Reputation Management During Crisis – The Vital How To’s
While unfortunate, slumps and crises do happen in the travel industry, often with severe consequences. Low occupancy rates, loss of revenue and even motivation are all real effects that can impact your hotel business.
We know that trying to see the positive in each negative situation is not always realistic, however, there are certain strategies that can help you keep your head above the water even in the midst of a crisis as serious as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Here’s what you can do to keep your guests calm and engaged, your staff motivated, and your reputation unharmed.
Prioritize safety under any circumstances
In times of crisis due to natural disasters, viruses, or any other situation that poses a threat to security, it’s crucial to make the safety of your guests your number one concern. Take all the necessary precautions to ensure that, regardless of the situation, your current guests have everything they need - from a safe environment to basic things like food and water and around the clock service. It would also be a smart move to issue an official communication that attests to your investment in guests’ safety and security. For example, in such uncertain times like we are living now given the Coronavirus situation, sending out automated, pre-arrival communication via email or SMS regarding safety policies and procedures will put travelers more at ease, and may prevent cancellation of their schedule traveled.
Adapt and repurpose
Not every slump is a result of a crisis - sometimes seasonality can affect certain accommodations in negative ways. For example, a ski resort is very likely to lose a big faction of guests if the conditions aren’t quite right. While some resorts chose to close their doors until the next peak season, others get by in different ways. It’s important to consider more than just one purpose when managing a hotel and attribute multiple functionalities to it. During slower periods, focus on marketing other features and services, like the spa facilities, beautiful views, local events, and attractions. Hotels can turn directly to what their guests consider to be great “alternative” amenities of their location and use these positive guest reviews on their website and other marketing materials.
Keep communications open and honest
Whatever it is your hotel is struggling with, make sure to communicate openly and honestly with your guests. Don’t try to sweep issues under the carpet - in the era of instant information and smart technology, travelers have all the means to find out exactly what is going on and finding out about a problem from other sources than the hotel’s management won’t sit well in their eyes. If you’re having technical difficulties, for example, offer a sincere apology and try to compensate through other means, at least temporarily. Ensure that your guests’ interests are a priority with real-time messaging services that allow you to get a statement out quickly and clearly to all on-site guests.
Ask for feedback and analyze it thoroughly
Feedback is a vital part of any type of hotel-guest communication, and especially in times of crisis, it’s crucial to encourage honest feedback in order to properly assess the situation through your guests’ perspective. Reviews and real-time communication give you valuable insights into what your guests need during critical times and how you should improve their experience. While uncertain times of crises often have negative effects on hotel businesses, sometimes they can be a time to show resilience and pull through the hardships. This shows your guests that you are prepared and you care about their experience and wellbeing more than you do about revenue.
Lastly, if you have experienced a crisis in the past, it would be helpful to analyze the feedback received during that time in order to be one step ahead in the present. At the end of the day, what matters most in hospitality is the guest experience and even in difficult times, that should be your main focus.
For any concerns that you might have or questions that you want to ask us regarding reputation management, please feel free to contact our team at any time, using the contact us page.
COVID-19 = Coronavirus
Crisis management represents the ensemble of processes that are used in order to deal with unexpected and negative events that can pose a threat at the population or certain organizations.