When every penny counts, why are we still not getting the basics right?
The last few weeks since opening have been a roller-coaster for us all. Within our portfolio, we have hotels citing their ‘best ever August’ and other hotels struggling to make double-digit occupancy. But no matter where you ‘fit’ in this scenario, we all agree that we don’t know what is around the corner; that we need to make sure that we are easy to do business with and importantly, that we operate as effectively and profitably as possible. So why are we still making very basic mistakes?
As many of you know, within Right Revenue we not only offer a revenue software solution but consultancy and support and over the past few weeks we have been auditing how hotels are ‘presenting’ themselves to customers and I have to be honest and say that time and time again we just aren’t getting the basics right.
1 – One of the easiest things to rectify is your availability. Over and over again, we found hotels with no availability into 2021. Just think of the opportunities you are missing… People may have been shielding and perhaps still concerned about being in public places in the short term but may well be planning a break in 2021, so why are you not open for business? Please check your availability and let customers know that you are open for business.
2 – Have your rate strategy planned for the winter and into 2021. None of us know what is around the corner and of course, none of us want to think about the words ‘second-spike’ – which we all hope won’t come or at best be localised, but what if we prepare for the best and plan for the worst… There are many, many hoteliers who are already sitting with solid business on the books for September-March as families plan for get-togethers when things are hopefully a little calmer. Are you ready for those precious customers? Do you have your rates and packages sorted? Are you planning for Staycations that will change in the winter and that you need to adjust yours for? Now is the time to get your strategy right and to start planning.
3 – Any regular readers of this blog will know that to say that I am not a fan of the unscrupulous business practices of the OTA’s is an understatement. The blatant undercutting of public rates has to be the number one misdemeanour committed in the OTA space. But if a customer takes the time to call you to tell you that they have found the exact same rate on your website, offered cheaper on an OTA, why on earth are your teams telling them to ‘go book on the OTA’ and not just taking the booking over the phone?!!! Your customers are giving you the opportunity to step up and to take that booking directly, but time and time again, teams that are not trained well are simply throwing that valuable reservation back to the OTA’s and costing you a fortune in commission. This is simple to fix, so please, please just have a word…
4 – Make sure that you have your room types open and available to sell on brand.com. Sounds simple, right? But I bet if you look at an OTA and then on your site, you will have better descriptions and more images on an OTA and perhaps even more room types. We have this unique time to take business back from the OTA’s and now is the time to maximise every single opportunity.
5 – Tell your customers that you are ‘open for business’. Let them know that they can come for lunch or a coffee. Let them know if you have outside space and that they are welcome. You don’t need to go all heavy-handed on the health and safety. Your customers want to feel that they are visiting a hotel and that they will be welcome. Use natural language to explain that you have all the health and safety issues covered and that they are ‘safe to stay’. But more importantly, for goodness sake, let them know that you are open!
I do not under-estimate how hard all of your teams have worked over the past weeks and months and that quite frankly, this has been one of the very, very worst times for our industry’s history. However, we are a resilient bunch, ready for change and willing to adapt and adapt quickly. My advice is purely to get the basics right as every single penny counts and now more than ever…
Good luck with the rest of your opening plans and as always, here if you need us