Written by Ariela Kiradjian
StayBoutique and Boutique Money Group
COO and Partner of
To say the least, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful, uncertain time for boutique hotel owners around the world. While so many are struggling with thoughts of layoffs, losses and perhaps even mourning, the prospect of marketing endeavors can seem like a part of the distant past. However, losing your marketing steam now can prove to have unfortunate consequences when the pandemic finally dies down, hampering your recovery from the impending financial crisis.
Marketing Advice for Boutique Hotels during COVID-19
Instead, embrace the boutique spirit and utilize this would-be downtime to make crucial marketing steps to smooth your path back to success. You’ll find marketing planning now will not only help prepare your property for full-fledged operations once again – you can learn unique lessons and help your community along the way. Start with these simple tips:
1.Become a content curator.
Take the time to update your business page with high-quality, interesting, and informative blog content including great images. During these uncertain times, you’re not only letting your clientele know you’re still here, but also actively maintaining a boutique hotel owner’s number one responsibility – taking care of your guests.
2.Keep up with social media.
Much like the above-mentioned attention to providing quality content, maintaining your social media accounts keeps you in the forefront of your guests’ minds. Check out how invested The Hoxton Hotel is in engaging on Instagram. You can share personal insights, regional information, or even give a glimpse of any relief efforts you’re taking part in. Again, don’t forget high-quality images.
3.Humanize your hotel.
In any of your online interactions, be sure to be raw and real – you understand your guests’ struggles during this time. Arlo is offering rooms to medical first responders in a very moving way – you can see how well it works on LinkedIn. Have your owners, partners, and GMs contribute to your blog or social media content, or even record video messages to your audience.
4.Focus on gift cards.
Instead of slashing prices, which can have lasting, negative effects on the boutique industry, try a more open-ended gift card strategy. For example, you could advertise a room for a certain gift card value which doesn’t expire – usable after the pandemic has reached its end.
5.Use this time to plan.
Think now about your marketing strategy once this crisis ends. Consider re-organizing your efforts to avoid reliance on online travel agencies and their associated expenses.
6.Make an effort to fundraise for your employees.
With layoffs and staff reductions rampant, assisting your most valuable assets is a very positive move. Strategize ways to help and make your efforts clear. Proper Hospitality is leading by example by doing just this.
7.Form partnerships with other local businesses.
During times such as these, it’s crucial to work towards the good of the community. Whether your endeavors assist your fellow business owners or the community at large, your collaboration will not go unnoticed. Consider how the Betsy and FIU Miami Beach Urban Studios are partnering for an online arts saloon program.
8.Fight the invisible enemy.
Perhaps most importantly, learn what you can do to assist your local efforts towards thwarting the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Domio recently offered free temporary shelter to tornado victims in Tennessee. Actions other hotels have taken include:
-Starting a community relief fund
-Providing resources or facilities to aid workers and officials
-Transforming your hotel into a temporary hospital facility
History shows that hotels that show a genuine focus on the greater good during a crisis eventually lead the marketing game at its end. Overall, your efforts will benefit the world, your community, and your hotel. Just remember that in all your marketing efforts, it’s crucial to keep in mind what BLLA stated years ago – a “boutique hotel is much more than just a hotel;” keep the culture you’ve created at the forefront of all your marketing and relief efforts.
Please join the campaign to #SaveBoutiqueHotels and remain #BoutiqueStrong.