Make no mistake about it, travel is coming back to Canada. As the number of vaccinations increase and the cases decrease, people like us in the hospitality industry are breathing a sigh of relief, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a long and hard road, in ways that we could have never expected.
However, travel is coming back. Your guests are coming back. In fact, the TSA recorded the highest number of travelers in June since March 2020. We know that Canada is not far behind in returning to traveling.
Even in talking to our friends and family, everyone is planning that first post-COVID vacation. All of these factors seem to indicate that a travel boom is coming.
While that is a welcome relief to all of us, there’s a dark lining. Are you READY for travel to return? What does it mean for your hotel?
The fact that our guests are so desperate to get back to going on vacation may make us feel a little too comfortable. If a travel boom is coming, certainly your hotel will get bookings, right?
The Long-Term Effects
Let’s walk through two scenarios that demonstrate what could happen for your hotel during this post-COVID travel boom.
Scenario #1: You decide your hotel is “good enough”. However, good enough is not good enough for your guest’s first post-COVID trip. They waited a long time and they demand excellence! Even the smallest of inconveniences are amplified when viewed through that perspective. Your guest writes a rotten review, which sticks with your hotel for years to come. Additionally, we know that it takes 12 positive experiences to correct one negative one. The work you will put into regaining that trust seems almost insurmountable.
Scenario #2: You invest in your hotel to design a stay that delights your guests. It meets those higher expectations and creates memories for years to come. Their review could not be more glowing. As time passes, and travel returns to a steady rate, that rave review attracts guests to stay at your hotel over your competitors.
While we are creating two scenarios that are on a wide spectrum, the facts remain the same: there is only one chance to give your guest a new first impression. The impressions that are made today are ones that will follow your hotel for years to come.
Let’s talk about 3 ways travel has changed – perhaps permanently – since the pandemic began. We can then discuss how you can prepare and achieve scenario #2 – and why you cannot afford to let this moment pass.
1. Cleanliness is the #1 priority
Hotel guests always expected a clean room, but never has it been more of a priority as right now. COVID-19 reminded us that germs and viruses are not visible but can still be there. Your guests not only want to SEE a clean room but want to FEEL reassured that the room is clean.
Many brands have improved their cleanliness standards – Hilton CleanStay standards come to mind.
However, give some thought to your hotel’s aesthetic. Is it cluttered or is there a clean, simple design? Your guest will unconsciously connect a clean design to a clean room and feel safer during their stay.
Think too about your cleaning staff – are they having to work around a clunky design to do their work or are there nooks and crannies where dirt could hide? The more difficult it is for your cleaning staff to work within your hotel, the more likely that things will be missed. Your guest is on high alert and will notice those failings.
2. Heightened Expectations
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. After not being able to travel for so long, your guests are eager to experience that again.
The longer the wait for that first post-COVID vacation, the higher your guests’ expectations will be. Your guest’s tolerance for minor inconveniences is incredibly low and that will be reflected when they review their stay.
Travelers did not postpone their trips (in some cases, repeatedly) to stay in an outdated and tired room! Create a space that makes them say, “Wow”. Make it worth the wait.
Marketing your hotel is a key to its long-term success and organic content (such as when a guest posts about their trip) is a great way to increase your engagement and grow your audience. What is your guest snapping? Or are they?
Today’s traveler is savvy on social media and no trip will ever be captured more than that first one after the pandemic ends! Your guests want to share this moment and their joy in finally being in a hotel again.
However, what is the backdrop for that photo moment?
You guessed it – this is where your design comes into play. Give them a space that they’ll want to capture and share.
This is a moment that will hopefully never be repeated for your hotel – the chance for a new first impression. It’s a moment that will set the course of your future success. It’s a moment that you cannot afford to waste.
We battled the last year or so together while this pandemic ravaged so many aspects of our life. Now, let’s capture this moment together, and let’s make it count.
At Lesley Wong Interiors, we can help you to reach the next level so that you don’t have to settle for “good enough”. Together we can make this moment count book a call today so that you can not only survive this period but thrive in the time to come!