Battle Mother Nature with your Website

With the recent hurricanes in the southern US I thought it prudent to put together some tips for combating the whims of Mother Nature. By having a plan you can be prepared to cope with the challenges that may come your way due to a variety of weather-related and even man-made emergencies. Form hurricanes to blizzards, the unexpected is a given when traveling to certain parts of the world. Making sure your guests, future guests and potential bookers are taken care of – you’ll come out the other side of the storm in good shape.

The key to handling these issues with professional efficiency is a PLAN. What will you do if a hurricane hits your hotel next week? Do you have a step by step marketing checklist to make sure things are set in motion with a simple phone call? Take the time to set yourself up now – and the obstacles Mother Nature leaves behind will be less daunting.

Marketing in Spite of Mother Nature

Using your website is a great way to keep your current guests, future bookings and possible customers informed as to the status of your property or properties. Spend a few minutes with your webmaster or SEM company coming up with a plan that can be put into action with a quick phone call or email.

Keep guests/ future guests updated
Here are a few examples of hotels using their web sites keeping guests and even employees updated as to the status of reservations and closing:

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From Wyndham Hotel Galvez

These are both excellent examples of taking the time to convey a small bit of information. I bet every guest and employee that visited the Moody Gardens site felt a bit of comfort in knowing they’ve been thought of and they know the property will open again on Sept. 21st.

Having a policy in place and published is also a good idea. Wyndam’s Hurricane Policy is really good, and lets guests know where they stand.

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Post photos
Sometimes damage caused by Mother Nature can completely miss certain areas, or the devastation to certain areas can be exaggerated. If your area and property missed the brunt and is open and comfortable for business – then post date-stamped photos to prove it.

Transportation updates
Airport closures, bridge malfunctions – things happen and when a guest may be inconvenienced getting to your property – providing them with information on the easiest route will alleviate having an already disgruntled guest showing up at your front door. You might send them an email w/ alternate directions, send a sms/text message to their cell phone. Maybe even meet their flight with a driver to deliver them safely and without hassle. Taking advantage of small opportunities to excel in a time of adversity is a great way to earn repeat customers.

Family and Friend Messages
I had some friends that were stuck in the Cayman Islands during a tropical storm a few years back. I don’t know the exact circumstances but a change in direction along with limited flights and they were stranded. The resort they were staying in offered them immediate access to a phone and computer as soon as they found out they would be riding out the storm so they could notify loved ones that they were being taken care of and would contact them as soon as they could. The hotel’s location made this preparation necessary – and because they were treated like royalty with intense rain and winds whipping around outside – my friends have gone back to the same resort every year since.

So take the time during your off season – or right now – to formulate a plan of attack – and a plan for getting your efforts off the ground. It can be as simple as calling corporate – or your marketing firm or webmaster in a different city or state.

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