Question :
We own a small 8 bedroom hotel in Bluff, we have owned the hotel for 16 months and were doing well until Covid 19 lockdown. The tourism season is December to Easter and we have the Oyster Festival in May.  All our future bookings have been cancelled and no new bookings have been made. We have a loan payments due each month that I am not sure how we will repay. How can we increase sales, how do we advertise with limited budget and where do we advertise with so many different options. Not sure how to move forward 

Question submitted 27/04/20 @ 05:22am
Industry: Tourism
  • Up

    Your instincts are great – well done on that.
    I don’t have a simple answer, but here’s a few suggestions that may help:
    Build a plan to relaunch, to rebuild revenue. Is there anything you can do to generate sales in Level 3? A different way of using your rooms, your assets? As lockdown eases and some travel resumes, you should assume it’ll be domestic only for months at least – how can you do well in that market? Weekend escapes for couples post-lockdown, e.g.
    When you have a rough plan, get in touch with your lender. You need to try and come to an arrangement with them that can keep you going until you can relaunch. No doubt it’s a tough conversation to start and to continue, but realise that, at a personal and business level, everyone is either hurting now or will be soon. Kia Kaha!


    HI, agree with Phil and building on that, do you have a good relationship with your RTO?, Bobbi Brown and the team down there will be planning a campaign I am sure targeting regional people and as restrictions lift those from Dunedin etc. Tourism NZ are planning a large domestic promotion in partnership with the RTOs so stay posted and see how you can get involved.
    Once we get to level 2 are you able to offer special deals maybe including dinner of breakfast as weekend getaways as Phil suggested, and promote these on Facebook etc targeted careful at say those in Dunedin, Invercargill etc. You can pay to boost your posts and to target specific regions.
    Is there any thing you can say that is truly unique about your hotel? Are you the southern most hotel in New Zealand? In the South Island? Can make make something of this idea..? Get some PR? What can be salvaged from the oyster festival in May.. ? Could you give away a pottle of bluff oysters with each stay, or throw in some oysters and a bottle of wine in each room?

    Just a few thoughts.. Stay Strong and be proactive. best wishes


    Thanks for reaching out. Some great ideas from Phil and Jason. Really good to be proactive. A few more additional things to think about….

    Have your existing customers been domestic or international? Do you have their email addresses? If you have domestic customers, you can use their email addresses to target similar type customers through look-a-like audiences on Facebook. Facebook Business has some really great tools on how to set these up. Looks scary but actually it’s that bad. You can also set up re-targeting ads on Google so that when people visit your site, you can chase them around the web when they visit other sites. This will keep your motel top of mind.

    I agree that linking with your local tourism organisation (southlandnz.com)and also ensure you are on local websites like bluff.co.nz. These will all help with your visibility online. As TourismNZ is going to play a big role in domestic marketing, ensure you have a listing on newzealand.com, by registering at https://register.newzealand.com/.

    Some hotels are creating long stay options, or work options. Have a look at this article for some ideas too:

    Taking “alternative” booking ideas from Choice Hotels

    There is a great group on Facebook, suggest you join this group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/647725352678015
    It will show you are not alone, and there is a lot of support in the group. And ideas floating around too! Kia Kaha.

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