There is no doubt that the hospitality industry was one of the worst hit sectors in 2020. This year has gotten off to a rocky start, with no set plan in place, but it’s vital to listen to industry experts and prepare for the season ahead.

Fáilte Ireland hosted a Survive To Thrive webinar in early February and I wanted to share six key points that might help businesses working in the hospitably sector who are preparing to re-open. There are some great insights to who your customer is, what they’re looking for, how to market to them and how to assure them a safe and enjoyable experience.

    Life after COVID will take time to navigate but the first people to travel will be family and friends. You should adapt your marketing plan and offering to cater for this market. Think about local family attractions, outdoor spaces and nature spots to give travellers a place to explore while in Donegal.
    There will be some fear and travel anxiety for people who haven’t ventured out in almost a year, so assure your customers with a safety message. Let them know it’s safe to travel and more importantly, the measures you’re going to make it safe. Use video to showcase your team working hard and getting ready for a new season. Use platforms such as social media to generate awareness and reach your audience.
    According to the Central Bank of Ireland, there has been huge growth in household savings, so people will want an opportunity to spend and enjoy themselves this summer. This doesn’t mean you have to increase your prices; it just means look for ways to add value to your business or product. For example, if you have a hotel / rental property, include an option to add a luxury welcome pack. Champion local products like Donegal Farmhouse Cheese, Filligans homemade chutneys, relishes and preserves, drinks from Football Special and toasting kits from Mallow Mia. These little added extras increase your customer experience and also promote other local brands.
    Last year (truly) opened our eyes to how vital online and digital marketing campaigns are. Hospitality businesses had to engage in digital adaptions from selling online, creating booking mechanics and using social media to engage with customers. We work with some fantastic Donegal businesses and helped them rise to the challenge of moving online. From launching new online stores and helping businesses craft their online voice, these digital adaptions opened the door to new customers with direct feedback to help them continue to grow.
    We have all become local tourists and have discovered our home market. We’ve explored and found lots more things to see and do in our locality. Use this as an opportunity to share those unknown hidden gems and bring more people to your business. Located in north Donegal Wild Atlantic Camp and Lough View Cottage has a host of local attractions from Ards Forest Park, Doe Caste and Donegal Boardwalk to Burtonport Railway, Muckish Mountain and championship links golf courses. Use these hidden gems to promote your Donegal getaway. 2021 is the year to #keepdiscovering.
    Mass events won’t be welcomed in 2021, but one thing that will take a hold is outdoor dining. Donegal is fast becoming a foodie destination so prepare for outdoor dining facilities. Mac’s Deli in Letterkenny quickly adapted last year with additional outdoor space and the Hooked & Cooked Seafood Experience in Killybegs can be enjoyed overlooking the harbor.

Even with these tips, we know things will be challenging. If you’re struggling with your PR, marketing or social media management, give us a call to see how we can help. Our expertise and knowlege can save you time and money.

Contact Grace on or call 086 054 5064