Belmond presents an affiliated undertaking of a French transnational company LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, specializing in the production of various luxury articles. Since 1946, Belmond has been in good repute for being a pioneer in creating comfort and luxury for travelers. The company owes 46 luxury-class objects in 24 countries and employs 9100 members of staff. The differentiating features of the hotels are legacy, artistic beauty, and sincere hospitality, which in complex leave heart-warming impressions (Tan, 2020, para. 1). However, like all the businesses in the tourism industry, Belmond has incurred losses and is experiencing hard times due to the coronavirus pandemic arising in January 2020 in China. This way, the purposes of the report are to examine the current situation and losses of Belmond, describe the methods of stimulating interest in travel, propose a marketing plan, and offer ideas on digital media marketing. The purposes mentioned above determine the structure of the paper cover all the issues gradually. All the findings and analyses of the post-lockdown strategies of development are presented below.
Current Situation and Losses
While the pandemic progression, the company has received severe detriment. The reasons for it were a prohibition against gathering even in small groups, flight cancellation, border closure, a prohibition to visit public places, and other precautions against spreading COVID-19, which have paralyzed the tourism industry. Apart from being an unexpected happening for the entire world, it also was long-term. This way, all the tourism industry components were subjected considerably without the possibility of preparing for it in advance. These consequences have addressed Belmond and its holes directly not to a lesser extent. Under the pandemic circumstances, hotels could not functionalize as if they had been before the lockdown. Although Belmond took all the anti-coronavirus measures and continued to accept the guests, the number of travelers decreased to the minimum. Moreover, all the restaurants, bars, beauty salons, spas, and shops on the premises of the hotels were not allowed to continue their work. Therefore, employees could not discharge the responsibilities and serve clients, and the hotel lost a significant part of the awaited profit.
In the current situation, when the lockdown is starting to ease, Belmond cannot return to the habitual turnover. Although some measures are rejected, preventative practices are obligatory for all public places. The financial health of the population has declined that prevented them from traveling and expensive journeys. Furthermore, the threat of another lockdown and pandemic is becoming apparent from day to day, causing a great number of worries.
Despite all the aforementioned hardships, LVMH and respectively Belmond demonstrate excellent resilience. According to LVMH (2020), the entire revenue was estimated at 18.4 billion euros or 27% in the first half of 2020. This way, unlike a significant number of businesses in the tourism industry, Belmond is not on the verge of bankruptcy. Moreover, the whole company was highlighted for “absolute priority placed on the health and safety of our employees and customers” (LVMH, 2020, para. 5). Such results were achieved not only for the reason of stability and profitability of the entire LVMH but also for the reason of competent digital marketing. Nevertheless, the company needs a new marketing strategy of post-lockdown development and attraction of customers, and the suggestions on these issues are presented below.
Digital Marketing and Stimulating Interest in Travel
After easing the lockdown, it is essential to attract people to travel again. This strategy would allow businesses in the tourism industry to recover from considerable losses during self-isolation. Digital Marketing options are extremely useful in achieving this intention, as it has a special influence in promoting businesses nowadays. Moreover, Digital Marketing appears to be one of the most effective methods of advertising a company, as almost all the people around the world monitor and spend enough time on Social Media. It has become not only a way of communicating but also a leisure time activity. This way, advertising campaigns in Social Media provide strong demand.
In this case, using Digital Marketing options is essential to stimulate sales. For instance, emailing all the customer databases and announcing the re-opening of hotels would be resultative, especially adding some limited period offers. As a result, returning customers would be engaged to travel to a particular hotel in the company (Parker, 2020, para. 2). To attract new guests, it is necessary to launch an advertising campaign on Social Media. For example, nowadays, it is a common sight that a company creates an account on Instagram, where the business is being promoted and draws new customers. This method is called SMM, and it has ample opportunities. The most effective way to attract guests via Social Media is proposing some discounts or even free accommodation for their promotion of a company in their account. In other words, a business account holds all-comers and provides a customer with special discounts or even renders a service free of charge in exchange for reposts (Belmond announces re-opening dates and new AR filter on Instagram, 2020, para.3). This option would be fruitful for promoting Belmond as well.
