What does ‘quality’ look like in 2021 for Cornwall’s hospitality businesses?
Create a business excellence legacy built for longevity.
As we navigate the unpredictability of lockdowns, how can Cornwall’s hospitality businesses make the most of 2021 to secure more bookings? A question we put to two tourism ‘quality’ experts during our four-part InFocus webinar series.
What is ‘quality’ now – New consumer trends
“There has been an enormous shift in quality in the last 12 months”, says Deborah Heather, Director of Quality in Tourism. “The thing that people are looking for when it comes to booking a trip is reassurance and safety.”
Look at your business from the outside-in. You might have protocols in place to help customers feel reassured and safe but are you communicating this well? Has your message about safety fallen down your social media feed and do you need to share it again?
Deborah carries on to say that customers now expect very clear cancellation policies with flexible booking options – booking last minute – in response to Government changes and personal circumstances.
Last year people were booking, on average, with a 9-day arrival window.
Is your hospitality business customer-ready for 2021?
Put measures in place to instill confidence in your brand; mitigating risk could have longer term gains for your business reputation and trust.
Update your risk assessments, ensure you have tangible signage in place and protocols for staff around social distancing. Get these things right and this could create an ‘excellence legacy’ for your customers in the future. Excellence is in the eye of the beholder.
2021 Customer Wants and ‘Excellence’ insights
According to Visit Britain, the South West tops the list of UK destination spots most likely to be booked when lockdown restrictions ease.
With positive news comes huge potential for Cornwall’s hospitality businesses. A rise in ‘stay-cations’ brings new audiences to Cornwall, and as Robin Barker, Company Director for The Cornwall Tourism Awards explains, customers now prefer to book direct with the accommodation provider, rather than through a booking agent.
Because of direct booking, it has never been more important to communicate, inspire and reassure. The language that you use on your website and on social channels is important – you might be getting a new audience, one that you have not had before – so ensure that you change and adapt your language to suit these new customers.
Intertwined with emerging new audiences, there has been a big surge in lockdown dog-ownership.
Make sure you communicate if your business is genuinely dog friendly and not just dog tolerant.
When I visit a certain hotel on the Isles of Scilly, I get a welcome letter and my dog also gets a letter! It’s about humor and it’s about fun and brand personality.
Other tips to improve your hospitality business in 2021
1. Accessibility and inclusivity. This is not just about wheelchair access. It includes mental health, dietary and auditory issues. “1 in 5 people have an access requirement and 80% of requirements are invisible.” says Robin.
2. Ethical, responsible and sustainable business practices. Think about local sourcing, recycling, electric car charging points, use of plastic in your business and encouraging local travel when in Cornwall.
3. Think innovatively. Robin said “I’ve seen hotels with quirky themed rooms or hotels where you can ‘rent a fish’ so that you aren’t lonely! These are little touches which get noticed by customers.”
4. Consider pre-arrival communications. There has been a rise in the use of Live Chat and business WhatsApp messaging to communicate to customers.