By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales and Marketing International (HSMAI)
HSMAI hosts regular Executive Roundtable programs for senior hospitality professionals to meet and discuss relevant issues. Typically, these are face-to-face events, but due to the coronavirus, HSMAI hosted a Chief Marketing Officer Virtual Roundtable on March 31 that focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having on hotel marketing. Here are four key indicators that CMO participants said are helping to guide their strategies and future planning:
1. GOOGLE SEARCH TRAFFIC AND BEHAVIOR:
One Virtual Roundtable participant said he’s heard that hotel search traffic is currently down 56 percent from last year. “That really only dropped three weeks ago,” he said. “Consumer sentiment was normal at the beginning of March. Another month from now, a lot will have happened.”
Another participant said that her organization is still seeing online traffic but not bookings. “We see that people are still dreaming,” she said. “We’re seeing impressions, but the demand is not there.” She has also seen a correlation between less traffic and government action — i.e., shelter-in-place orders — rather than a correlation between the traffic drop and confirmed cases of coronavirus in the area.
Another participant cited a travel-intentions survey done by Google in which 76 percent of respondents said they are not likely to travel in the next three months — up 10 percent from the previous week. “We’re all seeing this rapid decline in intent, which is leading to the search volume dropping,” the participant said. “It keeps getting less and less likely that they’re going to travel in the near future.”
2. DATA POINTS:
Several participants mentioned Worldometer, a tool that helps track the spread of COVID-19, to see when it may peak by region. “If you take that data and combine it with sentient data and Google data, you may be able to figure out when you’ll be able to go back to market,” one participant said. “Hopefully we’ll see some signs of life by connecting all these dots.”
3. CVENT LEADS:
One participant said they were surprised to see that pre-coronavirus Cvent predictions weren’t as far off as expected. “We found that our Cvent pipeline in Asia is only showing a deficit of 10 percent,” one participant said. “We’re seeing a tremendous amount of activity in mainland China particularly. We’re taking all those trends and layering them into Europe. It’s been tracking pretty consistently.”
4. RAPID CORONAVIRUS TESTING:
One participant predicted a world in the next 60 days where rapid coronavirus tests are easily accessible — and where people have to have a negative test in order to travel. “My hope is that is the way we get back to business,” the participant said. “Then we hopefully have domestic leisure travel and business travel kicking back in.”
For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.