Many lessons have been learned from confinement, and even though there are many things that still remain uncertain, one thing is for sure: The travel ecosystem as we know it will cease to exist.
As travel professionals we have to research new market trends and enact strategies that will enable us to survive and shine in the future travel landscape. There is no time to waste, and you must act wisely and fast to get up to date with the speedy change of the market. Don´t hesitate, now is the time for hotels to renew themselves and invest in innovation that will enable you to be able to attend to the needs of the post COVID traveler. Many are changing their PMS, and other software shifts, some are even looking to new marketing strategies to implement. But, lets face it; you might need a “Facelift” to look attractive to the younger traveler that is coming your way.
Is your hotel “sexy” enough to attract them?
After discussions with revenue managers, and industry experts, I have reached some conclusions on how a hotel can realize a “Facelift”. Looking also at recent findings of Brand USA’s Vice President of Research & Analytics Carroll Rheem , who hosted a research webinar to provide an update on international market conditions – the status of the pandemic, the economic outlook and overall consumer sentiment.
Think about it, how can your direct booking site and other digital channels look somehow younger? What sort of features within your hotel can be attractive to a younger crowd? More so, can you bring about special perks and products that can differentiate your hotel and make it stand out to these travelers?
So, if you want to be successful in selling your products to such a traveler, first you must scan their most relevant features to plan your “Face Lift” (Read: restructurings and innovations to become sexier to younger travelers)
A Quick X- Ray diagnosis of the new traveler:
1. Make your hotel look YOUNG
Older people might take longer to travel again. This is coherent with the COVID reality, it is known that older people are more affected by the disease and dealing with its symptoms; so younger travelers are more resilient, and in most of the cases than the older travelers, they are more open in terms of traveling again. Look at these findings:
Likelihood to Travel Internationally in the Next 12 months: By Age (% Change over 2019 average)
Transform your hotel to be as..
- Digital as possible: This traveler is a Digital Junkie, and as such he will appreciate digital experiences within your offer.
- Flexible as possible: He is independent, so make him feel you are flexible and your services are convenient for him, he has freedom to amend or cancel services
- Innovative as possible: Younger travelers also seem to have great fear, and this is known as FOMO: “the fear of missing out”; so get ready to send out messages that will make it clear that FOMO will not be an issue at your destination.
- Sensible as possible: This traveler thinks of himself as a socially conscious, adventurer, an environmentally friendly individual that identifies with brands that are innovative and offer “uniqueness” for him on these aspects.
2. Make your hotel look Safe
Findings show he is concerned: but the trick is to work on what deeply concerns him. Funnily enough, in trying to understand the rationale behind not traveling, the top concerns are mainly related to travel restrictions and not solely on the concern about truly contracting Covid-19.
Some may say: “I don’t want to face a two-week quarantine when I come back”, or “experiencing the destination won’t be the same because they won’t let me go sightseeing or take a tour”. Once the cities are “reopened”, it’s very likely that there will be control in-destination activities, to avoid crowds and promote physical distancing. There is no doubt about it, they will be willing to opt for activities in a more controlled environment.
Check out the top concerns :
3. Make your hotel offer look Budget Conscious
In their research, respondents who are likely to take an international trip in the next 12 months say that they would spend less on food and dining as well as on tours and activities. In some cases, tours and activities even surpass the allocated budget for lodging. Check it out :
Travelers will be looking for more tours and activities to experience BUT they will look for a greater gain in terms of cost-benefit. Your facelift should include experiences that minimize risks of contracting/spreading Covid-19 and flexibility in their travel itinerary.
This “face lift” feature, is a particular game-changer for hotels, because you will have an ever more competitive environment to get the young ones to book with you. More than lowering your rates , ask yourself what differentiates you? What sets of “add-ons” will be appreciated by this new type of traveler? Cross-selling might be a go-to strategy to consider.
Many may think that making a “Face lift” is painful in terms of it costs, but this is not necessarily the case, you can integrate to the local value chain and products to bring new perks that can complement your experiences. The key will be in being able to communicate all your efforts. In addition, technology is here to help and assist you on providing digital experiences and contact-less products that are full of advantages that stand out for this traveler.
If you want to include contact-less tours, and valuable curated content to attend to the needs of this type of traveler, Soundwalkrs, with just a few clicks, can assist you in bringing some products that can contribute to your hotels Facelift, and appeal to a younger crowd.