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May 13, 2020

COVID-19 Recovery - Southern United States Hotels


Recommendations and analysis updated May 12, 2020.

Recovery in the Southern United States

  • Get friendly with Google Alerts. Turn on alerts for terms and stories relevant to you so you can keep your strategies up-to-date.
  • Tailor your creative and messaging to match your prospective guests' current reality while still introducing how your property can meet a need of theirs.
  • Follow The New York Times to track each state's reopening status.
  • Stay tuned to our Southern United States Trends dashboard to track COVID-19 updates.

Recovery Planning for Properties in the Southern United States

  • If you haven't lined up your re-opening, get started. As soon as you have dates, start creating excitement among prospective guests.
  • Don't be afraid to focus on other lines of business first. Amenities like golf might be the first step in slowly re-opening your entire property given the unique needs presented by COVID-19.
  • Be sure revamped cleanliness procedures are at the top of your checklist. Establish and document these procedures to reassure potential guests.
  • Activities like golf are growing in popularity. Keep this in mind when revenue planning, especially as we head into the summer months.
  • Experts worry that COVID-19 could bring a second wave in the fall. Make a contingency plan for your marketing efforts to ensure your recovery lasts.

Audience Targeting

  • Domestic aviation is reaching new lows as consumer confidence plummets. This may give new life to road trips. Develop new audience profiles accordingly since your top markets may be drastically different.
  • Develop a strategy to utilize your past guest lists. These loyal audiences are more likely to contribute to your recovery.
  • Get to know your region's and your property's shopping windows. Use this information to develop messaging targeting popular 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 Southern United States are from. Source: Google Data Studio


  • Craft your messaging pillars to speak to the data points you uncover during your audience research.
  • Customize your messaging to the dates your most valuable guests are searching for.
  • Dive into the sentiment surrounding your property. Read Facebook, Google, and Trip Advisor reviews as well as organic post comments to analyze how travelers view your property. Use these insights to inform your tone. For example, if many guests talk about how rustic your property is, include this tone and verbiage in your ad copy.
  • Messaging is one part of your marketing operation that's not about dollars. Focus instead on speaking 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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