Crises are cyclical. Be it a global crisis (right now it is the Corvid-19 crisis), economic crisis (like a recession) or an industry specific crisis (a technological disruption for example), they come and go. You cannot avoid them or change them, but you can adjust the way your business reacts to them. But what is the right way to react to a crisis that is affecting your hotel, resort or spa and the general demand for luxury hospitality services in the world? And who can help you navigate that crisis so you can come out on the other side with a positive ROI for your luxury brand?
First Things First
First things first, before you even worry about sales & marketing, you should make sure the following points are covered:
- Ensure the safety of yourself, your employees and your guests
- Make sure your finances are consolidated to ensure ongoing operations (even if that means selling assets, leveraging debt)
- Take advantage of any free external help that is available in terms of information, advice and government initiatives
- Have a clear internal and external communication (PR) plan to keep everybody informed of your action plan going forward
Once that is taken care of, you should start thinking about how you want to engage with the market while the crisis is going on so you can be in a strong position in terms of brand visibility, demand generation and luxury value when the right time comes. This will enable your business once demand recovers and restrictions are lifted, to outperform your competitors by a large margin. Especially the ones who were very passive or fearful during the crisis.
The Role Of Marketing
Here are some of the key messages you should share with your customers and the market in that regard:
- This crisis also, will pass, and we will still be here for you afterwards.
- Our luxury hospitality brand stands for a timeless level of quality and commitment, nothing will ever change that.
- As soon as safety can be guaranteed, our house will be open again for our guests.
- We are innovative, sophisticated and always there to fulfill the wishes of our customers in any way we can.
It is simple, but you would be surprised how many companies completely go silent and hide under a rock in times of crisis. This is sometimes due to budgets being frozen or out of fear of being misunderstood. Exploiting a difficult situation and appearing insensitive to your customers and industry as a whole should be avoided of course. But this shouldn’t mean freezing all outside communication and promotion efforts for an extended amount of time.
How A Strong Marketing Partner Can Help You With This
There are different schools in luxury marketing. The two most prominent ones being brand marketing and direct marketing. Both have their benefits and what style you employ should depend on what you want to do most at the moment: Change or strengthen the perception of your brand during the crisis (brand marketing), or keep leads and bookings flowing to a certain degree and scale up again once demand is fully restored (direct marketing). A good luxury marketing agency should be able to consult you and your team on what measure you can take in a crisis to prime your market and your sales & marketing team for maximum impact once things return to normal.
But what kind of agency should I hire and what do I need to look out for?
This can be a difficult question to answer. It depends on a lot of different factors like your market reach, budget, goals and culture. That is why we at Jadewolf Marketing have recently written a 20 page in-depth agency buying guide, which can help marketers and executives in luxury hospitality find, choose and vet the right agency to support them in times of crisis or at least prepare for new campaigns once the situation is normal again.
As a new vendor for the ILHA we want to support its members in this difficult time and beyond by providing useful content and marketing advice. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need personalized advice. Until then we hope all our fellow members and their teams and families will stay safe.