The COVID-19 pandemic is, and continues to be a defining moment for businesses everywhere. How brands address the challenge, how they proceed through reopening, and how they continue doing business beyond will define the way customers think of them, whether they change loyalties, and whether or not they’ll come back to brands that they weren’t able to patronize as a result of pandemic restrictions.
Take Starbucks, for example. As locations remained closed during lockdown, loyal coffee-drinking customers were forced to make other arrangements for their morning caffeine fix. Now, as the time comes to reopen, many of those customers may realize they can get by without that daily purchase. Business won’t just magically bounce back to where it was. Starbucks will need to find other ways to get those customers back or attract new ones.
This is their moment. They can either own it or be owned by it.
Owning your moment
As the effects of COVID continue to be felt hotels will face the same kinds of challenges, with their own unique twist. Everything from guests’ reasons for travel, to their priorities when choosing lodgings, to the types of services they value most may all be significantly changed as a result of the pandemic. The ways in which you anticipate, listen, and respond to those changing needs will determine how well you own your moment.
If people are traveling in this time of closings and reopenings and reclosings, it’s a safe bet they’ve got a good reason to be doing so. If you reopen with a focus on tourists, it may be next year before you see anybody walking through your front door. But if you find out who’s traveling now and why they’re doing it, you can adjust your marketing accordingly to welcome those travelers to your rooms.
It’s clear that consumers’ priorities in all activities are now squarely focused on safety in regards to COVID-19.
Job one has got to be a focus on the health and safety of both your guests and employees. You’ll want to stay up to date on both CDC and local governmental safety guidelines, so make sure to check those sources frequently. Generally speaking, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep and maintain a sufficient supply of special cleaning equipment, sanitizers, masks, and gloves
- Arrange for the ability to temperature check all incoming staff and guests
- Arrange for a variety of maintenance tasks, including more frequent air conditioning service to help prevent infection spread
- Arrange for proper social distancing throughout your facility
…and just to reiterate: It’s vital to check in on the specific government guidelines in your region. Different locations and different business categories may be operating under significantly different directives as the stages of reopening progress.
One of the most effective ways to protect both staff and guests is to provide “contactless” service to the greatest extent possible throughout your hotel.
When it comes to dining facilities, solutions like those from OneDine can help you offer that contactless service, while maximizing your labor resources to efficiently and quickly serve guests in a way that keeps everyone safer.
With OneDine, patrons can use their mobile device to order without waiting for a team member to get to them. They can easily pay, split the check, or pay per item, and have the ability to charge the purchase to their room. They can do all this on their schedule and from the convenience of their table, their room, the lobby, even the pool.
Of course none of this means anything if you don’t tell your guests about the measures you’re taking to keep them safe.
Prominently post guidelines for staff so that there can be no confusion as to proper procedures.
Get the word out to prospective guests about the procedures you put in place, and post that information where they can see it in guest rooms and throughout your facility.
When it comes to the safety of your guests and their families, they’re going to hope for the best, but assume the worst. If you don’t tell them what you’re doing to keep them safe, they’ll find someone else who does.
This is your moment. Own it.