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May 12, 2020

COVID-19 Recovery - Midwest Hotels


Recommendations and analysis updated May 12, 2020.

Recovery in the Midwest Region

  • Stay on top of news in your area. Consider setting up Google Alerts for news items in your area so you can plan your channel strategies accordingly.
  • Be sure all creative and messaging are relevant not only to the current circumstances in your region but also in the regions where you're most valuable guests are.
  • Follow The New York Times to track each state's reopening status.
  • Stay tuned to our Midwest Trends dashboard to track COVID-19 updates.

Recovery Planning for Midwest Properties

  • If you've been closed, establish and generate anticipation surrounding your re-opening dates.
  • Other lines of business may generate revenue sooner than room nights. Consider emphasizing those as you slowly re-open your entire operation.
  • Cleanliness will be more important than ever. Develop new housekeeping procedures that specifically address COVID-19 concerns like high-touch surfaces, and clearly document them.
  • Activities like golf are on the rise. Keep this in mind when revenue planning.
  • Be prepared should second wave of COVID-19 to ensure your recovery is long-lasting.

Audience Targeting

  • Your audiences may have shifted. Consumer confidence in domestic aviation is low, so industry experts expect road trips to be on the rise. Take this into consideration as you evaluate your paid media targeting.
  • Take advantage of your past guest lists, as your most loyal audiences will likely contribute the most to your recovery.
  • Monitor the shopping windows for your region to understand who you should target with messaging based on their prospective dates of stay.
  • Check your audience demographics to determine where your shoppers are from. This may shift with the seasons, so review this information often.

Week-Over-Week Chart Depicting Which Dates of Stay People Are Shopping For

Map of the U.S. showing where prospective travelers to the Midwest are from. Source: Google Data Studio


  • Use your audience research to inform the messaging pillars for your recovery.
  • Take into account what dates of stay your most valuable guests are looking for and customize your messaging to those dates.
  • Read reviews for your property on Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor, etc., as well as organic post comments, to understand how travelers feel towards your property. This can inform your tone. For example, if many guests talk about how cozy your property is, include this tone and verbiage in your ad copy.
  • Remember that messaging is not about dollars. It's about discovering and answering to your audience's needs and expectations.
  • What keywords are people searching for when they find your property?
  • What room types are people most interested in?
  • What are the top pages users are already engaging with?

Paid Search Recommendations

Brand PPC

  • Maintain your share of voice over increasing OTA competition.
  • Generate revenue for your property by adapting your strategy so your promotions remain safe and relevant.
  • For example, work to reach individuals who are rescheduling meetings or weddings.
  • Consider promoting stays in future seasons, as your booking windows may be longer than you expect.
  • Adjust your restaurant keywords to capture terms people are searching now. Prospective diners are looking more for takeout or delivery options than dine-in.
  • Read more paid media recommendations.

Unbrand PPC

  • Monitor increases in Google Trends and OTA competition. Pay attention to the bid trends for non-brand terms relevant to your property to discern when to start bidding on these terms yourself.
  • Revisit existing non-brand terms in your campaigns and refresh those that may no longer be relevant, e.g. "hotel near large event venue," "large event hotel."
  • Complete additional research into area activities that will be safe in a post-COVID-19 world and add relevant terms with sufficient search volume to your campaigns.
  • Broad, generic unbrand terms may have been out of reach before. But that's no longer. Bid on additional paid search real estate while you can by targeting broad terms you used to steer clear of.


  • Only run in this channel if your property is still listed as open on its Google My Business Profile. You can't run metasearch ads if your property is listed as close via Google My Business.
  • If you are open and listed as such, consider adjusting your bids based on dates of stay. For example, if you don't have available dates until 30+ days out, close the bids for the sooner dates so you don't spend money on unavailable dates.
  • For our partners still bidding on metasearch, we've observed more users change the dates the auto-filled dates of stay. Adjust the bid multiplier here to reduce potentially wasted spend and speed up the process for end-users.

Social Media Recommendations


  • Once you've re-evaluated your audiences, you might find that you need renewed brand awareness.
  • Share wanderlust-inducing imagery and messaging, and don't press prospective travelers to make immediate bookings.
  • Emphasize any flexible cancellation and update housekeeping policies to reassure travelers.
  • Paid social media is also a great testing ground for other channels. A/B test multiple messaging schemes and visual identities, then apply the winning combinations to your display ads, website, PPC ad copy, and wherever else you're sharing your story.
  • Don't feel like you have to start from scratch. Consider remarketing to people who have visited your website during COVID-19 and reward their interest in your property.
  • You can also utilize the loyalty of your past guest lists to generate interest in your hotel or resort.


  • Those who follow your organic page have chosen to receive updates from your hotel.
  • Because of this, they may already be familiar with or have stayed at your hotel.
  • Post images or videos of aspects of your property than can bring light to this period of time, or that may be missed in the images on your website.
  • Share up-to-date information about your property's availability, as travelers will likely read your posts if they're wondering about the status of your property.
  • Be sure your messaging and imagery aligns with those of your ads and your website.
  • Above all else, be human.

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