This month, hoteliers and managers of small independent hotels were promoted to provide feedback on how they are addressing the COVID-19 crisis in two main areas: business strategies and marketing tactics.
The report mirrors the industry experts’ analysis as the hoteliers had to proceed with drastic cost-cutting exercises mainly through reduction in labour cost (54% of the respondents) and other operational and marketing costs reduction (for 40% of the respondents).
Many hoteliers took this unexpected slowdown of business activity as an opportunity to prepare for the future, as 36% of them invested in renovating their property, 25% upgrading their website and 21% introducing new technology features for the guests (touchless keys, digital concierge, remote check-in etc.).
As a response to the sizeable reduction in bookings and uncertainty on travel, almost ¾ of the hoteliers implemented flexible booking and cancellation policies and 59% offered vouchers to the guests instead of refunds.
In order to generate more demand, almost half (43%) lowered their room rates while 29% offered free upgrades and another 28% implemented additional promotions (extra rooms nights, etc.).
When we look at the same responses from a country perspective there is a great variation and no similar geographical pattern, which “further reinforces the need for better coordination, alignment, and sharing of best practices. Small boutique hotels don’t have access to the resources and insights that large chain hotels have – our mission at The Boutique Vibe to be the connecting link between them. Supporting the small independent hotels in this difficult journey becomes even more important” said Rim Jourdan, the CEO of The Boutique Vibe.
Finally, whereas the majority of the boutique hotels have implemented more flexible bookings policy, reductions in room rates seemed to be more popular in Malta (75%), Albania (67%) and Spain (67%) while hoteliers in Tunisia (67%), and France (67%) took a fresh look at their segmentation and started addressing new categories of guests.