The profound shock felt by global economies due to the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted hospitality perhaps more than any other industry. In what had appeared early in 2020 to be a banner year, the near-term future is a complete unknown. While survival is every company’s top priority, marketers need to resist the temptation to slash and burn “non-essential” spending, which is often a pseudonym for “marketing budget.”
No less an authority than Harvard Business College recommends that companies continue their investment in branding and marketing in a downturn — a particular advantage when competitors pull back. The short-term benefits could result in marginal revenue, but the long-term benefits will typically rebound your company much faster and richer than those that “went dark” (a finding further supported by studies NOISE Chief Brand Officer Marlene Squires-Swanson conducted post-911 while at AT&T Wireless).
As hospitality branding experts with more than 3 decades of experience across 25 industry categories, NOISE advises the following:
KEEP COMMUNICATING. Review your marketing mix for the best opportunities to communicate efficiently and cost-effectively with your constituents. Social media is an obvious platform, as is a robust e-CRM campaign. Look to other tactics such as blogs, podcasts or webinars to stay in touch — and stay top of mind.
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE. Tone is critical to your messaging in an economic downturn and even more importantly today, with the many social recommendations or mandates that COVID-19 has brought to our routines. Aggressive marketing, sales incentives or contests fly in the face of public fears, and make you look insensitive, greedy or even negligent to health concerns. Find your voice.
SAY IT VISUALLY. There are a lot of ways you can engage your audiences with positive messaging that isn’t over the top promotional, but resonates and engages with consumers who desire to visit you, but can’t. Define your stories, then craft them in ways that are embraced and shared by your audiences. Be a friend. Show you care.
If you’re not getting this counsel from your current marketing team or agency partner, we know someone who can jump in and help you.