Back to index

How can you survive the crisis as an entrepreneur?

Martijn Nieuwenhuijse
Martijn Nieuwenhuijse
Online Marketer

Improve your (long term) visibility!

The Corona virus has a huge impact on the tourism and recreation industry. In the media we saw and heard that people postpone or cancel their vacation en masse, and we also saw with our clients that from March 14 the bookings decreased and in some cases even disappeared completely. Instead of making arrangements for the coming season the tourist organizations were completely discombobulated: entrepreneurs are processing rebookings at full power, are issuing vouchers and in the worst case scenario are making repayments. With all the awful consequences for the liquidity at the short term… With an emergency order to block touristic stayovers in most of the country, the impact for many organisaties is huge.

We keep a close eye on the situation and advise touristic entrepreneurs on how to limit lost turnover as much as possible and the guest receives the best support. Recently we have developed a voucher functionality within Recranet Booking, so that guests can still enjoy a well-deserved vacation at a later moment. Our clients can use this right away because, after all, Recranet Booking is completely in the cloud.

How to go on? Make sure to be ready (online) after the crisis!

It is difficult to predict how the crisis will develop: will touristic organizations be open again within a month? And if they do, will there be a flood of bookings or will people be very careful with booking? Where experts are already talking about a recession and the economical consequences in the long run as a result of the crisis, we want to focus on how you can prepare your organization (online) as an entrepreneur in recreation so you can emerge strong out of this crisis. Tourism is a strong sector that always continues to grow and that is expected to bounce back quickly after a crisis. The postponement behavior of people at this moment may possibly lead shortly to a flood of last minute bookings. Where the government recently said to not book a vacation during the May break, it looks like this period is going to be lost anyway and it may take even longer than that...

However, make sure that you are prepared for those last minute reservations and come up with promotion packages. Give it some extra thought about how you will deal with the recently much discussed '1,5 meter economy', as Prime Minister Rutte put it on April 7 during the press conference: it will be a longwinded affair...

As online specialist for recreation, tourism and hospitality we have some tips for your organization so that you can work out a few scenarios yourself to come out of this crisis well-prepared.

Eight (online) marketing tips for you as recreation entrepreneur during Corona

1. Make time for your website!

Probably you have been very busy lately informing your current guests about Corona measures, summing up the frequently asked questions on your website and cancelling or rebooking reservations. No matter how awful the situation is, now is also the time to look ahead. If you have time: work on the visibility and findability of your website. This will be fruitful in the long run.

Have you always wanted to optimize your website texts for Google or wanted to post that German translation online but it never happened? Now is the time. Work on those new texts, prepare blogs, optimize your website even better for search engines (more about this in tip 4), translate your website into German and replace old pictures.

We also advise you to prepare for the much discussed "1.5 meter economy," in which many of the Corona measures imposed by the government will apply in the foreseeable future, as we see it. Think about possible measures that need to be taken on your location. Process the measures that your vacation rental organization is goin to take in a newsletter or blog, so that you can inform your guests about them right away. That way you show your guest that you are serious about their health and safety.

2. Show off your touristic company with valuable content

The expression “Content is king” is often used. Content marketing is a form of marketing in which offering relevant information (content) to your potential clients is the focal point. Because many people are stuck at home and they cannot travel, this is a beautiful moment to inspire them.

  • Let them experience how beautiful your area is with gorgeous pictures or a video from the prettiest places in your region. What are the tips you always give to your guests if they are looking to do something in the neighborhood? You could write a blog about this that you can then share via your social media.
  • Show how good your (new) facilities are or which facilities you have realized during the past winter.
  • You could highlight a special part of your residence location(s) every week. Of course, you can do the same thing for your employees.
  • Try to be creative about the articles that you post. Write in a positive way. The most important thing is to be visible. Remain interactive with your guest to prevent that the algorithm of social media channels causes you to disappear from the view of your potential guest!

You can process all these expressions in a content calendar. Here you can indicate when which content, via which channel, and for which target group will be published. You can then plan these expressions for the coming period on the different channels. Make sure that potential guests consider your organization if they book their vacation after this crisis.

3. Work on your “own media”

In times of and after crisis, it is very important that you can communicate directly with your existing guests. An effective and inexpensive way to do this is through your own media channels ('owned media'), which you manage yourself. For example, consider social media for sending newsletters or social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram. So make sure you take the time now to get your email lists in order and think about how you can bind future guests to your organization. So that when people start booking again, you can communicate directly with your existing guests.

This also benefits you in the long term. The use of "own media" is particularly a good tool to use at the start of a new season, for last minute offers or for sharing interesting content as described in tip 2.

