Business is going well, you have a few weddings and a full house booked this weekend, airlift is up and BAM! Mother nature interferes with its own set of plans. Destinations (DMOs) and resorts in the Caribbean have been dealing with these types of events for years and still struggle at times, but Hurricane Sandy caught many Northeast and Mid-Atlantic hotels completely by surprise.
Last week the Caribbean saw an 11.5% decline in occupancy over the same week last year according to STR Data. In New York City the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers had to cancel the team’s reservation because their hotel was still without power and decided to commute to Sunday’s game to play the Giants.
Storms like Sandy have had a detrimental impact on the entire Travel industry from Maine to Jamaica. How you manage your organization’s announcements and procedures can have an even longer lasting impact on bookings and arrivals. So what can you do to mitigate revenue loss?
Here are the top five things your marketing team should put in effect to prevent wasteful media spending or a social media #Fail:
1. Scale Back SEM Spending.
If you are a destination or particular hotel in the storm’s path, chances are your operational efforts may be affected. But that doesn’t mean the resort won’t be open in 4 months when Joe Smith from Nebraska wants to come stay at your New York City Hotel. So how do you prevent wasteful pay per click spending?
Scale back on regional broad based keywords, especially if you are a DMO. Otherwise you will be paying for people looking for storm updates searching the region. You can also add keywords for vacations further out like “New York City Spring Hotel Rates”. Think Longtail.
Lower all other bids, just to make sure you don’t go over budget while you are away from the campaign. If your site or property is not operational then pause completely.
If you are in a region that is affected often by storms seasonally, consider having an emergency ad campaign already in place where you can pause normal activity and just turn on the auxiliary campaign.
2. Shift or Reschedule email marketing campaigns
If the entire Northeast is without power, now isn’t the time to send them an eblast. While current or future guests should be kept in the loop with email updates, try to reschedule or change the geotargeting on any eblast efforts.
3. Put a protocol in place for ALL Announcements, internally and public wide.
Loose Tweets sink Fleets!
It’s important to keep incoming guests up to date with the latest information. However, an alarming announcement from a third party that has not been confirmed could cause a false alarm and prevent future bookings.
Put a communication plan in place appointing a dedicated contact to communicate with guests, one with the press and your social media team. If your social team isn’t informed they can’t respond to inquiries on Facebook and Twitter. This is important!
4. Double up on Social Media Management
Your social media management team needs to be in crisis management mode just like your PR team. Guests understand you can’t control the weather but you do control how your organization communicates vital info affecting their stay, and they will hold you accountable. If you do a poor job of communicating major changes or closures, your online reputation is vulnerable.
Social media is a great way to communicate quickly and effectively with the outside world. So have a preliminary plan in place. This should be standard whenever your hotel or airport is under construction, has venue closures or has any events that disrupt or negatively impact the guest experience. If the social is managed well, it could be a huge opportunity to capture new fans and get great endorsements from past visitors sharing their positive experiences and sending well wishes, so capitalize on the opportunity to engage in positive dialogue about your organization.
Don’t just wait for questions to come in, post regularly and look into software like Revniate, TrustYou or Review Pro. These platforms can help your team keep an eye on all review sites and manage responses in one place.
5. Announce Business As Usual
Once the storm passes, be quick to give an update via your social channels and where things stand. If operations have resumed, be quick to announce the good news. A simple “All is Well In Paradise”… with a great photo of guests at the pool goes a long way when reassuring future guests that it’s ok to book or keep their reservation.
In times of crisis there are only so many things a Hotel Marketing team can control. But strong communication, great customer service and reducing spending waste are key elements that can impact your image and budget.
About Tambourine: Tambourine is an ROI-obsessed marketing agency driving demand, revenue and brand awareness for travel and leisure clients since 1986. The Company creates inspiring digital experiences and engaging campaigns that produce measurable results. Based in South Florida and New York City, Tambourine recently received Gold and Platinum Adrian and Magellan awards, the largest and most prestigious travel marketing competitions, representing this year’s top marketing campaigns from across the global hospitality industry.
We are the instrument many of the world’s most advanced marketers use to create a steady beat of traffic and revenue growth. We provide a 360º integrated marketing program that delivers predictable ROI and a sustainable sales and marketing rhythm for your brand.
Learn more at http://www.Tambourine.com