Sales – especially in tourism – can be difficult in COVID times. However, until an accessible vaccine becomes available, COVID-19 is here to stay.
The good news is that if you’re are willing to adapt, there are ample opportunities to drive in traffic and hotel bookings during COVID. In fact, there has never been a more perfect time to evolve your SMME business. You already have a unique and exciting product, now is the time to learn how to sell it and sell it well.
We’ve pinpointed a few ideas to help you get started:
#1 Be clear on your marketing
One of the best – and bizarrely one of the most underrated – ways to increase bookings is to be clear in your marketing and articulate who your products and services are for. Because here’s the truth: no product or service is for everybody. The more you are aware of this in your marketing, the more bookings you will convert. Why? Because the right people will know that your product or service is custom for them. This will also rid you of timewasters from the get-go.
#2 Mine your old or existing customers
Most of us are looking forward, preparing for the post-COVID era. Just as important however is to take the time to look back. Scan through your old contact lists for leads or customers that never ended up booking. You might be surprised that those who weren’t quite ready to book then, might be wanting to book now. Go through your old message threads on Facebook or LinkedIn. Pull out those Excel spreadsheets from a few years back. If you’re not sure any of those old emails still work, check them first using this free email verifier.
#3 Incentivise referrals
Word-of-mouth still reigns supreme. This is especially important now, with society being even more skeptical about information supplied online by marketers. If you’ve never set up a referral system before, this a great opportunity to at least trial one. Start incentivising referrals from customers and other employees in your business by offering a free night’s stay for example. Right now, many people are looking for good deals and getaways, so you’re already half-way there with making them feel motivated. Remember to keep it easy!
#4 Do the work
Sales is hard work and that is the reality. Set goals for yourself on a daily basis and remember to review what you’ve achieved at the end of the day. Try the system of batching, where you block book time off in your daily schedule, set time frames and targets, and you don’t stop until you reach them. Perhaps it could be cold calling a list of 20 contacts for an hour or reaching out to at least 10 new connections on LinkedIn in 30 minutes. Whatever you choose to do, remember to mute your phone, pause your inbox and rid yourself of distractions.
#5 Think outside of the box
Keep in mind that it’s not about what you know or what you sell, it’s about how you position and package it. If you’ve always relied on your site to drive sales, perhaps it’s time to build your brand on a platform like Instagram or, if it fits your target audience, take a dive down the rabbit hole that is Tik Tok. These six steps to enter the golden age of TikTok might just come in handy if you’re brave enough to explore it. If you’ve always relied on closing sales through email, it might be time to pick up the phone and try calling instead. And make sure, you make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to book your establishment by having an online booking tool on your website.
#6 Track your progress
One of the smartest things you can do to get bookings during Covid-19, is to look at the data. Ask anyone on the Jurni team and they’ll tell you that data doesn’t lie. If you’ve been selling online, do some detective work and pay attention to the categories or items that are driving the most traffic, sales, and profits. Really looking at the stats will really help you understand how to position or reposition your establishment and your services going forward.
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