3 Huge Missed Opportunities in Hospitality
In this article, I’m speaking specifically to hospitality business owners, where an intimate experience including interacting with the owner/manager/team members are some of the reasons guests are booking. I call this “emotionally driven hospitality”. It’s not a well-known term. I made it up! It describes the kind of experience smaller establishments have the power to offer, if they choose to.
If you run a larger property, offering a more generic, anonymous experience, you’ll need a different strategy, but that’s for another day.
Truth is, size doesn’t matter. Who you’re being for your guests, does.
A recent survey discovered some discrepancies between what hotels think guests want and what they actually do want:
Increasingly, travellers are looking for an “enhancing perspective” which means expanding their horizons on life, “liberation” which means freedom from their normal thinking patterns (doing something they don’t normally do) and “relationships” which means getting to know other humans.
As smaller operators, we can really capitalise on the needs of the traveller.
To understand why you’re not doing this, we need to go back to the good old days before the internet….
Then the internet arrived and everything changed. We now had the power to talk to people we didn’t know, on our computers! The challenge is that not many people have been taught how to do this effectively, and so they end of up with poor results.
Enter the online travel agents
They spotted a huge opportunity and they positioned themselves between potential guests and the hotels and now they do the marketing for thousands of properties around the world and charge a commission for doing it.
So the business model really hasn’t changed for the hotel, except that instead of waiting for a phone call or a walk-in, they are listing with a gazillion online travel agents and waiting.
The internet is for everyone, not just the online travel agents. We can’t deny that they bring bookings, but as a long-term strategy, it’s just too expensive, and those commissions are never going to go down. There’s also a kind of psychological grip involved, because you know that they can change the rules or even delist you at any moment and there isn’t a single thing you can do about it
Just because they bring bookings, doesn’t mean we can absolve ourselves of our responsibility to give guests what they’re looking for. Switching up your business model to the new 21st century model will change your life (and your business).
Here’s the model I have been using since 2010 when my little B&B suddenly became the only source of income for my family, and I had to transform it quickly from a hobby into a proper business. I now help my clients to implement it in their businesses:
In this model, instead of relying on third parties to bring you guests, you or your team take responsibility, and reduce the commissions to boot. You’ll also find a new power within yourself when you do this. I’ve seen it so many times with my clients.
To make this model work for you, there are three crucial systems you need to have in place, and these systems represent 3 missed opportunities I see in hospitality all too often.
Missed opportunity #1
Not positioning yourself apart from your competition and specialising in one or two areas. “Becoming an expert in the eyes of your guests” will not only help your ideal guests to find you, it will elevate your status in their eyes because you’ve taken the time to think deeply about their needs
Missed opportunity #2
Not taking responsibility for building a relationship with your booked in guests BEFORE they arrive. This means more than sending them the automated booking confirmation. It means creating that emotional connection that they’re craving. Hardly anyone does this and it’s so powerful.
Missed opportunity #3
Not staying in touch with past guests and creating powerful and compelling offers that they can’t resist. Instead of sending out monthly newsletters filled with flashy pictures, a million things to click on and text about how wonderful your hotel is, try sending out one offer with one call to action and then watch the stats closely.
These are the fundamentals for ANY business, not just hospitality, but are so often overlooked in favour of the latest social media platform, or worse, the comfortable beds, the delicious breakfast and the free wifi.
All those are good, but none of it will mean anything if you don’t have your systems in place, the technology to deliver driven by the emotional connection.
This presents massive opportunity for anyone willing to step out of their comfort zone and implement.
Don’t let these opportunities pass YOU by.
By Yvonne Halling
Yvonne Halling helps passionate bed and breakfasts, guest houses, inns and small hotels to reduce commissions to online travel agents, attract more direct bookings, fill rooms in the slow season and charge more. Pick up her free report here “Make More Work Less While Adding Huge Value to Your Guests (and your bank account) https://bedandbreakfastcoach.leadpages.co/50-ideas/
Find out more about Yvonne here: http://bedandbreakfastcoach.com