Building Blocks of Success: A Checklist For New Hoteliers
It is a tenacious and ambitious undertaking to open a new hotel. But it can also be one of the most rewarding. The journey from the concept of your recent hotel to the opening can be overwhelming without a solid plan. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you don’t plan, you will fail.” We’ve compiled a checklist for you to build a successful business, whether you just bought a new hotel or are still considering it.
Create a hotel business plan.
Start with a business plan. Your business plan will not only help you define your road map, but it will also keep you on track. Develop your business plan by defining your vision and mission, identifying your goals, analyzing the market and competitors, developing revenue management and distribution plans, and researching hotel software. It would help if you also outlined your financial and operational goals.
Regularly review your business plan to ensure new initiatives align with your original vision and goals. The art of pivoting is crucial in business. You must revisit your business plan if you make any significant changes.
Build Guest Segments
Knowing what type of guests to expect at your hotel will help you make the correct branding, marketing, and interior design decisions. After identifying your USP, create your segments according to the type of guests your hotel will attract.
By identifying your target segments, such as business travelers, families, adventurers, and spa-goers, you can create marketing and advertising campaigns, products, and services that appeal to these groups. If you’ve identified that you want to attract spa-goers as a target market, then you can start building a brand with a peaceful feel, a website that is serene and attractive spa offers.
Create a Brand
Your brand defines everything from your website to your stay packages and marketing. Building your brand will ensure that all customer-facing materials are presented cohesively and represent the hotel you wish to create.
Create a style guide for your brand that includes the following: mission, brand promise, and values, logo, colors, typography, voice, image guidelines, etc. You can even create a mood board to get you inspired. This document will help you determine what’s on brand, whether it is marketing materials, website design, partnerships, or anything else.
Create a Website
Your hotel’s website is as essential as yours when 83% of US adults prefer to book online. (These Stats) It is now possible to build your website using free design platforms. Templates have improved in recent years, making them more affordable. However, we recommend hiring a designer with experience in designing hotel websites, as your hotel’s website is a valuable marketing tool. You can then ensure that all best design practices are followed and that your website is optimized for SEO and speed.
Also, ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as 70% of customers research on a smartphone. Remember a user-friendly Booking Engine to capture direct bookings.
This article about how you can conduct a website review gives you an idea of the content your hotel’s website should have.
Create a marketing plan.
A high-level marketing plan is part of a larger business plan. However, it is recommended that you create a detailed plan based on the business goals, strategies, and initiatives to reach those goals and your KPIs.
Consider your USP, brand, and the marketing channels that will work best for your hotel. These include emailing and SEO. You can also use digital, Social Media, print, and radio ads. Remember to think about a strategy.
Create Your Online Presence
Don’t just rely on your website and SEO strategies. There are other ways you can promote your business online. Online travel agencies like Expedia, TripAdvisor, and others charge booking commissions. However, their benefits outweigh these costs because they can significantly increase your reach. When you have decided which OTAs will appear, complete your profile and keep it updated with the latest photos and descriptions.
Consider a strategy to manage online reviews for your OTA channels. This includes encouraging guests to leave reviews, monitoring new reviews and social mentions, and responding to positive and negative reviews. ).
As part of your website, a hotel blog can expand your online presence. You can increase readership by providing relevant and valuable information. This will also encourage linkbacks and show search engines that your site is worth indexing.
You should set up a Google Business Profile account for your hotel regarding search engines. Ask the previous owner for access to their business profile or ask them to delete it so that you can create your own. Why? Google will list your hotel on its Search and Maps. Make sure that you have a complete and current listing! You can upload pictures, respond to Google Reviews, and highlight your amenities. If you are working with one of Google’s approved connectivity partners, you can also send rates to Google for display in accommodation search results.
Build Your Hotel Technology Stack
Start building your tech stack and embrace technology. Begin with hotel management software which can be integrated with different applications. This will allow you to innovate and add new functionality as your business grows. WebRezPro Property Management System streamlines hotel operations from the start, including inventory management, reservations, housekeeping, and accounting. You can create customer profiles to personalize marketing and services, automate guest communications and set dynamic pricing across all sales channels. The cloud-based software lets you manage the property using your mobile device from anywhere.
The following systems are also crucial for optimizing efficiency and guest satisfaction: an online booking engine, payment technology, digital keys, guest engagement platforms, and automated revenue management software.
Create a Team
Your employees are your most valuable resource. Your hotel software can automate a lot of operational tasks. You can afford to pay more to your employees with fewer staff, which will help retain and attract staff. Your team should be proud of their work as they represent your hotel. They will return the favor if you treat them well.
Feel free to try social media recruiting tactics if you need help finding suitable candidates through traditional means. You could also offer incentives to your current employees who recruit new hires.
There is no such thing as an island. Find partnerships to expand your reach and support locally. You can also build attractive offers for your guests.
Partnerships are endless. You can offer local discounts, stay-and-play packages with local tours and attractions, and in-room hospitality hampers with coupons and local goodies.
You can also leverage partnerships to reach a larger audience on social media. Promoting your offers or creating giveaways with partners is a great way to get a wider audience (especially if their audience is more significant than yours). To grow your online audience and guest list.
Create Guest Loyalty
This last point should be addressed when focusing on attracting new guests. Did you know the acquisition cost for returning guests can be up to five times less than that of new guests? Be sure to implement your strategies for customer retention from the start.
Bookings are the first step in building guest loyalty, as a good first impression will create an experience that guests want to repeat. A pre-stay message can create a welcoming atmosphere and familiarity for your guests before they arrive. Take the time to check in with guests during their stay to make sure they are comfortable. After your guests have left, thank them, ask for a review, and continue to communicate with them regularly afterward. Consider rewarding returning guests with a program of loyalty.