You are frustrated. You have looked at all the aspects of your independent hotel and still cannot see the way forward to a better performance and profits.
The big brands are taking over, eating away at your occupancy and eroding your rates.
You have a great operation, the rooms are clean, well maintained and everything seems to be in place to be more successful than in the past. You run a good operation. Yet that bigger success eludes you.It may well be the time for a rethink and a ‘reboot’ of sorts.
I have seen hotels slowly sink against the big names through no fault of their own. They have renovated, increased maintenance, enlarged their housekeeping to keep their property clean and yet see their average rates slide downwards.
Why? It’s simple. More and more occupancy comes from the OTA’s because it is a more simple way to sell at less expense to the sales and marketing team. The price of this, both in terms of the rate and commissions are staggering. You cannot compete against the Garden Inns, the Courtyards, and the Best Westerns of this world.
You are competing against the ‘McDonalds’ of the hotel world. Potential guests making reservations whether through the OTA’s or the hotel websites know exactly what to expect from the generic hotels. Your hotel, however, they do not know. Sure, you may have a great Tripadvisor rating and this may help but in the long run you are trapped in battle against titans.
Your website looks good, marketing material is professional, your team is on the ball and yet the situation is not to your satisfaction.
I am not suggesting that your hotel is losing or even not doing quite well in your market. What I am suggesting is that it may be time to sit down, take stock and do a rethink, a ‘reboot’ of your property and marketing strategy.
Perhaps you do not need to ‘compete’ against the big boys in the way that you are doing. After all, ALL hotels are similar in the sense that they all have rooms, beds, bars, restaurants and various facilities of one kind or another. Different standards to be sure, but similar in their category.
The things that differentiate between hotels are the service they give, and the story behind the hotel that makes it unique.
While I leave the service aspect out of this article, since that is something that good training and procedures will bring, I will concentrate on the ‘stories’.
If you have an older hotel, is there heritage behind it? Is there a story of someone famous who stayed there? Was there an historic event somewhere near your hotel? Who built the structure, and what else did he accomplish? What is your family history, and what brought you to the hotel?
Many hotels play up some of those stories to gain a USP (Unique selling point) advantage over the competitive set. If you do have a story to tell, tell it! You might want to start a theme in some rooms, decorate them with the ‘story’. Perhaps menu items from the story ‘time’, a small exhibition, photo displays…..you name it.
More and more, with the proliferation of the generic hotels, people are looking for unique places to stay. Yours could be one with a ‘rethink’.
You don’t have a ‘story”, then think of a suitable theme that fits into your town or city. Near a famous theatre or cinema, perhaps that is your theme for the public areas and some rooms.
Is your town famous for artists? Get a theme on their art and carry it through the hotel.
What I am suggesting is a little ‘rebrand’ to make your property more interesting, more attractive to the web hungry crowds looking for a nicer and more interesting stay.
It could be your passport to better performance and improved bottom line.