How to use your web presence to assist your hospitality business through Covid-19

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Impact of COVID19 on hospitality

We’re in a firestorm at the moment, especially when it comes to businesses in hard hit sectors (hospitality, tourism and retail). This week alone I’ve seen news reports on job losses hitting over 10,000 with some big names in these industries;

  • EasyJet crew members are facing job losses of 1,300.
  • 5,000 jobs from SSP (Upper Crust and others) to be cut.
  • Swissport cuts 4,500 jobs in the UK Aviation industry.

These are just a few of the articles that have come out this week, it’s awful news that’s reaching everyone across the UK. Of course, it’s not just those big-name brands in the industry that are suffering.

The lock down in Leicester is keeping over 500 hospitality businesses closed, a large portion of these are small independent businesses that don’t have the backing of the big businesses.

As we move through the summer of 2020 most tourism, hospitality and retail businesses would usually be seeing their busiest months, but this will be impacted by the local lock downs that we are seeing coming into place (such as Leicester) or national lock downs if it comes back to that.

In this blog post, I really want to go through some of the ways that businesses (who are able to safely operate their services) in hospitality can help people feel more comfortable using their web presence as a tool.

Where do we start?

One of the major sticking points for businesses once lock downs are lifted is people being hesitant to take shopping trips, mini holidays and restaurant visits for fear of illness or even just assuming that the places they frequent will be booked solid.

For most of us, it is fear of the unknown.

The most powerful tool at your business’s disposal is knowledge – you know how many people you can reasonably fit into your pub or restaurant, you have the ability to keep people as safe as they can be. All these things must be displayed at all entry points to your business, both physically and digitally.

Let us dig into what you can digitally do today…

What do I need to update?

You should start out by thinking of all the places that a customer might look for information from you.

We’ve listed the top three right here but you might think of more!

Google My Business – Our great overlord Google is still the number one place that people will go to look for you. If you don’t have your Google My Business set up, check this post and get it sorted, trust me – it’s important.

GMB will allow you to place your business on the Google Map service, it’ll show anyone that searches for you details that they need to contact you – such as your contact information and opening times.

You’re also able to send out updates using GMB, if you have service interruptions or are making changes to your business, you’ll want to talk about it here.

Social Media – If you’ve left your social media business profiles languishing, now is the time to harness the power they hold.

Social media is a great way to keep people interacting with your business and it’s a continuous way for you to update customers.

If you are running a brick and mortar business, it would be worth your while to do a weekly social media update on what’s happening with your business.

Answer these questions for your readers;

  • Are you open or planning on opening soon?
  • Are you putting a booking system in place? Will it be members first, first come first served? etc.
  • Is your business limiting numbers on the premises?
  • Do you have outdoor seating?
  • Are you impacted by local lock downs?
  • Have you added protective equipment to your shop to keep employees and customers safe?
  • Do you require visitors to wear masks on your business premises?

These are just some of the questions you could answer, make sure that you are giving your customers all the info they need to make an informed decision about visiting you.

Website Information – The moment someone jumps onto one of your web pages, you want them to see up to date information about you, this should always be the case with your website but it’s 10x more important during the pandemic.

Things are changing so often that you might need to be giving updates every week. Places that you can be giving updates across the website are:

  1. Your home page – front and center, you want some wording to let people know what is currently happening within the business in your town or city.
  2. Blog posts – A really good way to give people detailed information is through the blog, if your blog stream is linked through to your home page, even better. You can use the questions in the social media section as pointers for posts.
  3. Contact details – Don’t be a business that falls short on the contact points (and there are many at the moment). You’ll be ahead of your competition if customers can easily reach you. Make sure your numbers and email addresses are up to date.
  4. Opening times – Let people know if you are making changes to your opening times, this might be important for keeping your spaces as hygienic as possible.
  5. Finally, if you have areas of hotels, pubs or other spaces closed off. Let people know before they visit. You should update this on your services pages.

Where to go from here?

This post should have given you a few pointers of what to do if your business is looking to open soon and how to adapt if there are closures in the future.

The only thing that we haven’t mentioned in this post is adapting your business to fit the new needs of your customers. These might be large scale changes that include deliveries and product overhauls – we will go over some of the plugins that you can use to do this in our next blog post.

If you’re overwhelmed with all the changes and updates that you need to make, we offer bespoke support packages that takes some of the weight off your shoulders, whether you need us for an hour or 10, we are here.

Reach out to us via email at hello@avidmode.com for more information and here’s to hoping that things go back to some semblance of normal soon!

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