guests, it will be a lot simpler to make improvements. Your hotel will come across as consistently giving its best effort. When you are genuinely attempting to improve, others can tell, and they will appreciate it.
Consumers want evidence of safety protocols
Consumers place their trust in brands they believe follow safety & hygiene protocols. They’re likely equating brand trustworthiness with cleanness. Brand trust, including confidence in safety and quality, is now the top purchase motivator with our consumer respondents.
More than 75% of respondents said that PPE and third-party certified sanitization reviews give them a sense of security, even though they may not be required by law. Consumers are hungry for information: Most consumers say their travel decisions will depend on communications they receive from hotel chains and airlines about safety. About 40% of people surveyed said they’re not satisfied with the communications they’re receiving about safety protocols.
Equip workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure their safety and communicate to guests that you are taking safety precautions seriously. Make sure the cleaning crew assigned to clean COVID-19-associated facilities has appropriate uniforms that clearly indicate their role. Communicate frequently with your consumers about your safety policies. Include trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when developing these policies.