By its very nature, the hospitality industry is entirely dependent on the movement of people and tourism, driving the demand for its services. In recent times, dynamic market trends with more and more individual and family-run stand-alone hotels have cropped into the picture. Though the concept provides a breath of fresh air, with a niche and novel outlook, the lack of branding impacts the value proposition of these hotels. Stand-alone hotels, thereby, find it hard to increase occupancy. Other than a few corporate clients, getting repeat guests is a challenge.
Every hotelier, no matter whether it is a branded or stand-alone hotel, has a dream to have a full hotel occupancy. In order to make this dream real, the trick is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer, understand their journey and requirements, and develop a definitive strategy to boost hotel occupancy while defeating the competition. A few simple and easy-to-implement steps are listed, which can help stand-alone hotels increase their occupancy.
1. Reach the Target Market
The first obvious but crucial step to increasing hotel occupancy is targeting the right market. Delve into the guest records and understand their history- the demographics you cater to, the part of the country or the world the guests belong to, etc. Does your property attract more family bookings, corporate crowd, or travellers? It is essential to know the customer's behaviour to make informed business decisions.
The guest data history can help identify the trends as well as the marketing strategies to increase revenues. Chalk out the exact market that you need to target!
2. Customize Packages & Promotions
With the target market identified, focus on a customized approach delivering personalized services. Design packages and promotions, appealing to a specific audience. Understand every nuance of your target group- their age, ethnicity, profession, cultural background, income, etc. Using this information, make them an offer they cannot refuse!
The more at ease the customer feels at your property, the higher is the chance of them becoming repeat clientele.
3. Focus on Quality Customer Service
All hoteliers would agree that the ultimate marketing tool for a hotel is word-of-mouth, which is conclusively a by-product of customer service. Maintaining high standards of operation, beyond the expectations of the customers, should be your prime focus.
Stand-alone hotels have an advantage here, where they can offer personal level engagement, giving an ownership-level experience to the guests. Make sure to constantly innovate and upgrade with the market trends to consistently provide a quality offering.
4. Offer Services that Set You Apart from the Noise
Free from the whims and fancies of a branded hotel chain, a stand-alone hotel has the opportunity to develop a unique identity with its own ethos and perception in the marketplace. These hotels have the flexibility to try out new initiatives and implement out-of-the-box strategies, with no entanglement in excessive red tape. This flexibleness presents an upper-edge in terms of offering tailor-made luxury experiences to the guests.
You can redefine your hotel's image by implementing an unusual theme, which cannot be experienced by customers anywhere else- something like reliving an era from the past, or pop-culture trends, or anything quirky and awe-inspiring! Make sure to be thorough with the theme, and it is bound to get you more and more customers!
5. Engage with Online Audiences
Social media has indeed brought the hotel closer to the customer. Online portals provide the apt medium to promote the hotel, not just in the local but international market, constantly engaging the audience with the hotel events, recognitions, contests, updates, and other developments.
Capitalize on social media, using the platform for reputation management, guest interactions, and customer servicing. Direct interaction and responding to guests' queries and concerns also enables increased bookings, with the ability to recognize the customer base, and encouraging positive reviews.
These five strategies to increase hotel occupancy are as effective as they are practical. While things will not change overnight in terms of achieving full occupancy, the implementation of the above tips will put you on the right path and fetch results soon!