Email marketing vacation park
Direct email communication to existing guests

4. Work on the online findability of your website in the search engines

Due to the fact that booking a vacation is currently being postponed, it is important to take the time again to work on making your website findable in the search engines. This can roughly be done in two ways:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

With organic search engine optimization (SEO) you end up higher in the results at Google without paying advertising costs. Start by assessing for which search terms you can be found well to quite well or for which keywords you want to be found in the search engines. You can do this, for example, by using the Google Keyword Planner, to gain insight into keywords your potential guests are searching for. To use the keyword planner you need a Google Ads account. To assess your current positions in the search engine, you can use Google Search Console, if it is linked to your website.

Create new or optimize existing relevant landing pages that perfectly match the search intent of the searchers. However, for new pages, it can take some time before you see results in the search engines. For immediate results, consider Search Engine Advertising.

Search Engine Advertising (SEA)

Do you want to score immediately when this Corona crisis is over, or do you want to be more visible now? Then think about Search Engine Advertising (SEA). By using paid advertisements in the search engine, also called Google Ads, you will be at the top of the search results, depending on your bid and competition. By advertising with the keywords that are relevant to you, it ensures that you are immediately found by potential guests.

Make sure you can be found with the right keywords in the search engines when people are going to book a vacation again. With the keyword planner you can find out which words are used the most in searches.

Online marketing vacation park
Google Ads preview

5. Make sure you properly measure the conversions and bookings on your website (measuring = knowing)

It may sound cliché, but the following also applies to your website: Measuring = knowing. Especially in times of Corona when you take a closer look at every euro of your marketing budget in connection with the financial consequences of this crisis. Unfortunately, we still see it happen too often that people are spraying with buckshots; large budgets are spent on click costs, which generate a lot of 'clicks' to the website. But clicks won't help you, it's about the bookings!

You may be wondering:

  • Which promotions lead to reservations and which do not?
  • Which websites refer to my website are actually booked?
  • Do people book as a result of the newsletter I control?

The advantage of online marketing is that you can measure almost anything. By correctly linking your online reservation software to the website, you can see exactly which online marketing efforts or promotions actually result in bookings and what the value is of these bookings. Of course you can never measure everything exactly, there will always be people calling or emailing to place a booking. With our reservation software Recranet Booking we measure all booked turnover values and we can exactly see via which channel the (most) turnover is generated, even if one is from an external website, such as a trade association clicks through to your site. We see that the guest has landed on your site via that site and has subsequently made a booking of a certain value. That's what we call transparency!

Online reservation software google analytics
Example of bookings per channel

6. If possible, link your reservation software with tour operators

The use of a channel manager (also called link with tour operators) can be particularly interesting for renting out:

  • holiday homes,
  • chalets,
  • rental caravans,
  • luxury rental tents,
  • hotel rooms
  • B& B's.

Websites such as, Expedia and Airbnb have a large reach and increase the chance that the accommodation will be rented out. More information about how a channel manager works can be found here. Make sure you are present on the channels that your potential guest is orienting on.

Online reservation software touroperators
Channel manager

7. Collect the contact details of potential guests (leads)

Despite the current situation, we currently see that the websites of our customers are still being oriented; After all, people would like to go on holiday when this is all over.

Despite the fact that not much is booked due to all the uncertainty, it is important to stay top of mind with your potential guest in the coming period. For example, ask the people with whom you have contact whether they want to subscribe to your newsletter or to follow you on social media, so that they are always aware of your latest updates. Have you already posted a message about Corona on your website? For example, add your newsletter form to this. Encourage visitors to leave their details so that you can easily reach your potential guests with your offer at a later time.

8. Apply remarketing to visitors who have visited your site

Remarketing is a way to connect with people who have visited your website before. Through remarketing you can show online advertisements at a strategic moment to people who have already shown interest, but have not yet taken action, for example by booking a holiday.

You may know it when you have oriented at an online shoe store, a moment (or weeks) later you suddenly see those shoes on Facebook, for example! It is a very effective means of reminding your website visitors of your offer when the corona crisis comes to an end. This way you can give them the last push to book with you. Remarketing is possible via Instagram, Facebook, Gmail or millions of other websites via the Google advertising network.

Keep busy with the future!

These are uncertain times and we understand better than anyone that investing will be the last thing on your mind right now. However, try not to end up in a vicious circle of your own marketing activities, in which savings will lead to fewer reservations... You can implement some of the tips in this blog yourself.

Need help? At Recranet, we like to think along with you to anticipate this crisis as best as possible. But neatly from home, via a video connection. Feel free to contact with our specialists if we can support you with anything.

The Recranet Booking Team