Welcome to the show notes of the Boostly Podcast Season 8 Episode 2. This is a recap of my live video on Facebook where I talked about smart and effective advice to get bookings during the Coronavirus.
Here’s the link to the audio:
Here’s the link to the video:
Timestamp for this episode
3:00 On Cancellations
9:00 On New Bookings
10:00 Contact current bookings
11:20 Contact previous guests
14:00 Offer facilities for work-from-home services
18:00 For accommodations near care homes or hospitals
19:00 On Cleanliness
21:00 Call Restaurants/Cafes in the area
22:40 Just be nice
25:00 Build a local network of hospitality businesses
27:00 Don’t stop doing sales and marketing
27:40 On pricing
28:50 Start selling gift vouchers
30:50 The reason why I’m doing this
31:20 Leave a review on Apple podcasts
31:45 Final Thank Yous
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If you want the full write-up, read below:
On Cancellations during the Coronavirus crisis
There’s obviously been a lot of cancellations that have happened since the last week. This doesn’t mean that that person is going to cancel and that you’re never going to hear from again. If you’ve got a cancellation that has come in, I would contact them by phone call and make it personal. what I would be looking to achieve on this is just be 100% honest and vulnerable and just say “We’re really looking forward to your stay. As you know, we’ve got a crisis happening all over the world and we would have really loved for you to come and stay with us but I totally get it in this time. And it’s the current climate that you don’t feel comfortable in travelling or you can’t travel because of lockdowns. What what I wanted to do is I wanted to offer you a credit. This is a credit, a gift voucher credit, whatever you want to call it, but you can use it whenever you deem fit. And to show our gratitude is that if you let us keep this, there’s revenue that has already been put aside in our budget over the course of the next couple of months, when you do come to rebook, we’ll give you an additional 5% discount.”
You can do that because you’re not paying the commission fees to the OTAs. For bookings via Airbnb, you can also stress the importance that they won’t have to pay the service charge. So you could just say that you’d waive the service charge that Airbnb was going to charge and again, give it to a benefit of them. If you’ve got 30 cancellations over the course of this weekend, and you call all 30, and even if 20 of them say no, but 10 say yes, then that’s 10 saved bookings, and that’s 10 credits, that’s 10 people that revenue that you will get back.
If 20 of them might say no and say, “I really would love to. But I’ve got to think about our short term income for ourselves for myself, my family. What I would is I will definitely rebook with you. What you can do on the flip side is still don’t let it go there before. Even if it’s a no, just ask him really nicely and just say, “Hey, I really appreciate you picking up this phone call. We really appreciate your time. If you know anybody that is going to be traveling to this area, friends, coworkers, for whatever reason, in the short, medium long term, please tell them about us. You’ve booked us for a reason and you’ve seen something that you like in us. So if you know anybody that would like us as well please recommend them. If you do refer referrals and they mentioned you when they book then we will look after you with gift vouchers, Amazon vouchers.” You could offer a cash incentive, because again if you ask and if you don’t have an incentive then people won’t when it comes to these cancellations, be proactive in it. Don’t just think that just because they’ve cancelled, that’s the end of it. You still got the chance.
Moving forward, I think what we all should be looking to reassess how we take bookings. If you’ve got somebody who’s right there and then who is ready to book with you, then they are more often than not going to be happy to pay in that full amount. Let’s just start to reassess how we take bookings. Try and get more upfront because the more that the guest has to give upfront, then it’s going to be even less of a potential cancellation fee. You can also take this present moment in time to look at third parties that help with this.
There are products and services that are going to become available for the world of hospitality that you can look into and investigate now whilst it is quiet and look to be proactive for the future. Try and save those bookings moving forward.
How to get new bookings amidst the Coronavirus crisis
If you can still accept bookings and people can come and stay with you and they have not yet cancelled, I would be proactive in this by reaching out to every single person to reassure them. Contact all current guests of bookings.
One thing I’d be looking to do is be proactive in emailing all of your previous guests. You can do this in a bulk email out via MailChimp and make sure you’ve got marketing permission to do so. Or you can take a more personalized view on this and email in everybody one on one. So you could be looking at your guests that have stayed with you in the past six months to a year.
