5 Communication tips for hotels and restaurants when reopening
What hotel and restaurant operators should consider to effectively communicate with guests
While nearly every sector of business was abruptly dropped into unchartered waters this year, the coronavirus has had a profound effect on the hospitality and tourism industries. With many reopenings beginning, and others on the horizon, here is what hotel and restaurant operators should consider to effectively communicate with guests.
Be concise and clear to manage expectations
It’s no surprise that everyone is learning to adjust to “the new normal.” To help calm consumer anxieties, it’s critical that businesses clearly communicate the ways in which things will be different when they reopen. From adding outdoor tables, reducing capacity and limiting indoor waiting areas, to managing the number of guests during check-in, be clear as to the changes guests can expect to see. Communicate these changes in advance of welcoming them, so there are no surprises. This might come in the form of website and social media messaging, outdoor signage or a pre-arrival email.
Communicate cleanliness and new standard operating procedures
Understandably, consumers are demanding more transparency surrounding cleanliness than ever before. For hotels, this could include everything from mobile check-in to increased daily housekeeping checkpoints. Restaurants may be implementing increased cleaning products and procedures, single-use condiments, menus, and more. Any new procedures that have been put into place – especially those that go above and beyond the government-mandated procedures – should be added to your website and clearly communicated via multiple channels to increase guest confidence while considering a reservation.
With regulations, guidelines and suggestions updated almost daily, travel plans are also consistently evolving. Businesses that demonstrate empathy and understanding in the current climate will stand out to consumers. Showing that your business is adapting by being flexible with reservation and cancellation policies (to the extent that you are capable) will help build brand loyalty in the long term.
Be authentic and available
While these past few months have changed life as we know it, it is crucial for your brand to retain its voice, and most importantly, its commitment to your core values. While messaging may lean towards being empathetic and reassuring during these times, remaining true to your brand voice – in a way that is also sensitive to the current climate – reminds customers who you are and why they care. If guests have questions, it’s important to be responsive. This can include everything from phone calls and email inquiries, to social media direct messages or public posts to address any concerns.
Present a united front
It’s important that your audience can easily find accurate information about your reopening or expanded offerings wherever they choose to interact with you. To that end, make sure that your phone message and website are accurate and updated, as well as your social media pages and other online platforms where potential guests may be searching, such as Google or Yelp. Place your announcements prominently and take advantage of any special COVID-19 tools these platforms may be offering to help spread your message.
This is a time of confusion for businesses and consumers alike. Stand apart from your competition by taking a position of control and leadership as it pertains to safely reopening, and clearly communicate it with your guests; they’ll be ready to come back before you know it.