COVID19 | Proactive Outreach, Direct Bookings & Incentives
In light of recent events, we put together a strategy to proactively reach customers and offer booking incentives when travel restrictions die down. This may be especially relevant if you have guests within driving distance of your properties who may look to book in future months.
At a minimum, you’ll need these four things to get started;
- Incentives or discounts
- Live website (30 minutes to create!)
- Customer contact info (quick & easy download)
- Your marketing message
Wondering how you should set up incentives or optimal pricing? Here are a few ways;
Set up Promotions in MyVR so only users who book directly from your website with a Promo Code can get a discount that you determine.
Include discount or promotion language in the Headline of your property.
Reduce your base-rates across the board. Any pricing changes will update on your website and to any integrated channels.
Generating a live website using one of MyVR’s templates can be as simple as a handful of clicks & some basic text. To get started, head to the Websites section of MyVR. You’ll want to make sure your Merchant Account is enabled and that you have active properties. Website fees can be seen in the “In-App Purchases” tab here.
See our 20-minute Basic Website Training video to get started;
Downloading Customer Contact Info
Located in our new Custom Reports feature, you’re able to export a list of traveler contact information. The data in this report may include personal email addresses*, phone numbers, and home addresses**. You can drag and drop additional info to fully customize this report before you export it.
*This export likely includes pass-through email addresses (codified alpha-numeric email addresses) from a channel that are not the traveler’s real email. Any communication to these email addresses may not get delivered based on the time the booking took place. If it does, it will show up in the message center of the channel that the traveler originally booked on & might strip out website URLs or contact info. Consider altering your message for these recipients.
**Home addresses would only be included if the renter was required to add it at the time of booking.
What’s Your Marketing Message?
When crafting your marketing messages to your potential guests, consider these tips;
Clarity on Incentives or Discounts
Highlight any discounts, offers, or special promotions you’re running. Be sure to specify the amount ($ or % ) and the conditions such as when the offers expire, and what travel dates fall into eligibility.
Communicate and Enable Amenities
What amenities would make your travelers most comfortable right now? Some core necessities to consider would be locations of grocery stores, gas stations, and hospitals. Be sure to highlight anything relevant in your communication and enable them as amenities on your properties if available.
Examples for Urban Markets; Highlight wifi speed, work stations, outdoor settings (balconies, views), parking, walkable destinations (grocery stores), laundry features, etc.
Examples for Cabins/Beach Houses: Talk about outdoor spaces & activities, kid/family friendly, indoor activities (board games / video games / cable), books, work stations, etc.
Your Personal Touches
Is there anything specific you’re doing to account for the current events to make the guests feel most at ease? Things like flexible cancellation policies, more in-depth cleanings, grocery delivery options, etc. could enhance the guest experience & entice more travelers to book with you.
Tying it All Together
Once you get operationally in tact with pricing, website functionality, and messaging, put it all together and send it out to your guest.
Here’s an example of a marketing message:
In light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, our PM Company is offering short and long-term accommodations for all our beach-front properties at up to 30% off for anyone who needs accommodations in this uncertain time. Travelers can utilize this discount for bookings that occur through April 30th, 2020 and are eligible for any stays through April 20, 2021.
Please use this promo code at checkout on our website [include your website link]; VacationASAP2020
Our properties are cozy and spacious, with full kitchens, extremely fast wifi, smart TVs, washer/dryers and plenty of space to both relax and work. We even have some family units with large yards, tons of books and boardgames and space for homeschool activities if needed.
Even more importantly, our PM company is using industry-leading cleaning standards and protocols to ensure the safety of guests and staff.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and need accommodations, visit us at our website [include your website link], or feel free to reach out directly to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-555-5555.
You can simply send this message from your own inbox, BCCing any contacts in one go, or utilize other marketing tools that integrate with MyVR such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Have any other ideas? Please post them below.