To be specific, the restrictions in the Republic of Ireland are outlined as follows:
From 1st December: Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may open with services limited to residents only.
From 4th December: Restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants (serving a substantial meal) may reopen for indoor dining with additional restrictions, (including requirement for meals to be prepared on-site). This includes access for non-residents to restaurants in hotels.
From 18th December to 6th January: Travel outside your county is permitted.
From 7th January: The measures put in place prior to 18th December will apply, subject to ongoing review of the trajectory of the virus.
With ease of restrictions in mind, we’ve collated a few top tips for you to consider and implement easily as you prepare for reopening from December 1st.
Your website content – the must haves
- Firstly, review and amend all of your Covid-19/Level related website content to reflect your reopening
- Review all your pages, double check your links and use compressed high resolution images on your pages
- Make sure your Safety Charter logo and information is clearly visible, you still want guests to feel reassured
- Review your T&Cs and make sure your language continues alluding to flexibility and understanding
- Update all your Christmas content with new menus, offers, and all necessary information!
- Update your action bar to reflect your gift voucher offers, if you have them. If not, use it to promote your latest offer – maybe a ‘reconnect’ package
- Make sure you keep content easily visible on the following:
– New cleanliness standards
– In room dining options
– Contact free check in/out
Your rate plans
Now’s the time to make doubly triply sure you have all your winter offers loaded and available on your booking engine, including your Christmas and New Year’s Eve packages. Consider the days between Christmas and New Year’s too, and remember this will be a popular time for bookings!
It’s fair to say that there will likely be an increase in interest and demand for hotels over Christmas now that restrictions are officially eased.
Your social channels
Using your social channels can be a really easy, effective way of communicating updates to your guests, potential guests and interested followers. Given the speed at which the situation is changing, it’s a handy way of keeping everyone informed.
Try and inject a little fun and excitement into your activity by running an Instagram or Facebook competition! This will help to promote your winter offers, inform people you’re back in business, and will also help bring a dose of much needed Christmas spirit and joy into someone’s life after a long, arduous year!
Maybe you could ask people to share a memory or photo in your hotel, tagging you in the process. You can use this content too, which is an added bonus. Further your reach again by using the hashtag #supportlocalbusiness
Your Google My Business profile
It’s really important that you have the most up to date information on your Google My Business profile throughout this whole period. It will avoid so much confusion at an already very confusing time for businesses and consumers.
Some properties have marked their GMB profile to temporarily closed. If you’re opening for business in December, make sure to mark yourself open at the right time. Take a look at and revise your basic information content, imagery, contact us information and opening hours, too.
If people have asked questions in the Q&A section, answer them. Spot check some dates in the Hotel Ads section. Are OTAs showing rates for dates where your property is closed? If they are, contact them to close out the allocations. Finally, take a look at your reviews/testimonials and take notes.
We think you should continue your focus on selling vouchers too!
We’ve seen a significant increase in gift voucher campaigns across our clients this year compared to last year. We’ve also seen these campaigns start earlier than last year, which naturally makes for a competitive market.
Here are a few of our latest voucher stats:
- Month to date across ROI properties we’ve seen an increase of 13% in volume of gift vouchers sold
- Revenue of gift vouchers sold has increased by 9%
- Average Transaction Value has decreased by -4%, which shows us that customers are buying lower value vouchers this year. This makes sense, given the year that’s in it
- For NI/UK properties there’s a decrease in volume of gift vouchers sold by -30%
- Revenue has also decreased by -38%
- Average transaction value has decreased by -12%, a larger difference compared to ROI properties
A few reminder tips:
- Review your vouchers – ensure your price points, T&Cs and imagery are all up to date
- Make sure they have the expiration date outlined, as per new legislation since Dec 2019
- Have you launched a Christmas-themed voucher? The advice to consumers this year is to buy local, support Irish businesses, whenever possible, so get involved and make it easier for people to buy a ‘Christmassy’ gift by reflecting this theme in your communication and design
- Can you start monetary vouchers at a lower price point, for example, from €25? Consider the fact that average transaction value has decreased. People are still buying vouchers – just not everyone can afford a splurge
- Send an ezine to your database advising them of your reopening, reminding them of your key winter offers, reassuring them of your sanitation and social distancing policies and a message outlining your excitement at welcoming them back
- Think further down the line, not just about winter. We recommend you load up your booking engine as far in advance as you possibly can with offers for each season in 2021
- Take a look at the school holidays calendar for 2021 and think about how you can market offers around those midterm breaks
- Make sure you consistently review your competitors’ activity and check what they’re doing differently. What could you emulate, does anything seem to be working well?
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