Nowadays, blogging in various Social Networks is gaining momentum rapidly, and bloggers present opinion leaders. Therefore, it is a matter of extreme importance to use this trend and buy advertisements in blogs. A blogger can demonstrate the high standards and statuses of Belmond hotels, thereby attracting a considerable number of people. Moreover, while purchasing an advertisement, it is essential to supply potential customers with a pleasant discount. Via this option, the interest in travel would be raised, as followers of a blogger would admire a stunning picture of traveling and Belmond hotels. Moreover, distributing advertisements via popular Internet platforms, such as YouTube and Instagram, has become an effecting method of promotion, as they are visited by billions of viewers every day. Today, advertisement on the Internet and in blogs presents an obligatory part of each marketing plan due to its high performance.
Furthermore, Digital Marketing contributes to supporting a customer-focused approach. The major benefit of creating a corporate account in Social Media and a particular website is the possibility of applying for a consultation and receiving it without long queues and long phone calls. This way, offering individual consultations on specific customers’ requirements via an account in Social Media, corporate email, and special chats on websites presents an inherent part of a customer-focused service, which Belmond intends to supply. In summary, Digital Marketing appears to be beneficial for all businesses in general, and at the moment, its value cannot be underestimated.
An appropriate Marketing Plan appears to be one of the keys to a successful business. In the current situation, its adjustment to today’s realities assumes particular importance to attract people to travel again (Dibb et al., 2016, p. 137). The first obstacle and fear, which prevents people from tourism, are precautions of lapsing into coronavirus. At the moment, health safety should be the major orient for Belmond. Therefore, observing all the possible safety measures has become even more significant than providing high standards of services. It is worth supplying all the hotel staff members with individual protective gear and offering it to customers. Moreover, the necessity of taking prophylactic measures and regular disinfection of public places should not be underestimated. Showing all the prophylactic actions play an even more important role than taking them in the context of stimulating customers to accommodate in hotels. Highlighting safety as the major priority of Belmond and demonstrating photos of the disinfection process in Social Media and emails would produce results. This option would both attract people to traveling and contribute to maintaining a customer-focused approach.
Another suggestion on stimulating people in travel addressed partnering programs. Agreeing with a travel agent would be beneficial for both companies (Armstrong et al., 2009, p. 37). This way, Belmond would manage to attract the possible majority of the core audience. Moreover, affiliate programs with tourist attractions, such as theatres, museums, and shopping centers, would be fruitful solutions to the problem of rising interest in traveling. Frequently people are determined to visit a particular country due to their willingness to explore local sights. Hotels do not present a superior value for them during the journey. In this case, the aforementioned agreements would allow Belmond to capture another type of core audience. These customers would appreciate the location of a hotel and the possibility to reach tourist attractions without any discomfort. Group and individual transfer to famous sights and providing with an experienced guide would not only allow to attract new core audiences but also contribute to supporting a customer-focused approach.
The financial circumstances are also worth taking into consideration while creating a Marketing Strategy. In the current situation, any improvements in prices would be unsuccessful even in the high price segment. Advancing some attractive offers and discount both for new and returning customers presents a more prosperous strategy. Today, when the threat of another coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis is undeniable, high prices may distract even wealthy clients. Sticking to a customer-focused approach and understanding their fears and losses present another major priority for Belmond in the current circumstances.
During the pandemic, various businesses all around the world are experiencing hard times and suffered from serious losses. Although the majority of them are on the verge of bankruptcy, Belmond shows perfect resilience. LVHM, which manages the Belmond branch too, has enough resources to recover from the pandemic, so the possibility of closure is not threatening Belmond hotels. Nevertheless, the consequences of lockdown are visible, and they have to be addressed urgently. In this situation, creating and correcting a Marketing plan and taking into consideration all the circumstances assume extreme significance. Moreover, the beneficial power of Digital Marketing should be used to advantage too. The aforementioned suggestions on this account would produce high results in such a complicated situation and provide considerable support.
Armstrong, G. et al. (2009) Marketing: an introduction. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Dibb, S. et al. (2016) Marketing: concepts and strategies. Andover: Cengage Learning.
LVMH. (2020) ‘LVMH shows good resilience in the first half of 2020’, GlobeNewswire, Web.
Parker, J.L. (2020) ‘The Belmond hotel playbook for re-opening this summer’, Forbes, Web.
Tan, J. (2020) ‘These Belmond hotels are offering Pay Now Stay Later vouchers for your next vacation’, Lifestyle Asia, Web.