Looking at data from the Office for National Statistics released in January 2021, through a freedom of information request reveals that, as of 2020, there were almost 10,000 hotel businesses registered in the UK. These will vary widely from small, boutique independents to chains that are set up to accommodate large numbers of guests at any given time.
It doesn’t matter into which category yours fits; you need to be able to stand out from the crowd in order to thrive. This is especially relevant in an age where technology and social media play an increasingly pivotal role in consumer behavior. But how exactly can you do that? Below in this article, you’ll be able to delve into multiple ideas and insights on this topic. Read on to find out.
Prioritize the basics
The first thing you need to consider is that you have all the essentials in place and are doing them well. High on that list should be the cleanliness of your hotel. Customers are unlikely to return to any accommodation which fails to meet these standards, so you need to ensure that the facilities are cleaned thoroughly and regularly.
The same applies to your health and safety requirements – for example, confirming that all of your smoke alarms are working as they should, with fire exits and fire extinguishers located where they are needed. You will also have to take into account any paperwork and documentation, such as a license to sell alcohol or hotel insurance which may cover you.
Expand your horizons
Where possible, it can be beneficial to continually upgrade your offering in order to give your guests reasons to keep coming back. This could come in the form of partnering with local florists to greet guests with flowers, a spa facility, a taxi service to and from local airports, or additional services such as massages or exercise classes.
These will require an additional investment, but you could soon start to see a return on that if you’re able to set yourself apart from the competition as a result.
An effective method of attracting new business can be to offer discounts to first-time guests. This provides you with the opportunity to deliver an experience that they won’t forget, for excellent value.
If their stay is an enjoyable one, they are more likely to return to your hotel in the future, even if they are no longer receiving the reduced rate.
Another example could be offering bigger discounts for longer stays. This way you can incentivize your customers to spend more in your hotel while discouraging them to look elsewhere.
Target wealthier customers
A huge part of running a successful business is knowing your audience and how you can target them. The luxury hotel market is one that has seen significant growth in recent years so, if you’re pitching your offering at high-net-worth individuals, it’s encouraging to know that there is a demand for your services if you get it right.
As good as it may sound, It’s easier said than done, of course, but if you can attract a core of wealthier customers and clientele who are impressed by your hotel and services, it could set up your business to thrive in 2024 and beyond.
Below we will delve into some of the modern marketing methods, using social media and digital marketing, that you could implement to target and reach those customers and benefit from new business.
Use E-commerce and social media to your advantage
Using platforms such as Airbnb and Meta (Instagram, Facebook etc) effectively can make or break your hotel business in today’s increasingly digital world. Therefore ensuring you take advantage of the services these platforms offer to increase your visibility and online presence is a must.
A simple example could be setting up an Instagram page for your hotel with high-quality, enticing images to attract new customers or having them tag your hotel via Instagram stories and posts. The latter creates free digital advertising and if you’re lucky enough to have an influencer with a large following do this, you could instantly reach a substantial number of people for next to no cost.
Making your premises photo-worthy
Following on from the points above, it goes without saying that having a beautiful interior and well-presented food and cocktails is imperative in order to encourage customers to get their phones out and share their experience while staying in your hotel.
If you already run a hotel business – consider investing and renovating the interior of your hotel to generate more social media advertising through your customers. As for the food and cocktails – hiring the best chefs and bartenders you possibly can, will pay dividends down the line as more and more of your customers recommend your bar and restaurant area to friends and family.
Other offerings you could consider
One type of service, in particular for smaller hotels, which isn’t widely available but could be considered is offering conference and meeting room bookings. Of course, this is more of a challenge and potentially uneconomical for small hotels, but if you’re serious about investing in your hotel to expand it, this is well worth thinking about.
Similarly, you could host events such as weddings, engagement parties, and so on if you haven’t been doing this already. This may not require much more investment and or expansion of your hotel but could easily boost the number of clients your hotel receives.
Ultimately, these ideas and suggestions depend on your budget and the level of service you offer. If you already implement all of the above, you should enjoy a decent amount of business despite economic headwinds.
However, if you’re new to the industry, this could serve as a checklist for your future endeavors. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, 2024 could be a challenging year due to uncertain economic activity; that being said uncertainty is often a key route to lead you to new opportunities.