Leisure travelling could be a reality soon. Despite the recent identification of a new coronavirus strain causing some parts of the world to go into lockdown again, one cannot deny that travelling WILL happen soon. As of the 12th of January, a total of close to 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the whole world. This number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months. The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but what’s next? What can hotels expect from consumers post-pandemic? Let’s breakdown the human psychology of travelling post-pandemic using the pyramid from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
According to the pyramid, a human being requires their physiological and safety needs to be met first before they can attain goals at a higher level. Translating this into a hotel setting, hotels can definitely provide physiological needs for any consumer. After all, it is the most basic a hotel can offer, to provide food and shelter for their guests.
Next, in post-pandemic times, a hotel should be able to assure and reassure guests that their personal safety and health is of the utmost importance. Hotels can do this by being transparent, by showing your potential guests that you are COVID-ready! But how? Here are a few ways!
COVID-19 Safety Banner
Many major hotel brands have started to embed these COVID-19 safety banners onto their website and they are one of the first things that catch your eye on their home page. This is a great way of showing your guests that your hotel is well-prepared and very much aligned with the government’s regulations to ensure the safety of your guests. I strongly urge independent hotels to follow suit as well, this could very well be a differentiator between a potential consumer choosing to stay with you or your next competitor. Different countries may have different guidelines, if possible, use the set of regulations provided by your government. Otherwise, the World Health Organisation provides a basic set of guidelines but be wary that it will not be as comprehensive and applicable compared to one that is provided by your government.
Within Your Hotel
In the hotel compound itself, physical posters and notices can be put up in common areas to remind guests to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Your hotel staff should also be trained to educate guests and help your guests to familiarise with the new laws. While I can understand it may seem annoying if your staff have to continually approach your guests to remind them to abide by regulations, we should not be put off by this. These actions may actually form a positive impression that the hotel is taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of their guests. Of course, there is always the option of using technology to push safety notifications but that will be another story for another day.
Similarly, many hotels may choose to carry out sanitisation procedures in timings which are the least disruptive to your business for fear of making guests feel uncomfortable. However, as mentioned above, performing high visibility actions like sanitising frequent areas of contact such as your front desk can further reassure guests and build their confidence in your hotel.
Higher Levels of the Pyramid
Post-pandemic, hotels can offer consumers to attain goals found in the higher level of the pyramid such as self-esteem, status and even sense of connection. However, this would only be achievable when the hotels are able to prove to their guests that their safety needs will be met!
Post-crisis consumer behaviour has shown that consumers tend to splurge on luxury experiences and goods after a crisis. This was a trend noted in WWII, 9/11 and even the most recent recession. It was explained that consumers behave this way to show that they are safe and they can afford these experiences. These experiences invoke a sense of security in them, something they were not able to feel during the crisis. So from a consumer’s perspective, what better way to show the world that you can afford to travel after a global pandemic like this?
Hotels should definitely take advantage of this particular behaviour and aid your hotel’s revenue recovery post-pandemic. But first, building consumer confidence in your brand is paramount. As shared earlier, there are many ways your hotel can build that confidence in your guests or potential customers. Once you have established that confidence, whatever comes after is your hotel’s bread and butter. Providing a sanctuary for travellers to rest, create bonding opportunities with their friends and family. Even the act of just booking your hotel is enough for consumers to feel good about themselves and improve their self-esteem.
Hotels should not look at this downtime as a missed opportunity, instead, they should drive up their marketing and branding efforts, attract and build consumers’ trust in their brand. As gloomy as the days may seem ahead, we know that travel will be back soon. The light at the end of the tunnel is nearer than you think!