Plan Now For Re-opening Your Holiday Park…
Can there be anything more frustrating than the recent lovely weather and not being able to open your sites to guests?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball but we are still trying to predict how events will unfold for our industry this summer. Based on what’s happening in other countries as well as in the UK, we are confident that there will be opportunities to open for a shorter season with various extra stipulations on distancing.
It seems extremely unlikely that the British public will be able to travel abroad during the school summer holidays. President Macron has ruled out visitors to France before September and Mallorca and Ibiza are reported to be indisposed towards accepting British tourists because they feel we were too late in introducing lockdown. Therefore, wherever you are based, people are likely to be staying in their own country this summer.
This means we are faced with double demand – people will want to get out of their homes but they will be unlikely to want to book accommodation options that see them crowded together in close proximity. So, lodge, pod holidays and glamping could be the perfect solution.
I urge you to read Adeline Lenoir’s advice in the article below about ways to prepare for this future demand while things are currently quiet. Although written from a French perspective, her recommendations on maximising the opportunities to bring in revenue are universally relevant.
In France, the return to a normal life will begin on May 11, but tourism has been perceived as dangerous and while the schools are going to re-open gradually, the accommodation sector remains in a grey area not knowing if it will be able to open or not: it is certain that we will have to prove the possibility of welcoming customers safely, but we absolutely do not know how.
The government has implemented several aid measures, including: postponing rents, bills (water, electricity), social and tax deadlines and above all a salary of up to € 1,500 for small businesses. These aids evolve regularly, it is necessary to inform yourself on an official site in order not to undergo erroneous information on social networks:https://www.economie.gouv.fr/coronavirus-soutien-entreprises.
There are 5 courses of action that we currently recommend:
1.) Communicate, communicate, communicate!
If in other times sites may not need to do as much marketing because their quirkiness does the job on its own, at this time you must be ready to be full capacity quickly and for as long as possible after the end of confinement. So you have to communicate now and be ready, in addition to all the usual networks:
– Get onto all the free sites, if only to improve your natural referencing.
– Increase your visibility on some paid sites or additional booking platforms during the low season.
– Unusual accommodation has a major advantage: with us there is little chance that customers will be too close to each other or cross paths in the corridors, we guarantee security without doing anything, just by being ourselves, get this message out!
If you are a French unusual accommodation site already in operation, we offer you our free directory of 115 sites to communicate with (including the 5 essential free sites for all unusual accommodation and 15 sites to target foreign customers), do not hesitate to Contact us ! (https://hotes-insolites.com/annuaire-gratuit/ )
2.) Increase your capacity in high season
Based on the situation in China, we can hope that containment should end before the peak season, that is, at the end of June. It is essential to have additional light accommodation to offer during this period, knowing that some accommodation has an ultra-high return on investment and that it can of course be used in the following years. For this year, the objective is that the investment be dispersed over several months while the turnover will increase over the period during which you will be asked to pay the monthly payments which have only been carried over: rents, water, electricity, ..
You will find several accommodations that meet these criteria in our article “Unusual accommodations for less than € 3,500” (https://hotes-insolites.com/hebergements-ins…a-moins-de-4000e/), with a special mention at the moment for the Lotus Belle which is offered for rental for 3 months from € 400 per month. : Do not hesitate to contact Lotus Experience (https://www.lotusexperiences.com/location-saisonniere-longue-duree) with the code HOTESINSOLITES2020 to benefit from a small reduction (valid in France only).
There are 3 constraints to this investment:
– It is already necessary to have a toilet block available to customers for this to be interesting.
– Beware of planning regulations.
– Be careful not to become a Public Establishment by exceeding the threshold.
Total investment: € 1,200 rental + € 800 interior equipment = € 2,000
Estimated turnover: 90 € X 90 nights = 8100 €
3.) Extend its opening period at the end of the season or increase its occupancy rate
If you were to close in October or November, you will have to review your plans, and therefore seek out low season customers, who are more difficult to find in unusual accommodation (much more difficult…):
– Review 1.
– Think of school holidays in neighboring countries.
– Go and find nearby companies for seminars.
– Create local partnerships to organize workshops (yoga, painting,…)
– Create packages, always respecting the regulations in this area!
4.) Encourage your customers to support you
This is THE time to send a newsletter to your customers, to :
– Encourage them to put opinions on your establishment, in particular on TripAdvisor and on Google (to optimise your referencing on these sites the objective is to have at least 10 additional opinions on each). Make it easy for them, send direct links to your rating !
– Put forward your own gift vouchers, people want to go out, but they don’t know when, the gift voucher is a way of booking without a fixed date yet.
– Inform them that you have relaxed your cancellation conditions : unfortunately, you will have to authorize last minute cancellations if they are linked to the conditions of Covid-19. This is the only way to reassure your customers.
5.) Do not be overtaken on recovery
If the deconfinement were to be done quickly, you will have to be ready to see the number of requests explode and have an optimal organization: a reservation system will be essential to avoid overbooking and automate the responses. The 2 reservation systems most suitable for small sites are Elloha (19 € per month) ( https://www.elloha.com/) and E-reserv (100 € per year) (https://e-reserv.com/fr/ )
I wish you all a lot of courage during this time that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
by our French correspondent: Adeline Lenoir
Content from International Glamping Magazine.