In the current economic climate, it’s harder than ever to increase occupancy rates. And with every hotel and guest house in the same position, you need to do something that stands out from the crowd. Here are our top 10 suggestions for hotel owners:
1. Package deals
Sell an experience, not just a room. Make a deal that includes tickets for a concert or play or spa day. Or you could theme your hotel, like The Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, which specialises in chocolate workshops and weekend packages.
2. Get some MICE!
Not the sort that you need cats to get rid of – Meetings Incentives Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) is big business. Even if you’re small, you can take part – get in touch with local businesses to suggest they hold meetings at your hotel.
3. Social networking
Create a Facebook page and when guests check-in, ask them to show you that they’ve ‘Liked’ it and if they have, reward them with a coffee or a drink at the bar to say thank you. Word will get round!
4. Video virals
Think of all the funny photos, cartoons and videos your friends share all the time – can you create something that’d go viral? A few years ago, the Sharrow Bay Hotel made a spoof ‘undercover’ video about a ‘top secret’ cookery demonstration which won a top industry marketing award. It also worked as a great piece of publicity and cost less than ?1,000.
Guests expect complementary soap and shampoo, so why not stand out by providing something different, such as free fruit or money-off vouchers for local attractions. Or have a loyalty card – if guests stay a certain number of nights, give them an extra night free, or a free meal in the restaurant.
6. Old fashioned networking
Business networking clubs are very popular with SMEs and hold regular events, such as weekly breakfast meetings. There are a number of organisations that run such events for hotel owners, so why not contact them to see if they know of anyone setting up a networking club in your area which you can offer to host.
7. Make a killing
Murder mysteries are hugely popular. Get together with specialist events companies to either run an evening or, more profitably, Murder Mystery Weekends, like the Plough & Harrow Hotel in Birmingham.
8. Go green
There’s a big demand to be eco-friendly these days. Even if you start with small steps such as reusable lightbulbs and ‘green’ toiletries, they’re still a selling point. Check out the hotels listed on Eco Hotels of the World to find out what they’ve done to become ‘green’.
9. Blog about it
Update your website regularly with a blog. Make it chatty and friendly, and not overtly “salesy”, so that people to want to read it, which they won’t if every blog is begging them to book a room! Website hotelchatter.com has posted a useful article about the best hotel blogs.
10. Impressive relationships
Don’t leave the good reviews to chance: involve travel writers and travel bloggers with good contacts in the media. Offer them a free stay at your hotel in order to build up a professional relationship – if they like you, they’ll be happy to write about you!
- License: Creative Commons image source
Michael Palmer is an Oxford based, business graduate and writer. His writing covers many subjects, including business, marketing, HR, fitness, and football.