Being a general manager or director in a small chain or boutique hotel presents enormous challenges in today’s market. You are not only competing with flag recognition and loyalty programs but also massive advertising budgets. So, how can you compete with major brands to keep your property competitive within your market?
Loyalty Programs for Hotels
This may be one of the bigger obstacles faced by smaller chains. It is impossible to compete with the benefits of major flags, so you must change your thinking, especially if you are using other programs as the standard.
For instance, Marriott offers 10 points for every dollar spent at most of its properties. Those rewards can be cashed in for a free night at properties staring at 7,500 points. Let’s assume that for every night spent, the guest charges $250 to the room, including the room rate. That comes out to one free night for every 30 nights spent at Marriott properties.
For the business traveler, that could mean a free vacation every year by cashing in points simply because they are able to stay at a Marriott property wherever they travel. Smaller chains don’t have that luxury, so they must reduce point requirements as well as make their rewards more lavish to lure in the guest.
Create a Better Guest Experience
When we travel, we want to be recognized and feel as though we are appreciated. It doesn’t matter if the cost of the room is $100 or $300, we want something for our money. That starts with the greeting at the front desk, the interaction with staff throughout the property, and overall value for the money being spent. If a property is trying to lure a guest from Hilton or Marriott, the service level the property provides at every level must be one better than major flags are providing or there simply is no reason to stay there.
The “little touches” a property provides can make all the difference. And, they don’t necessarily have to be written in stone. For instance, a guest stays with your property five nights a week at least once a month. Rather than sending the guest home with dirty suits, consider providing free dry cleaning at some point during their stay. If the service is regularly provided in the middle of the week, the guest can pack less. If it is provided at the end of their stay, they get to go home with clean clothes, which means one less errand they must worry about over the weekend.
The bottom line here is you must think differently than major chains simply because you cannot compete with them on their level. You want guests that WANT to stay at your property rather than guests that NEED to stay at your property. Do that, and your property will be able to hold its own in any market.
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Photo By Jacques_Palut