We are all in this together.
Never before has this sentence contained so much truth. While we could argue that the coronavirus does discriminate on age, the worldwide measures that are currently taken certainly do not.
Today, our lives are guided by one short message: “Stay Home!“.
Not exactly something that we love to hear in the travel industry, which 100% depends on people leaving their homes.
Your guests rely on you
As a business, it’s extremely important to keep communicating with your customers. Today maybe more than ever. More than ever will they be full of doubts and questions.
“When will we be allowed to leave the house again?”
“When will we be allowed to travel again?”
“Will we be safe?”
“Will we stay healthy?”
“Will we get stuck in some foreign country without being able to return home?”
“Will we be quarantined?”
“Will it be possible to keep social distancing and sanitary measures while traveling?”
“Will somebody take care of us if something happens?”
Nobody can give a decent answer on most of those questions today. Except for the last two ones. Those are your responsibility.
Which message do you NOT want to send
Not only do people have lots of questions. Being stuck at home, often bored and lonely, gives them lots of time which they previously didn’t have, to consume new information. People read and watch everything these days. Our uncle in Nigeria might finally even get rid of that fortune he keeps sending everyone e-mails about.
When considering your communications, there’s one important factor to keep in mind. These are not the times that we’re used to and your normal communication might not work. It could even backfire.
Let’s have a look at what kind of messages you don’t want to send.
❌ Rainbows and lollypops
The worst thing you can do right now is act like nothing is happening. People know that this is a worldwide virus. Acting like it doesn’t affect you or like it doesn’t bother you just seems very pretentious.
❌ We’re all gonna die
Also in the category of bad communication is acting like this is a disaster that you and/or your business might never recover from. We don’t doubt that there’s some truth in this, but it’s not what you want to send to your customers. Everyone has problems right now, they might be sick, they might have family members that are sick (or worse), might be losing their jobs,…
Few people want to hear about your personal problems right now.
❌ Old/wrong information
If you’re able to find a newspaper of 2-3 months ago, have a look at it. It will blow your mind how different the world was back then. It feels like earth started spinning at ten times its normal pace. Important decisions, which highly affect you and your customers, are being taken on a hourly basis. Believe us, you don’t want to send out a newsletter today that you’ve written two weeks ago.
Which message you DO want to send
Well, the opposite of what we’ve mentioned before. Something human, positive, and accurate.
This is a time when you want to get personal. Tell people what you are doing. How you’re spending your time. How you’re preparing your resort to make it a safe place for the traveler.
But also personal in how you address people. Everyone is looking for connection these days so now is the time to spread some warmth. Avoid speaking in the third person.
Don’t say: “Resort The Naked Monkey is looking forward to your visit“.
But instead: “We, Betty and Billy, and our staff members Jimmy, Andy, Katy and Lilly hope to see you soon“.
Next, you want to make your message positive. The first thing we see every day when we unlock our smartphones are the numbers of people who got sick or died. The media is giving us negative news. Governments and virologists are even worse. We really don’t need any more negativity.
Sending a positive message is not the same as ignoring the current situation. It’s about keeping a positive mentality. We are all in this together, remember. And one day we will all be out of this again.
Last but not least is accuracy. If you want to share information with your audience, make sure that the information will still be correct by the time they receive your message. Make sure to filter out the fake news. And think about the appropriateness of your content (for example images that show large gatherings or close human interaction).
How to communicate
The best way to keep people updated is via online media. Today it makes little sense to create content that will only be published within a month or so. Only by acting fast, you can get your message to the world before it becomes outdated.
Due to the worldwide quarantines, people also spend much more time online. They don’t really have a lot of other things to do. COVID-19 has pushed social media usage through the roof. Since the lockdowns started, social media companies are reporting increases of up to 75%. People were already spending a lot of time on social media, now even lots more.
An additional side effect is that people are getting better at social media. The elder generations are joining Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram because it’s the only way to see their grandchildren. People start experimenting with the features of their social media pages. Many are trying other social media channels.
Are you adjusting your marketing strategy to these communication channels?
When was the last time you changed your banner?
Social media companies will definitely be big winners in this crisis, but they’re not the only way to communicate with your customers online. E-mail newsletters also still work very well and give you the opportunity to spread more detailed information. Especially in newsletters, the human and positive voice will be very important.
A great way of communicating that many people tend to forget about is your own website. If someone wants information about your resort, this is the place where they will be looking. We quickly checked the websites of some European naturist resorts that normally open their doors in April. Only very few have added a COVID-19 message or even updated their opening times.
Of course, you must have been hiding in a cave for the last months if you don’t know that these resorts won’t open their doors next week. The strict quarantines and travel bans give enough indication. But what when those bans are being lifted?
Post COVID-19 communication
For some, it might be hard to believe today, but one day this crisis will be something for the history books.
While many of us moved from a normal life towards a complete lockdown in a matter of days, don’t expect the recovery procedure to go as quickly. This will be done in baby steps. Schools have to reopen, shops have to reopen, then restaurants, movie theatres and so on. Every country will take these steps at its own pace. At the time of writing, Austria, Denmark and Czech Republic are preparing to start lifting measures within the next days while other European countries will maintain the lockdowns for at least several weeks more.
One day in the (hopefully) near future, you will get the message that you are allowed to receive guests. That day, you need to spread this message as fast and as far as possible. The faster people know that you’re open, the faster they will start coming.
Also here, online communication will be key. Send out social media messages, send out newsletters, create online ads and make sure that your website is up to date.
An extra tip is to maintain an accurate Post-COVID-19 page on your website where you can put updated information about who is allowed to travel to you and which means of transportation can be used.
If you would like further information about this subject, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, keep following this blog and have a look at our FREE GUIDE for Naturist Resorts about how to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
Or contact us for help with determining your communication strategy and setting up online communication channels.