Some hospitality companies will fall victim to outside forces that diminish business. Software companies for hotels, online marketplaces for lodging accommodations, luxury cruise companies, or anything in between can be on the receiving end of reduced business due to a number of outside factors.
Obviously, with the recent events of COVID-19, issues of public health can play a role in reduced business for hospitality companies. Several multinational companies began restricting non-essential travel for employees and popular events like SXSW were canceled. Demand for travel has almost halted, airports are ghostly empty and the travel industry on a whole will continue to feel this cut throughout the year because of the virus.
The numbers in the news cycles for the hospitality and travel industries today can be frightening and their leaders are hopeful for a turnaround: “A lot of people have worked hard for a vacation,” John Lovell, president of leisure travel for Travel Leaders Group, said. “So, yes, we’re seeing cancellations — but at the same time, people who are calling to cancel are looking for other options because they still do want to travel.”
Of course, seasonal considerations and the weather can also affect business. For many travel companies and destinations, the summer season is the most popular time to travel. Last summer in 2019, 257.4 million people flew in the U.S. from June through August. That’s about 2.8 million travelers per day.
Hospitality companies can utilize content marketing to connect with their audiences and keep in touch “in between” booking their next trip regardless of what causes a slowdown in travel.
Content Marketing Can Keep You In Mind When Travel Resumes
Preserving a meaningful connection with customers is essential for hospitality companies, particularly during travel slowdowns. It’s imperative to focus more on brand awareness during seasons of reduced travel. You want to build a spot in people’s minds during the downtime that makes them remember you when they are ready to travel as a reputable, trustworthy resource.
Regular and meaningful touchpoints with your audience using content marketing during downtimes is important. Whether you tackle content marketing in-house or outsource to a content partner, this list provides hospitality companies with initiatives to keep their audiences engaged during:
Over three-quarters of internet users read blogs or have subscribed to some and marketers who engage in blogging are 13 times more likely to realize a positive outcome. It’s clearly a worthwhile strategy as long as you ensure your blog content has your target audience in mind.
2. Long-Form Content
Generating long-form content and sending it to your audience provides an opportunity to engage with potential customers in a creative way while also offering them educational and helpful information.
Regularly publishing content this way allows your audience to continue hearing your name while fantasizing about their next trip — and when they are able to travel again, you’ll be on top of their list as the resource.
Videos are naturally stimulating by providing the exclusive opportunity to tell a story. Plus, over 80% of people who earn more than $75,000 per year are on YouTube. This is the hospitality brands’ target audience, so it would be wise to pay attention to this medium.
4. Social Media
Virtually 80% of Americans had a social media profile in 2019 and 70% of people look up brands on Instagram. As such, 74% of people earning more than $75,000 per year are on Facebook, 49% are on LinkedIn, 41% are on Pinterest, and 42% are on Instagram. It’s safe to say social media is in and your company had better be in as well.
Companies in the hospitality industry should have a commanding social media presence to engage with their target audience. During slowdowns, this presence and built-up relationship can prove life-saving. During a crisis such as the coronavirus, on social platforms, users are looking for authentic encounters with brands that they are familiar with and have grown to trust. Don’t start advertising like crazy without thought to what is happening in real-world events. Have a sympathetic ear as to what is happening, let your audience know you are empathetic, allow them to know how you and your employees or business are being affected in the short term and how you plan to manage things in the long run – internally and externally.
With so many outside factors influencing the industry, hospitality companies have to approach marketing creatively during slowdowns. Content marketing can help them continuously engage with their audiences and remain the favorite for when business picks up again.