In times of crisis it is essential to look at the positives: every disaster creates opportunities. Although it may be hard to see those now with costs mounting and revenue sinking to zero, there are some practical steps to take now we are sitting on our hands, for both your online presence and your recovery.
Keeping Your Business as Healthy as You Can
Your TeamFor hostels that are closed: many of you still have paid staff still on your books (although they may be trapped at home in isolation). This is a great time to task them with being creative - ideas, opportunities and to contribute to your social media. All the tasks that no one every has time to have: now is the time. Get them to make videos for 'meet the staff' talking about their favourite places in your destination, researching the best online travel blogs to share, and answering all your reviews. Not only are your guests along with everyone else now sitting on social media all day - they are also looking for positive news stories. This is the time to get to know your customers, and get social with them online, try to keep customer relations up, let's call it keeping in touch.
Virtual TasksWith Real Life on hold and in crisis management phase, it could be a good time to do all those virtual tasks such as updating web content, checking SEO, editing your third party sites, adding new photos to Google Business, checking on your Tripadvisor. This is the time to spring clean your online presence and get more social. Delete all those old pictures, check for broken links, update your foursquare, everything that gets left to the bottom of the list. Think of it as a time for customer relationship management, and an investment in lead generation for the future.
For physical tasks I'm sure you're all busy bleaching your whole building, but it's also a great time to get things ready for receiving guests again with a clean and shiny hostel. Take down all those old posters, add a lick of paint, or fix those squeaky doors. Some things can be done without adding any more costs - so focus on those first.
Some ideas of online activities to keep your audience engaged or things you can do when you open again:
- Take people on a virtual tour of your hostel (for those of you open) or re-share old content to when things were more fun (Throwback posts)
- Run a competition to win free nights stay when you open again!
- Do you have video guides for virtual tours of your city that you can share? Many museums and galleries have them. Here is an example of a bunch of the world's best. There are also free concerts online worldwide, and theatre.
- Meet the staff video interviews (staff can film these at home themselves - a couple of minutes about the best things to do in the city, why they love it etc. These don't necessarily have to be lockdown videos! Unless you have some great ideas to be funny)
- Host an 'Ask Me Anything' #AMA on social so potential guests can ask questions about you and you will actually have time to respond. This should generate leads to bookings in the future
- Communicate with your customers on social media - reply to comments etc (be social!), ask guests to write reviews so you can add some good ones
- Try doing a 'secret city' where every day you post a less known tourist place in your city and get people guessing / tell people about it (to create intrigue to come visit later)
- Get creative, look at ideas for new packages etc to encourage groups later (family and friends reunions?) The Hangover from Corona party will be massive.
- If you have a loyalty programme, think of an incentives you could run (afterwards)
- Do you have gift cards or a voucher? People could buy now (before they run out of money) and claim their discount or bed later in the year.
- Decorate. Invite a local artist to paint a mural on a wall to make you selfie-tastic (if you are allowed out still)
- Think of 'experiences' you can add to your business later - you have plenty of time for ideas
- Promote your destination - work with local tourism boards. It looks like less people will be travelling when this all quietens down, and competition will be tough.
- If you have budget, set up a PPC advertising campaign to run in the future (so when people start travelling again, your pay per click starts to run)
- Offer stays to bloggers to get you promoted once they start moving around
- Host events at your hostel - people will be desperate to interact socially
- Create packages that include local activities to support businesses
- Keep posting on Instagram! Everyone is sitting at home bored
We hope these tips can help you keep your business busy and inspire you to get creative. Let's try to look at the positives!
For help or advice for your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help you keep your hostel business healthy.