Being a success in the hotel industry is the dream of many entrepreneurs, graduates and leaders. Legendary hoteliers such as Conrad Hilton, J.W. Marriott and Cesar Ritz, have lent their name to some of the most iconic buildings and hotel chains in the world and made the hotel industry one of the most attractive industries in the world. Unlocking the secrets to having a great career in the hotel industry is something that many people would like to know, and what I will share with you today.
Location, Location, Location
You’ve heard it said in the real estate business, or even with restaurants and retail chains, “Location, location, location”. The hotel industry is similarly influenced by location. It’s one thing to say that location is vital, and quite another to say what kind of location you need to have a great hotel. An important signal that a location is potentially attractive is tourist traffic. You need to find out:
The numbers of tourists coming through
The proportion of domestic and international tourists
Your chances of attracting tourists
Your odds of getting group business
If there is an existing hotel, should you buy and renovate, if there is none, should you build
Look at Reviews
All businesses are built on trust. In a digital world, trust is built and gained through reviews and referrals. Guests will form opinions about your hotel based on what they learn from other people’s experiences. These reviews provide social proof for potential guests, and encourage them to visit a hotel. In a world of social media, people trust normal people when they are forming their opinions, so reviews are your best way of gaining the trust of potential guests. They are more important than any celebrity endorsements, or marketing efforts. People want to know what other people like them think.
Reviews are even more important when you consider why anyone leaves a review. People are lazy, so when they leave reviews, they do so because something has pushed them to do it. That means that those people who did not have very bad or very good experiences will not feel any need to leave a review. That leaves the people who have had very bad or very good reviews. These people have had such profound experiences that they have overcome their “laziness” and pushed them to write a review.
Let’s take that thought deeper. Humans are biased toward negativity. Bad outcomes just stick in the head more strongly than positive ones. So one negative review cannot be cancelled out by a positive review. For every negative review, you need many more positive reviews. So you have to pay attention to reviews, not just because this is where guests gain or lose trust in your hotel, you do it to learn about the negative experiences, because it is them, more so than the positive experiences, that will drive traffic into your hotel. To your guests, you are only as good as your worst day.
Taking this thought even deeper, you should eat up your competitor’s reviews. Learn why guests love them and learn what guests hate about. Learning from your competitor’s will make your business stronger. Take joy in finding something that you do badly, because it brings you closer to being better.
Get More Leads
Group business is where the money is in the hotel industry. You want to work with planners and find ways to become more discoverable by them. Go to planners where they are, whether it’s at events, social media, or other platforms, distribute your content and engage with them, finding out what they are looking for. Don’t wait for customer referrals to drive traffic toward you.
Use interactive lead forms that you can distribute across all your marketing channels. Tools like Social Tables allow you to embed direct booking onto your website, while gaining exposure on their venue marketplace. You have to look for ways to engage planners looking for venues, and have customized listings so that you are always attractive to prospects.
Deliver an Innovative Guest Experience
The hotel industry goes beyond providing a place to sleep and food to eat. We have arrived at a point in history where accommodation and food can be provided at the very highest level even in average hotels. What we consider 1 or 2–star hotels are, in fact, very good hotels in terms of providing those basics. Those things no longer move the needle. What moves the needle is providing an innovative guest experience. You have to work on the holistic guest experience, so that every facet of a guest’s stay is a delight. Introduce live acts to perform music and comedy shows, poolside activities, spas, fitness classes, and special festivals of culinary delights. Your job is to leave the guest dazzled by the entirety of their experience with you, their every need taken care of, even those needs they never knew they had.
Key Guests Safe
The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of having robust health and safety measures. The most fundamental duty of a hotel is to ensure that guests are kept safe during their stay there.
Look at the safety protocols of the hotel. Ensure that smoke detectors are operational, CCTV cameras are on where they need to be, cleanliness is maintained throughout the hotel, swimming pools are kept clean and are not open to unaccompanied children, room service is always up to date, and that guest complaints are handled with utmost seriousness and speed.
Even in the best run hotels in the world, mistakes happen, stuff falls through the cracks. When these things happen, it’s your duty to communicate them to guests as quickly, and as clearly as possible.
Communication is not a one-way street. You have to listen as well, being open and non-defensive, so that you can understand the needs, complaints and anxieties of your guests. If you communicate well, guests will not only be impressed by you, they will deepen their trust in you and your hotel.
Get additional information so you can take your first steps in the hotel industry.