Industry Update
Opinion Article25 September 2020

Update COVID-19 Hotel Attributes On 3rd Party Websites

By Sonya Taylor, Director of Operations and Marketing at Cogwheel Marketing

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Every webinar, training, and travel-related article has heavily leaned on the notion that making travelers feel safe while staying in your hotel or visiting your city is how we will get our occupancy back up.

By this point, you surely have a pop up or landing page dedicated to new protocols around COVID-19. If not, start there, then come back and read the rest of this article.

Is your hotel utilizing all of the opportunities on local listings, OTAs and brands have done to help us get the word out? We have a feeling you may have missed a few and we are here to help you navigate those opportunities.

Google My Business, TripAdvisor and OTA's COVID-19 Attributes

It's weird to see those labeled together, right?

Google my Business, Trip Advisor, and OTA's have set up their COVID-19 communication opportunities as check boxes.

  • OTA's - Booking.com, Expedia, and Priceline/Agoda have all set up their COVID-19 information as a series of "check boxes." Log in to your extranets, find the "Healthy and Safety" section, and check off any information that is relevant to your hotel. Additionally, consider pre-stay emails to communicate an service or amenity changes prior to arrival. In Expedia Partner Central, go to Guest Relations > Messages > Templates. In the Admin Portal of Booking.com go to Property > Messaging Preferences > Message Templates.
  • TripAdvisor - Trip Advisor is a lot like the OTA's with their check marks. For some reason, this hasn't been built into the navigation. Once you log into your page, there is a call to action button right under the hotel's name and image
  • Google My Business - Google only asks 1 question regarding COVID-19, "Do you offer discounts or accommodations for essential workers?" Anyone else surprised to see the king of search only asks 1 question? There were also late to offering hotels temporary closure options. If you want to share more information, utilize that question and answer section of your knowledge panel and ask "What is your hotel doing to ensure guests are safe?" then answer the question as you see fit and leave a link to your hotel's cleanliness standards.

Bing COVID-19 Attributes

That's right, Bing gets its own section because what they are doing is BETTER than Google.

Inside "Bing Places" (where you manage your Bing listing), you can add an announcement that will show up on your Bing Knowledge Graph and you can put in a website for guests to find more information. We suggest a link to your hotel's initiatives that is hopefully on your website.

Facebook COVID-19 Attributes

Admittedly, we were surprised to find this. Inside your hotel's business page, click on "Edit Page Info" here you will find a COVID-19 Update. Here you will choose one of 4 updates and have the ability to add a link. We suggest, again, a link to your hotel's new cleanliness protocols on your website.

Branded Hotels COVID-19 Attributes

Branded hotels have gone through extensive changes to their cleanliness standards making guests feel more at home, so go on, get out there and make your potential guests feel safe to visit no matter what their reason is for traveling.

Marriott recently rolled out a COVID-19 module. This module is hotel-specific and allows you to be as detailed as you can in showcasing your hotel's efforts in keeping guests and employees safe.

For some brands under the Marriott umbrella, this is a required module and the fee is waived for the first year, for other brands you can opt into creating the module for your hotel but you will have to pay a fee.

Don't have a public link for your brand's cleanliness protocols? Well, here is your shortcut:

Once you have done all this, you are ready to start strategically spending money. Here is where you need to allocate your hotel marketing funds in a COVID-19 world.

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