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Independent hoteliers often complain about not having enough time to accomplish certain tasks which they nevertheless consider to be very important for the future of their hotel. Indeed, between upgrading to comply with safety standards, classification, marketing, “special” guests, equipment and logistics problems in the hotel, accounting, human resources, appointments with suppliers, etc., it is simply and physically difficult and sometimes even impossible to manage everything.
An independent hotelier rarely has the time to work on stabilizing and securing their establishment’s future on a daily basis. However, if they don’t, others will do it instead: OTAs and the major hotel chains. It’s a certainty.
Here’s an approach which is different from the one that we usually choose. E-mail marketing campaigns to 724,000 potential guests are no longer what it takes to get reservations. Now, in order to sell yourself, you need to develop and operate with state-of-the-art techniques, laser-precision technologies.
The importance of the Cardex
Having information on your company and your guests is the basis for good organization. Why? Because this information will allow you to make relevant decisions and avoid wasting time or making analyses that lead to pitfalls.
As a hotelier, your guest database is your Cardex. And the first item of information that should be there is a perfect segmentation of your guests and their expectations, meaning:
All of your guests should be included in your databases with at least the information set out above. And I repeat: it is a minimum.
By improving the definition, the profile and understanding of your guests, you not only optimize your time but moreover, you don’t waste any more time in unnecessary actions. You only engage in sound and profitable actions. And of course, you avoid costs with a low return on investment.
You will reap many other benefits such as: increasing your staff’s efficiency, working more on your business’s objectives, etc.
Who are your hotel’s key guests?
Because unfortunately, it is impossible to spend time with all the guests who stay at your hotel (even if this desire is present and sincere among most hoteliers), it is imperative to filter the categories of priority guests whom you absolutely must take care of:
- Guests who can generate additional future revenues;
- Guests who represent a high word-of-mouth potential;
- Guests who can perhaps be detrimental to you on the internet.
The first two categories are established primarily in order to identify guests who are likely to improve the future commercialization of your hotel. To refer back to the table and list above, this would give us the following guests:
The last category of guests is also crucial. You cannot neglect them. If you let dissatisfied guests, who are vectors of failure, slip away, they will destroy your reputation online and all your excellent work will go down the drain.
If you want to discover or learn more about the impact of guest experience and your commercialization, I suggest you read this article: http://blog.experience-hotel.com/guest-experience-future-hotel-marketing/
Work on the long term
After you have determined the priority guests for your hotel’s commercialization, you will quite naturally realize just how much this development is easy to exploit. The conclusion will be self-evident: Yes, with such a tool, you don’t need a lot of time every day to competently and effectively work on your establishment’s sustainability.
For example, by correctly detecting all the business travelers and having an internal procedure for offering them company contracts, an independent 40-room hotel located in a large city will have on average 1.2 company contract requests daily. This approximately represents one to two clients to process per day: which is not so much to manage. BUT, and here’s the impressive figure, that means almost 440 company contract requests per year!
Let’s do a little math. Suppose that you only convert 20% of these requests into real contracts and that each of them only yields 10 nights a year (I prefer to be pessimistic on this kind of assumption), that means a total of 880 nights per year, a total which would recur year after year after year! Still impressive, isn’t it!
Do you know that 38% of travelers tend to travel regularly to the same city? Well, just like with company contracts, by detecting and focusing your work on them, you can certainly build a strong marketing strategy for your hotel, while spending a very reasonable amount of time daily.
Every hotel is unique
The previous examples are genuine analyses that we made. However, every hotel is unique and what is true for one is not necessarily for another.
But one fact remains implacably true for all the hotels in the world:
“Every hotel has one or several guest types to treat as a priority in order to develop its commercialization.
These are precisely the guests who should be clearly identified and then highlighted in your Cardex. “
In the series of unlikely examples but which perfectly illustrate what I am trying to show you:
A few years ago, I visited a magnificent castle lost in the north of the French countryside. This truly fascinating castle was very small with only a dozen rooms. From the looks of the place, it seemed “obvious” that this was a typical hotel for French couples who were looking for a romantic getaway or English tourists who were making a stopover during a trip to the Mediterranean Sea. However… Australians were among their best and most profitable guests. They paid for their rooms at higher rates, stayed much longer and spoke a lot about the hotel to their friends and colleagues. What analyses or conclusions should we draw from this?
These Australians came to this castle because they did not mind driving for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening to go visit the north and the east of France. They were used to long car rides and loved luxurious and cozy hotels. That challenges some common preconceptions and especially supports the creation of intelligent guest profiles!
Our lack of information is a real problem in the hotel industry. Moreover, when we see Accor buy companies like Fast Booking or Avail Pro, it seems perfectly obvious that we are witnessing a data race. This problem will only get worse because the OTAs have clearly shown their intention to no longer give you guest information when they book with you.
In fact, once you’ve got the right solutions to cope with current problems, you can retrieve all the information. Making the most of your time then becomes much easier and you can clearly improve the future of your hotel a little more every day.
The future is not so dark. A blue sky will soon appear for you if you take control of the situation today.