There’s no sugar-coating the fact that we’ve just had a truly disappointing year in the hotel and hospitality industry. 2020 was overshadowed by the social restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For holiday lets, this translated into plummeting guest numbers and frequent cancellations, leaving many rental owners woefully under-occupied despite their owners’ best endeavours. Indeed, Spain’s economy shrank by 11% last year as a result of the lack of visitors and travel restrictions. Frankly, it’s a year that’s best forgotten.
If you are keen to make up for the losses of the past season, 2021 is looking much more promising. The pandemic has created pent up demand that should lead to much higher holiday bookings for the coming seasons. In addition, the Spanish government has decided to revisit its restrictions on non-essential travel from countries outside the European Union and the Schengen Zone on March 31, after this time they are also considering vaccination certificates to open the sector and safely allow tourists to return.
People cannot wait to go on holiday and Spain is the second most popular tourist destination in the world! So once people are allowed to visit the industry is sure to be booming again in no time. In preparation for this rush, we take a look at some essential marketing strategies you should now employ for that extra push to get your Airbnb business back to where it should be.
Take the opportunity to review your marketing channels for your holiday let, rather than just do the same as you did before. Ask yourself what you can improve? How can you reach more of your target audience? What messages should you be conveying? Is there anything you can do to get more ‘lookers’ to become ‘bookers’? And what else could you do to wow your visitors during their stay?
Special offers are always a good idea to increase bookings. Maybe 2021 is a good year to drop your prices temporarily in an effort to raise your profile and occupancy rate? If you don’t like the blanket approach, why not tap into your most loyal customer group first? Email discount and referral offers to all the guests who have stayed at your property in the past and build on existing positive relationships. Happy returning customers are the best advertisement you can get.
Speaking of advertising, have you thought of thinking outside the digital box? If you want to stand out from the competition, use traditional promotional materials to enhance your digital channels.
How about having ‘welcome booklets’ printed for your guests, containing suggestions for local activities to do and interesting places to see in addition to the usual property information? Not only can the booklet act as a holiday companion and guide during their stay, but they can take it home as a beautiful memento and souvenir. As one print supplier rightly points out, “a printed brochure is perfect for delivering home the message in a tactile and engaging way that digital communications do not.”
Go one better and you could leave ‘guest favours’ at the property for your visitors to take home as little tokens of your appreciation. From pens and key fobs to postcards and notepads, there’s no shortage of product ideas to tap into. For you, the landlord, it’s another excellent marketing opportunity to reinforce your brand and spread the word about your business. For your customers, it builds a sense of trust and appreciation which often leads to repeat bookings.
Restoring consumer confidence
Importantly for 2021, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to address the elephant in the room. However much we may like to think that the coronavirus crisis is finally being overcome with the help of a massive vaccination programme, the fact of the matter is that COVID-19 is still very much out there.
For your holiday rental, this means providing oodles of reassurance to would-be guests in 2021 that your property is safe to book with confidence, and that you have a generous, flexible refund policy in place should anyone need to cancel at short notice for a COVID related reason.
Complying with COVID health & safety
It goes without saying that you need to implement your own health and safety requirements on the ground. In fact, all landlords must follow these procedures to ensure a COVID safe stay for guests. This includes an enhanced cleaning regime for the property, as well as mask-wearing and social distancing when meeting and interacting with guests.
Finally, make sure that your COVID compliance is prominently communicated across all your advertising and marketing channels. Ideally, go above and beyond what is required to make your guests feel extra cosseted, compared with the competition.