Dear hotels

Dear hotels, lodges, camps, resorts,

I would say I hope this post finds you well but I know it most likely is not. Majority of you are closed and those that remain open are experiencing low business. It is truly unfortunate that the hospitality industry has been one of the most affected sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to stay that I miss you! The scrumptious breakfast spreads – crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, scrambled eggs and tasty sausages – started my days just right. I look back with fond memories at the hours spent under an umbrella by the pool with no care in the world. The fizzy cocktails just before and after dinner ended the day on a high. 🙂 I join the rest of the world in praying that this virus can be contained soon so that travel can resume and you can get back to business.

Dear hotels, while regrettable, this down time that you’re experiencing presents you with the time and opportunity to carry out important tasks that will prove useful post-COVID-19.

1) Review your marketing assets

Look at your past content – videos, photos, blogs, newsletters and presentations. Can any of them be used in future? If so, it’s time to update them. Check out which ones received the best response and figure out how to reuse them and create more of the same.

2) Update your website, or get a new one altogether

Is your website up to date? A lot of websites have never been updated since they were created. Have you increased the number of rooms, built a gym/spa or swimming pool, added a restaurant, included new guest activities? Now is the time to include all this information. While at it compare your website with what your contemporaries have. If necessary, take down your website and create a new, modern, attractive, user friendly site. 

3) Do a brand photo/video shoot

With guests milling about the hotel/camp/lodge/resort, there has never been an appropriate time to take new images or shoot a video. While unfortunate, the empty property gives you the opportunity to do just that. Engage a professional photographer to take quality photos/videos of the different room categories, room amenities, restaurants(s), bar (s), swimming pool(s), spa/gym, kids club, library. Take short videos to use on social media in future. Shoot an FAQ video and whatever else you feel would be necessary once your doors swing open.

4) Consider your social media 

The use of social media has grown exponentially since COVID-19 happened. Now more than ever people are spending more time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. Keep your followers engaged. Ask them to share their photos of their stay, for multi-hotel brands, post photos and ask your followers if they can recognize which hotel that is. Get creative with your posts e.g give us a ‘Guide to Social Distancing >>> 1 meter = 10 pairs of sunglasses 🕶, 8 flip flops’ etc.

5) It’s important to keep the communication going

It’s not the time to go dark. It is vital to keep communicating with your audience.  Your past and future guests are looking for information, entertainment, inspiration, encouragement etc. Keep sending the weekly/monthly email newsletter that you used to send out. We still want to know what is happening in the Masai Mara, Diani, Amboseli, Lamu e.t.c. Let us travel from home through you. Include one of your chef’s most popular recipes or your gym instructor’s favourite work out, a relaxing spa treatment, fun activities for kids to do at home. While offering good value for your guests, you can be sure that we will remember you once the pandemic is over.

Chocolate Brownies Recipe from Elkarama Lodge, Laikipia

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