The past couple of months changed the hospitality world a lot, at least for the foreseeable future. Businesses in this industry experienced some of the most challenging times ever. As a result, customers’ requirements and priorities shifted significantly. Before luxury and amenities, customers search for safe and clean spaces.
As their priorities changed, so did the approach of businesses. Right now, it is essential to adapt to ever-changing health measurements and do everything in your power to make people feel safe. And yet, you still have to worry about everything else from location to decor to employees to online presence and bookings.
Starting Fresh in the Hospitality Business: Yes or No?
Even though this all sounds challenging, there’s no reason to give up on your dream to start a new hospitality business. The world is slowly getting on its feet, and this is as good a time as any to join this industry.
Statistics are on your side, too. The travel industry is still registering a growth trajectory per annum globally. Revenue is expected to grow at a rate of 24.57%, which would result in a projected market volume of over 460 thousand million dollars by 2025.
Tips for starting a new business in the hospitality sector
If you’ve decided to give it a go, you need to know some things first, things that will help you thrive in an already busy market. To get into pace with the dynamic scene that is hospitality, here are 5 excellent tips for you.
1. Use the right software
Running a business is made simpler today thanks to technology. There’s a digital solution to many of the daily troubles that owners and managers faced in the past. As a hotelier, your first step should be to figure out which software best fits the needs of your business.
Among the best rated these days is the Lodgify bed and breakfast software, a solution for businesses of all sizes and with various needs. Such software will help you automate, organize, and keep track of the most important information that allows you to run the business. It has amazing features such as:
- Reservation system
- Channel manager that allows you to connect a single system to sites your business is advertised on
- Website builder with an integrated booking engine that makes direct bookings simpler and easier
2. Work on your digital marketing – continuously
A lot of the success of an accommodation facility is based on online presence – and success. Over 148.3 million bookings are made by people online every year. This makes digital marketing not only a preference but a necessity for the survival of most businesses.
People hardly travel these days without knowing where they’ll stay once they arrive at their destination. This is why digital marketing should come somewhere at the top of your priorities list. It’s what you need to find the people for your accommodation, as well as convince them to make a booking.
This includes many things, the most important ones being:
- Search engine optimization for your website and all types of content you publish
- Social media marketing
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
To make all of this successful, you need one key piece of the puzzle first – quality content. Whether it is for the content on your site, your blog, some posts on your social media channels, or your emails – you need all of your content to be SEO optimized, provide value, and look attractive to the audience.
With that in mind, there’s one extra important tip that falls under digital marketing – making your content appealing.
Make your content more appealing
People need content that screams value. In the hospitality business, this means information about the offerings of your facility, your availability, and pricing. They also expect, not just require, quality photos of your facilities, perhaps even videos and 3D renderings.
Images can tell a thousand words, but you’ll still need actual written content to place all over your website, email, and even social media. To make it more appealing and understandable for the user, use tools like Piktochart. Picktochart has the power to put dull or overwhelming content into something appealing and easy-to-understand.
3. Put a great focus on direct bookings
Did you know that over half of your guests prefer direct bookings? It is often cheaper, safer, and promotes trust in your guests. As a result, more and more people get in touch directly with accommodation facilities or look for solutions that allow them to book directly, without a hassle.
If you increase direct bookings, whether it is on your website or social media channels, you have a lot to benefit from it. First of all, you can eliminate the provisions for third-party websites. Secondly, you can build a rapport with your guests, collect more information to further reach out, and personalize your offers.
Making this happen takes time and effort, and a lot of it is based on digital marketing and customer service. You need everything figured out to make it safe and enticing for people to book directly with you. Here are just a few of the things that can make this happen for you:
- Organize your reservations carefully to avoid problems. If you often get overbooked, leave people stranded, or organize your bookings poorly, this will push people away from the decision to book directly. People are unlikely to book directly at a hotel that often relocates guests to other establishments. Therefore, use the right software to organize your reservations and make sure that the word of mouth for your business is always good.
- Optimize your hotel website. People need to be able to make bookings when they want. They shouldn’t have to roam around your site trying to figure out how to reach out. Preferably, create a reservation form where people can book directly without waiting for a response or pricing. Surely, you’d have to automate or manually set the availability to avoid overbooking.
- Make the site mobile-friendly. Over one-third of travelers use their phones to book a hotel room. These numbers grow all the time, which makes it essential for you to optimize your direct reservation channel for smartphone users.
- Show people what they’re getting. Most people will want to know exactly what they’re getting before they book with you. Nowadays, this is more than possible with images, 3D renderings, and videos. Make sure that you provide all the information people might need to make their decision.
- Optimize your customer service. People should be able to reach out if they have questions or concerns, or even problems with making a reservation. To make this possible, have available and professional support service. You can automate many things today from FAQ questions and live chatbots, to instant reservation confirmations and reminders.
4. Focus on the guests’ feedback
No matter how great your accommodation looks online or how cheap your rates are, most people won’t book with you if others share their negative experiences online. Being honest about your offers, having great customer service, and providing the money’s worth to your guests is key to maintaining a great reputation.
What you can do further is leverage the positive feedback for your benefit. Share it online for others to see. There’s no better and more convincing proof of the quality of your business than testimonials from people who visited it.
Know that at some point, you’ll have negative comments. Everyone does. You cannot make everyone happy since not all people want the same things. However, bad feedback does not necessarily have to be bad. Instead of avoiding it altogether, use it to improve your hospitality business for new clients.
5. Have the right pricing at all times
There’s hardly an accommodation facility that has the same pricing all the time. There are high and low seasons, different expenses at different periods, not to mention special prices for special customers, and discounted deals and promotions on occasion.
At any point, you need to have the right pricing for your business. You cannot change it afterward and mistaking this can cause you endless headaches. You might sell rooms at a very low rate and lose your income. You might set prices too high and lose many potential clients before you realize your mistake.
Before you put your business online and open your hotel’s doors for guests, determine your pricing strategy. How much will you charge? Will you have discounts for your regulars?
A business in the hospitality industry demands a lot of effort. However, it all pays off once you create a regular clientele, are attracting new clients, and have successful methods for reaching your target audience. This is only the beginning, but you need to tread carefully to get to a point where your new business is a success.
So, start planning now. Use the tips above and expand your horizons. There are many changes that this industry comes across every year, so follow the trends and adjust accordingly. Today when most bookings are made online and on mobile, digital marketing is one of your top strategies. Thanks to technology and the right software, you can resolve or even prevent many problems that you might come across along the way. This should give you enough room to create a good reputation for your business. That’s where it all begins.