Destination Recovery: What Destinations Can Do to Win Back Guests

In the context of the coronavirus crisis, the health concerns, and the travel restrictions, destinations are suffering significant losses. While it’s not at all hard to get overwhelmed by the current situation and be tempted to sit back and just wait for it to end, what will eventually make the difference between the winning parties and the losing ones is what is done right now. 

For destinations, the struggle of winning back guests is taking place on multiple fronts: accommodations, restaurants, and activities. The mix of these three factors is what normally differentiates a destination experience from a simple hotel and enables them to have a competitive advantage. Right now, this can pose some difficulties since it is harder to recover in more than one part – however, we need to see the other side of the coin and realize that, unlike hotels and especially independent ones, destinations benefit from a more complex and stable management structure. This is a huge plus in the current situation, where the industry is already anticipating a different kind of traveler once the COVID-19 crisis fades away. For example, the travel and hospitality sector is predicting a more cautious and selective approach throughout the booking journey of the post COVID-19 traveler, especially when it comes to safety and cleanliness. While small, independent hotels, as well as short-term rentals like the ones listed on Airbnb can have a hard time establishing trust in those departments, a destination can have the upper hand due to being backed up by a complex structure and a more thorough management. 

The question remains: what exactly can destinations do right now to win guests back in the future? Once again, the immediate answer lies in reputation management and the ways in which guest feedback is leveraged. Now, more than ever, destinations need to evaluate their performance, monitor their KPIs, benchmark against the competition, and prepare for recovery and reopening. With most businesses being closed and with so much time to spare during these trying weeks, there has never been a better time to look back on previous performances and guest feedback, in order to analyze exactly what worked and what didn’t. During regular times, these tasks can be easily overlooked or simply lost in the craziness of day-to-day operations – however, previous guests hold the key to a destination’s strengths and weaknesses and their perspective should be the base of any recovery strategy – after all, there’s rarely a more people-centric industry than hospitality and the guest can actually dictate the success or failure of a business. 

Internal adjustments and changes is the first step towards better guest experiences but in order to win back guests and attract new ones, a destination’s strengths and competitive advantages need to be properly marketed. The easiest way of doing that is through summarized review content, which is travelers’ preferred way of digesting insights into the overall reputation of an establishment. The TrustYou Meta-Review represents a quick and visual way of presenting a destination’s online reputation and performance in different categories that can be of particular interest to travelers. The Meta-Review helps users attract the right customers to enable them to divide and digest guest feedback and reviews in a way that makes the most sense to them and the highest impact on their booking decision. For example, a German traveler might be interested in seeing what other travelers from his area had to say about a certain destination – through the use of the Meta-Review, destinations enable those guests to filter the types of travelers that have previously submitted a review and contributed to the overall scores. Users can select the language in which the reviews were submitted and the types of travelers that have written them. Positive reviews from similar individuals can have a great impact on the booking decision, as the concept of social proof depicts the natural need of identifying with similar people and even mimicking their behavior. For destinations, it is only a matter of enabling different options that will help users make their decision based on select review content. 

Not only that but, as we previously mentioned, post COVID-19 travelers will display a specific and determined affinity towards destinations with good cleanliness and safety levels. Some might say that these attributes could have a bigger impact on the booking decision than price since nothing will be more important than health and safety. In this context, destinations should display different scores and badges that are used to highlight hotels with excellent performance in certain categories. A destination with multiple hotels that have previously gained a cleanliness badge will definitely raise a competitive advantage and will ensure guests that it is the right place for them. 

If your destination is currently lacking the proper means of leveraging its reputation, this is the perfect time to start a recovery strategy that will help you achieve your goals. You can check out TrustYou’s Review Marketing Solution to get more insights into how you can turn guest reviews into promoters, as well as leverage them to win back guests and recover from the current crisis as soon as possible! Also, make sure to contact our team of experts for any questions or inquiries.