How To Manage Rates Following COVID-19?
Trying to manage rates and availability in a normal working week, or year is hard enough but now with so much fallout and ground to make up after the effects of COVID where does this leave you? Should you stick with the Revenue Plan you had in mind for 2020? Should you scrap it and go back to the drawing board and start from scratch? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions because each property is different, each market has different needs.
Some of the advice we are giving our customers is this:
- Do Not Bottom Out Your Rates
What we mean by this is, do not just slash all of your rates with the fear that this is the only way to fill your property. You need to keep in mind running costs of the property may have actually increased now once you have re-opened due to extra cleaning staff, additional PPE equipment you need to purchase, etc therefore it is important that you monitor your rates closely. You can, of course, offer your guests some great incentives, for example, Long Stay Discounts, Loyalty Programmes, Early Booking Deals, Last Minute Deals. There is a lot of options out there to give your guests great value for money.
- Cancellation Policy is Key
At the minute people are not looking to book Advanced Purchase Rates. They do not want a rate that is prepaid, simply due to the uncertainty of this virus and how it has already affected so many people. The key here is to offer a flexible rate, on Brand especially. This is the type of policy that will make a customer choose your property over your neighbors. This is the comfort that a post COVID customer needs to give themselves peace of mind.
Special added incentives can be a big decision maker when people are booking their nights away. Adding in an early check-in option, or late checkout, complimentary robe or sometimes as far as a complimentary bottle of wine or bubbly if booking a certain type of stay. These incentives give your customer the value for money feeling and give them a welcome back that they won’t forget. It is these little added extras that will turn a first time customer into a return customer.