One thing is certain: when everything is unsure, anything can happen! I choose to see this as a good thing, especially during these challenging Covid-19 times! In this B2B post, I’m addressing what hotels can do to survive the current crisis – and even thrive afterwards. The keyword is ‘local’, and it’s not only great for your business; it’s also needed for the environment!
Why should your hotel go local now?
First of all, the ‘local’ aspect of traveling isn’t new, in fact, it has been on the rise for quite a while – and long before Covid-19 showed up! If your hotel hasn’t paid much notice to its local area yet, now is a good time to do so. In your local community lies plenty of golden opportunities, especially if you’re struggling during the current crisis (and frankly, all hotels are!)
Not only will focusing on your local community establish you as an expert in your surroundings – you will also support the local economy, people and overall sense of community. We’re all part of a chain, and due to the current circumstances that chain is more visible than ever.
Create a local guide
“Where do I find the best local food market?” or “how can I spend a fun afternoon in the area?” These are just some of the things guests want to know when checking in to your hotel. And they will ask the same questions after the Covid-19 crisis as well. Plan for that now by creating a local guide to your hotel’s neighborhood. You might not make much use of it in the coming months, but it’s always good to be prepared.
When I launched Room22.agency a while back, one of my key products was called ‘The Local Guides’ (tailormade neighborhood guides for hotels focusing on activities and services in their areas). It was great fun developing the concept for these guides and the demand was definitely there! You’re welcome to reach out to me if you’d like something similar for your venue – otherwise, simply note down 5-10 points you’d like to cover in your own guide and start creating it! Hint: people love a good cup of coffee, a beautiful park and a day of self-pampering (aka wellness), so let them know where to find this in your area.
“What’s truly unique about your neighborhood? Write it down in a guide that you can share as a PDF with your guests upon arrival or after check-in”
Start a local blog
If you have a website (I hope you do!), you can easily implement a blog, too. It’s good for SEO and it’s a great way to share valuable content with your guests. Once a week, pick a certain topic, e.g. ‘coffee’, ‘wellness’, ‘brunch’ or ‘gastronomy’ and sift your local area for anything related to this! Where do your guests go for a hearty brunch (if not in your hotel)? Where do they find the best manicurist? Where can they go to support a local farmer? Your weekly blog post(s) will be a fun feature that your current and future guests can look forward to.
“Taking initiative to cultivate the local community as a hotel shows that you’re invested and loyal to your surroundings. It makes you credible.”
A blog post should ideally count between 300-600 words. Don’t forget to name your (beautiful) photos in the post, as this will make you rank higher in Google! I use WordPress for this blog, but there are plenty of other options. Ask you web administrator for advice on the matter.
Create a take-away menu
Zero guests checking in or having dinner in your restaurant doesn’t necessarily equal no income. Of course it’s sad to see your venue much emptier than usual, but you must make the best of the situation. Let people in your area know that you’re offering a tasty take-away menu ready for pickup everyday at 5PM. Use local ingredients and support local shops/farmers in the process (now is a great time to use the farm-to-table trend!). I’ve already seen several hotels do this and it’s a great idea to keep their restaurants going. People still need to eat well and you still need to keep awareness around your brand.
Why not create a children’s menu as well why you’re at it? And consider offering a discount for a second takeaway if guests share their food pictures on social media. There are plenty of ways to keep the boat rocking!
Promote a staycation
OK, I know. Either you love the word ‘staycation’ or you hate it. Personally, I have no issue with it, and now is a better time than ever to get familiar with the concept! A staycation is basically a vacation in your own city, which means you don’t have to travel far to get a wonderful experience. Think about all the potential guests in your city – people who are still allowed and able to visit your hotel even if they should be restricted from traveling far and leaving the country. Luckily, they don’t have to.
Some countries are currently under lockout, which means their citizens won’t be able to leave their homes. If this is the case in your country, save the promotion of a staycation at your hotel till later this year. No matter what, consider creating a staycation campaign and start working on it already now. It’s great for your hotel’s reputation, for your local community and for the environment!