Ten ways for hotels to welcome their guests back after the pandemic and generate profits
By Sam Cicéron
With travel resuming, hotel owners and managers are eyeing the final months of closure and hundreds of cancellations towards a brighter future. Finding ways to deliver a safe customer experience, while increasing revenue, is the key to economic recovery.
To give your hotel the ‘bounce’ it needs in its bounce, consider these ideas:
- Special attention to cleanliness. Cleanliness has always been a key consideration in the hospitality industry. Even before the pandemic, properties were moving towards hard surface flooring, antimicrobial surfaces and non-contact technologies. Expect this trend to proliferate. Hotels could also consider using ultraviolet technology to demonstrate a higher level of cleanliness.
- Respond to reviews online. Almost half of all travelers say they won’t book a hotel room without first reading reviews online. Watch online reviews for tips on how to improve your hotel, especially if the review is about cleanliness. Post a response to negative reviews explaining how you fix the problem rather than letting it influence your next guest’s opinion.
- Partnership with neighboring companies. If your hotel doesn’t currently have a restaurant, fitness center, or other attractions, find one in town to market your hotel.
- Review the curb appeal. Easy-to-read signage, neat landscaping and well-lit parking, along with a neat contemporary entrance create a welcoming feeling of arrival. In a hospitality industry where subtle distinctions can make a significant difference in occupancy rates, your outward appearance is as important as morning coffee and room service. It’s the first impression your guest sees when they arrive and the last thing they see when they leave.
- Improve the lobby. It is your hotel’s most valuable property. The lobby’s atmospheric elements – its color, style, textures and lighting – create an environment that reflects the caliber of your hotel, enhances your guest experience, and enhances property value. Additionally, the lobby is the most photographed area of a hotel for online reviews, social media, and booking sites. Bring it out.
- Inform and train your reception staff. Spend time educating and training your hotel staff, teaching them how to strike up a conversation with guests and making them feel safe in these uncertain times. Also, educate your front desk staff on how to sell effectively.
- Study the competition. Familiarize yourself with the level of service offered by nearby hotels as well as their pricing structure. Spend a night with one of your top performing competitors to learn what they’re doing differently. How are you treated by their employees? Have they recently renovated the facility? Is FF&E more current than in your hotel? What do they do to make their guests feel safe?
- Update your breakfast bar. The first step is to throw out the stale donuts and replace them with fresh fruit and homemade items, some local in your area. Then, renovate the countertops with clean and updated granite, stone or marble. Finally, give the breakfast bar a unique flavor by incorporating local crafts.
- Clarify and update the corridors. The hallways are the areas most visited by your customers, but remain the most neglected by hoteliers. Soften the hallway design with wider crown moldings, more beautiful artwork, inviting narrow tables, and lush plants wherever possible. Good lighting will give your guests a sense of security.
- Go green. Installing low-flow toilets, replacing incandescent bulbs with appropriate LED lighting, and taking other proactive “green” measures all translate into lower utility bills. Going green also attracts customers. Almost 65% of travelers say they would like to stay in a “green” establishment while 33% say they would not stay in a hotel that does not have a green policy. If you’ve gone green, let your guests know by posting signage in your lobby and making it known on booking sites.
Sam Cicero Jr. is president of Cicero Construction Group, based in Plainfield, Illinois.
This is a contribution to Hotel, written by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the point of view of the signed individual.