It is almost the end of the first half of December and we are still not able and limited to celebrate the holiday spirit as we did in recent years.
There is something very important marketers and hotels have to focus on more than ever - the upcoming year of 2021 (If you asked me, bless the hotels that focused on changing their strategy many months ago when his whole pandemic started).
Before we get into that, there is something that needs to be addressed here to understand the upcoming challenges that are based on the shift in the mindset of many people on a global basis.
Over the past 5 years, it was pretty straight forward on how to target people who were looking to book a stay in a hotel in Zagreb. The plan was simple and I’ll break it down in a couple of steps.
1. Where to stay in Zagreb
2. What is the best hotel in Zagreb?
3. Hotel in Zagreb with the best location
4. Which Zagreb hotel is on the main city square?
I was out with some friends a couple of weeks ago to grab a couple of drinks before Croatia declared a stricter lockdown, and now restaurants and bars are closed. At some point during that night, something very normal happened, or at least, used to be normal. One of my friends accidentally started drinking from another friend’s cup and freaked out because he drank after someone else during a pandemic.
This was a situation that happens to the best of us, but to many people, in this time of day is a no go.
We’re slowly starting to remember the good days when we used to share our friend's vanilla milkshake because we took a chocolate flavor milkshake and want to try both. It seems that the good old days of double-dipping our food in our favorite while sharing it with someone seems like such a long time ago.
Every person has his/her set of challenges and problems, but situations like these, in the context of our stress levels, are unpopular.
Many times I have asked myself if this is some kind of global lesson where the majority of us took many things for granted?
Is this a situation where we, Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb, as one of the oldest members of the Zagreb hotel family took some things for granted?
In good times and in bad times, there is a relevant factor in all of our lives that we tend to reflect on, and in some cases, it may make us feel happy, encouraged, anxious, etc.
The word I am talking about is nostalgia.
Remember the days when we were able to share food with our friends without thinking how there is a chance something may go wrong?
Remember when we didn’t even mind realizing the fact that we are drinking somebody else’s drink, but we were too happy and slightly drunk to care?
Remember when it took no additional effort for the family to decide to book a hotel room in Zagreb?
Remember when we were able to use public transport without wearing a mask and standing in the middle of a crowd without a molecule of fear?
All of this being said, it occurs to me that the time has come for people who are in the hospitality sector to take a step back, have a seat, and to explore what their customers really want, having in mind that they might have a much more cautious approach in the context to traveling.
It seems to me that the time has come for hotels to help their guests remember what are the true values of traveling and what have we done, as hotels, that made us evolve, and what lessons have we learned during the global pandemic.
This should be a time where hotels value every guest like they are their most loyal guest in the history of that hotel.
One of the main lessons that we here in Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb learned is that in some periods during the pandemic, the people that made our days easier and that showed us that there is a reason for a better tomorrow were our loyal, returning guests. This is, by far, the best long term investment a hotel could ever do, they help you when it matters most.
There will be a huge shift in everything due to this global situation, and there will be losers, but in general, whoever valued and constantly invested in quality, will do better business-wise and they have to stay on that path.
In many situations, this whole situation makes me feel like Jim Carey in one of my most favorite movies of all time, The Truman show.
The most beautiful part of the movie is the ending when Truman barely survives the terrible storm and reaches the cardboard wall disguised as the sky. It took many years for Truman to realize that his whole life took part in a show about his own life, after realizing the uncomfortable truth, he was able to leave the set and live the life not only that he dreamed of, but the life he deserved.
There were many situations in life when I was able to resemble with the movie, but in reality, in this very moment, I believe I can speak in the name of the whole world when I say that it feels like all of us are in a weird and unpredictable world and we're all looking for a way out.
This year has been tough for all of us and we are all looking for that cardboard wall just like Truman did at the end of the movie, and for the moment, a lot of us believe that the exit point is December 31st 2021, the end of the year.
Then, so be it!.