The travel & hospitality market is over-saturated with hotels and whether your guest is booking a family holiday, a weekend break, or even a room for the night due to business, there are so many hotels out there to choose from. To limit the overwhelming choice, prospective guests will no doubt have a list of factors to bear in mind when choosing a hotel. Price, location and amenities, hotel facilities and public opinion are just a few of those.
So, if you’re looking to get ahead of the competition, what do you need to do? Here are four handy hints to help your hotel stand-out from the crowd.
First impressions are everything and that’s why Hotel Signs are so important. As a consumer, would you want to stay somewhere that has front signage that is missing, falling down, or in need of care or repair? If the front looks messy or uninviting, what does that say about the inside or overall attention to detail? It is all about appearance and a quality, easy-to-read sign is vital.
But it’s not just about the front of your hotel. Wayfinding signage needs to catch attention of both guests and staff, and again, needs to be clear and easy-to-read. Whether it’s the numbers to particular floors, or rooms; signs for public areas including bars, lounges or pools; or more important matters like fire exits; something as simple as decent signage can get you ahead of the game.
Many industries have jumped on this bandwagon, including retail, food & drink and hospitality – and some hotel chains already have loyalty programmes in place. A very well-known booking agent offers a free night’s stay with every 10 nights booked. But what better way to reward your existing and regular guests, or entice new prospects than with a loyalty programme.
It doesn’t even have to be free accommodation – think about all those extra touches that go a long way. Loyal guests that are part of the programme could be rewarded with money off dinner or even a ‘special menu’, discounts off spa facilities or drinks at the bar. Anything that can be purchased at an additional charge to enhance their stay and overall experience would most certainly be welcomed bonuses and make guests feel special and valued.
Loyal customers will remain loyal as long as their heads aren’t turned by someone else offering something better or of greater value. Loyalty programmes are the best way to keep guests on side – and get ahead of the competition.
Social media is key in promoting and showcasing your business. So many brands, not just in the travel & hospitality sector, have super-dreamy Instagram grids with beautiful (and sometimes, heavily filtered) photos. Use your social channels to their full potential: deliver updates on news and the services you provide, promote any special offers or deals you’re running, maybe even throw in a competition from time to time. Always be sure to respond to other users – whether it’s positive or negative feedback, and whether it’s Facebook and Twitter, or Trip Advisor. But most importantly, be engaging – post photos and videos (especially panoramic or 360-videos), show off those USPs and choose your words wisely.
You don’t even need to specifically promote your hotel – potential guests will love to see what there is to do and see in the local area, which could well make your property more desirable. If potential guests are umm-ing and ahh-ing over a hotel in a specific area, if you’re helping them plan their itinerary, you will of course have the upper hand.
In a world full of bloggers, vloggers and influencers, the key to using social media is to ensure you remain relatable though.
Cater to your guests’ needs
It may seem obvious, but it’s one of the places that independent and niche hotels excel – catering to your guests’ needs is so important. Compiling feedback is great to see where you shine and where your shortcomings are. But, if you’re looking to target a specific clientele, be sure to put that at the forefront of everything you do.
If you’re catering to business travellers, you’ll want to offer large meeting rooms with state-of-the-art technology, remote access and impeccable wi-fi. Additional touches like top-of-the-range tea and coffee making facilities would also be welcomed features.
By stark contrast, if you’re all about that family holiday, child-friendly clubs with activities and dedicated areas for different age groups will attract guests. Baby- and child-friendly pools or splash areas will be preferred over infinity pools. But also ensure that your staff are best-placed to look after children.
Away from that, something a simple as a warm and friendly welcome will go a long way. Other nice-to-have but memorable touches include a welcome drink, a chocolate on the pillow once the room has been cleaned, or even have your staff talk to guests using their names.