The Four Phases of Recovery — How Hotels Can Plan Their Comeback

Capturing pent-up demand for travel is a matter of preparation and differentiation. Our new guide can help.

Many hoteliers are beginning to see a path forward as they plan for recovery. Governments have begun to share their business reopening plans, allowing hotels to better understand the timing of events. Now, the work begins.

To help hoteliers think through their marketing strategies as demand returns, we have developed the Covid-19 Recovery Guide: How to build a marketing strategy that wins bookings.

Since timing looks different for each market, and because we know that shutdowns may reoccur in the future if the coronavirus flares up again, we have developed the guide around four different phases. These phases take government guidelines into account to ensure that hoteliers are focusing on the most pressing activities given the current state of affairs.


The first phase, preparation, should occur now. In this phase, you should create a competitive marketing plan to ensure you stand out when travel begins to ramp up. This phase involves evaluating your marketing channels by impact and cost, rethinking your post-stay and in-stay surveys, ensuring data cleanliness for more effective emails, and much more. We provide some handy tools and worksheets in the guide, with the understanding that you’re probably working with fewer resources today.

Pre-Travel Campaigns

When your plan is complete, you’ll move into phase two: pre-travel campaigns. This phase assumes that most guests are still under shelter-in-place restrictions. This phase does not require a change in domestic or international travel restrictions and/or traveler demand. It does, however, require that you’ve taken the steps in phase one to clean your guest database so that you can efficiently communicate with your guests.

Yes, this phase is all about building your relationships with guests ahead of their next trip. In the guide, we provide some great campaign templates and share some examples from hotels around the globe.

Drive Market

The third phase, drive-market promotions, kicks off when local shelter-in-place restrictions begin to lift. Just as restrictions are lifting in waves, travel will rebound in waves. As such, your strategy should directly consider the types of travel that will return, and when. This is critical because, in order to compete in this new market, personalization will be key. You’ll need to take the time to target travelers who are most likely to book at any given time and deliver messages that are specific to their interests and needs. Again, we share some examples in the guide.

Fly Market

The final phase of recovery is fly-market promotions, which you will move into when flight restrictions begin to lift and airlines reactivate service schedules to your area. During this phase, you can expand your campaigns beyond the local segment and include guests coming from locations that are open for inter-state, cross-regional, and/or cross-border travel.

The good news is that all evidence points to pent-up demand from leisure travelers. As we share in the guide, according to a global survey we conducted with Google Surveys of over 10,000 people, one third of travelers will book travel and depart on a trip within the next 6 months. Capturing this pent-up demand is a matter of preparation and differentiation. Our hope is that our new guide helps you to prepare a unique approach to both, such that you can fire at the right time, with the right message, for the right audience.

The hoteliers who take the time to define a unique strategy that appeals to the Covid-19 travel market will achieve their goals. Dive right in!

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