Look in the Book
The Hotel Success Handbook is based on the business, marketing, training and operations knowledge and experience of Caroline Cooper and Lucy Whittington.
Caroline’s training and business advice for hotels and restaurants comes from more than 25 years experience in the hospitality industry. Having run her own coaching and training company for the past five years means she also understands the day-to-day challenges of a small business.
Caroline is a qualified business coach, holds Member status of the Institute of Hospitality (MIH), and is a committee member of the BHA (British Hospitality Association).
Lucy’s marketing career spans start-ups to plcs, and she now runs her own website design and marketing business. Combining a passion for travel with her love of marketing (especially online) her actions and tips for hotels are both researched and practical.
Lucy holds Member status of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM), has an MBA and is a consultant Member of the Tourism Society (MTS).
Lucy and Caroline work together to combine their experience and knowledge of marketing and sales, so that you – as a hotel owner or manager – get no-nonsense and practical advice, which you can use right away.
We’ve all seen the signs:
- 2 for 1
- Rooms from £39.50
- 50% discount
You might even have made these offers yourself.
But slashing your room rates or offering half-price meals is not the best way to increased profits.
Don’t just compete on price
Price might initially seem like an obvious way to attract more sales. It’s easy to be the ‘cheapest’ or even the ‘most expensive’ but this is a hard game to play. You might easily sacrifice profit for your difference (too cheap) or you might be turning away guests (too expensive or not offering perceived value for money).
So whether we are talking meals, function packages or hotel rooms, slashing your rates to get increased sales or occupancy is not the best way to generate higher sales margins. As a short term measure it can help cash flow, and increase sales, but longer term it will have a negative impact on your guests’ perception of quality and a massive impact on your margins. And once you have cut your prices, what happens when you want to put them up again?
We’re not saying never give discounts, but we suggest that if you do ever discount leave scope to upsell on other products or services.
The good news is there are plenty of other strategies you can use to increase sales. In essence these boil down to three areas of focus:
- Increasing the number of guests
- Increasing the average sale per guest (room rate + extras)
- Increasing the numbers of sales per guest (duration + number of visits)
(These last two points contribute to the overall lifetime value of your guests – something we should always keep in mind when evaluating marketing activity.)
To increase the number of guests you need to know who your guests are, their needs, their expectations and their priorities. Then match these to what you are offering.
You need to stop thinking about price being your differentiator and start thinking about value. And in order to do this you have to understand what your perfect guest perceives as good value, and we’ll start with this in Chapter 1.
And as it’s not pricing you have to use to make you stand out, in Chapter 2 we’ll help you identify what else can be your differentiator.
No doubt you already have a website, but how hard is your website working for you? Is it just a form of brochure, or does it actually help to attract potential guests and help the sales process? We’ll explore the key principles of designing and maintaining your website(s) in Chapter 3 to ensure maximum online visibility.
How well do you communicate with your guests to stimulate interest and most importantly some action? Whether online or offline, we’ll cover key principles in Chapter 4.
We’ve already mentioned the need to focus on giving value, so we’ll give you plenty of practical ideas to do this in Chapter 5 to attract the attention of your guests and stimulate sales and return visits.
In Chapter 6, we’ll discuss additional strategies for online marketing. It’s easy to forget what we did before the advent of the Internet, so in Chapter 7 we’ll look at the traditional forms of marketing that still work today.
People are more likely to do business with, and remain loyal to, those they know, like and trust, so in Chapter 8 we’ll look at some of the strategies that help to build rapport, and help increase the lifetime value of every guest.
And however good you are, you can’t do it all yourself, unless you plan to be there 24 hours a day and seven days a week. So Chapter 9 looks at how to involve your team in converting potential guests into paying guests, increasing spend per head and helping to prompt future bookings to increase the lifetime value of every guest.
In Chapter 10 we’ll also discuss where and how you can get support from other businesses for mutual benefit, and find a source of potential guests.
You’ll want to develop an overall strategy, and see how your actions affect your results. In Chapter 11 we’ll bring everything together, ensuring you have a plan that’s easy for you to follow, to ensure you achieve success for your hotel.
This is what we’ll help you achieve
- Tailor all your marketing to attract only the types of guests you want, who share your values and you love working with
- Identify what differentiates you from everyone else so you can shout about it and stand out from your competition
- Update your website and make use of social media to maximise your online presence to attract new business
- Write effective marketing copy that gets your guests and prospects attention – every time
- Tailor your services to add value and give maximum perceived value for money to increase guests’ spend per head and increase the lifetime value of every guest
- How to use online marketing strategies to raise your visibility and drive traffic to your website from other sources
- Make cost effective use of traditional marketing to work in tandem with online marketing activity
- Build loyalty from your guests so they keep coming back, and tell all their friends to come too
- Select the right people, and tell them everything they need to know to help you build your sales and profit
- Establish joint ventures to collaborate with suppliers, local businesses and even your competitors for a win – win
- Evaluate which marketing strategies work for your business, and which ones don’t, so you don’t waste your hard earned profits on ineffective marketing
- Draw up a longer-term marketing plan for the next 12 months
Knowledge is nothing without action! Throughout the book we recommend the actions you take to put everything into practice.