By Sam Cicero
With travel resuming, hotel owners and managers are looking past months of lockdowns and hundreds of cancellations to a brighter future. Finding ways to offer a safe guest experience, while also boosting revenue is key to the path forward economic recovery.
To give your hotel some needed “bounce” in its bounce back, consider these ideas:
- Careful attention to cleanliness. Cleanliness has always been a key consideration in the hotel industry. Even prior to the pandemic, properties were moving toward hard-surface flooring, antimicrobial surfaces and touchless technologies. Expect this trend to proliferate. Hotels could also consider using ultraviolet technology to demonstrate a higher standard of cleanliness.
- Respond to online reviews. Nearly half of all travelers report that they will not book a hotel room without first reading online reviews. Monitor online reviews for input on ways to improve your hotel, especially if the review has to do with cleanliness. Post a response to negative reviews explaining how you are remedying the problem rather than let it impact your next guest’s opinion.
- Partner with neighboring businesses. If your hotel doesn’t currently have a restaurant, fitness center or other attractions, find one in town to cross-market your hotel.
- Brush up on curb appeal. Easy to read signage, neat landscaping and a well-lit parking area, along with a neat contemporary entrance creates a welcoming sense of arrival. In a hospitality industry where subtle distinctions can make a significant difference in occupancy rates, your exterior appearance is as important as morning coffee and room service. It’s the first impression your guest sees when arriving and the last thing they see when they leave.
- Improve the lobby. This is the most valuable piece of real estate in your hotel. The atmospheric elements of the lobby—it’s color, style, textures and lighting—create the environment that reflects the caliber of your hotel, improves your guest’s experience and enhances the property’s value. Also, the lobby is the most photographed area of a hotel for online reviews, social media and reservation sites. Make it stand out.
- Educate and train your front desk personnel. Spend time educating and training your hotel staff, teaching them to engage guests in conversation and making them feel safe in these uncertain times. Also, educate your front desk staff on how to effectively upsell.
- Study the competition. Familiarize yourself with the level of service nearby hotels offer as well as their price structure. Spend a night at one of your most successful competitors to learn what they’re doing differently. How are you treated by their employees? Have they recently renovated the facility? Is the FF&E more up-to-date than in your hotel? What are they doing to make their guests feel safe?
- Update your breakfast bar. Step one is to toss out the stale donuts and replace them with fresh fruits and homemade items, some local to your area. Next, renovate the countertops with clean, updated granite, stone or marble. Finally, give the breakfast bar a unique flavor by incorporating local arts and crafts.
- Brighten and update corridors. Corridors are the most viewed areas by your guests, yet remain the most overlooked by hotel owners. Soften corridor design with wider moldings, nicer artwork, inviting narrow tables and lush plants wherever possible. Proper lighting will give your guests a safe and secure feeling.
- Go green. Installing low-flow toilets, replacing incandescent bulbs with the proper LED lighting and taking other pro-active “green” steps translates dramatically to lower utility bills. Going green also attracts guests. Nearly 65% of travelers report that they’d like to stay in a “green” property while 33% say they would not stay in a hotel that doesn’t have green policies. If you’ve gone green, let your guests know it with signage in your lobby and by advertising it on reservation sites.
Sam Cicero Jr. is president of Plainfield, IL-based Cicero Construction Group.
This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.