I think everybody is obsessed with new money, new reservations, new bookings, not just hospitality. I’m talking about business owners in general, when in reality, some of the best business that you can do is focus on your past customers, the ones that have already know like and trust you, the ones that will want to come and stay with you again, it depends on how vulnerable and honest you want to be.
A lot of people are going to get asked to work from home. There’s just a sheer reality to the fact is that a lot of people specifically who are in the cities, or just wherever they are, they may not have the facilities at home, to work from home and be a parent at the same time. This is where people have got hospitality businesses or even closer to home self-catering accommodation.
Those of you that have got accommodation, you can offer the following facilities, large space, fantastic short stay accommodation for the next couple of weeks to a month, if you’ve got good Wi-Fi and if you’ve got an office, then and if you’ve got a large garden, for example, that can facilitate or even better if you’re in the countryside, then these are the types of bookings that I will be looking for in the super short term. So again, utilize free Facebook groups go and find where they are going, even if it’s the for sale ones go in there that spread in your business out. You can do three to five posts a day. Do the same message, find different demographics, find different messages that you can post out and talk about your business in.
For accommodations near care homes or hospitals
If you have accommodation that is near a care home or a hospital, then I would be looking to reach out to the hospital, telling them about your business and the key points, where you’re located. Now you’re going to have to reduce your rate pretty heavily, but revenue coming in on a reduced rate is better than nothing. If you can set up good ties, networks we’ve been at these times, then it will reward you in the long list.
Cleanliness is important!
It’s the additional things and the methods that you’re going to and this is what you need to show off. This is what you’re going to need to present to people. You’re going to even have to present this in your pitch, photos that you have got on the listing site, whether it’s on your website listing site, or the OTAs your first five pictures are everything.
I think that everybody needs to start looking at building up more networks in your local and surrounding areas. Every single business, whether you can spot it or not, is diversifying or pivot in very, very quickly. Businesses are massively trying to figure out how they can stay afloat and how they can make money in a time where people are being encouraged not to leave their house.
I think everybody now should be looking at how you can diversify and and and what you can be doing. I would personally be looking to call your favorite restaurants in the area, and ask them are you offering delivery, get their latest menu and I would be looking to create a digital guidebook.
What you’re going to be looking to do with that is to build up a little black book of businesses in the area that you recommend that are offering meal prep, offering food delivery, so they don’t have to leave their house when they come and stay with you. This will be a fantastic way of making sure when all of this is over the businesses that are being proactive, those are the ones that that are still here.
Just be nice
It’ll be good to see people doing this for a limited time, you don’t have to say it’s going to be forever, but you can definitely start from now, up until July, that for every direct booking, you are going to give the 5% of your profit into food banks or to local charities to really help the people who need it most.
Build a local network of hospitality businesses
If you’re in a hospitality community start to ask where everybody is. Reach out to them send them a message on Facebook, drop them a call if you know him, just go around and say hi.
Don’t stop doing sales & marketing amidst the Coronavirus Crisis
You’ve got to be online, you’ve got to be visible, you’ve got to be top of mind. So those of you that invest your time in social media, most of you are going to invest your time. Send an email, you are the ones that are being proactive. You are the ones that are going to benefit when you opt in.
Those of you that can take bookings when it comes to pricing. You have to price right now that you’re going into the slow season. You’ve got to think about the slow season.
Start selling gift vouchers
The hospitality industry is going to get hit massively this weekend because the mothering Sunday in the UK is the second most busiest calendar after bank holiday weekend. People aren’t going to be venturing out like they that they used to. People are going to be hovering more in Sunday more home, but people are still going to need presence. If you’ve got family. If you’ve got somebody that you know who likes to come and stay at your place, then what better of an idea of a potential gift would be but when all of this is over, you can buy for your mother this Sunday, a place to go and stay at your property specifically if you’ve got returning guests, so I’d be looking to push that message out something like this that is newsworthy. You could even contact your local paper at a time like this.