Every fall, hotel planning committees across the nation unfurl their mass of spreadsheets and, almost in unison, undertake the usual combination of SWOT analyses and the like to derive the best possible course of action for the coming year.
It’s a lengthy, grueling process, but one that can be quite rewarding if you have a vision of where you want to take your hotel. The key for the upcoming year is to plan for a gradual and continuous change, and the first step towards this is to align with your team.
As for the coming year, it is definitely not business as usual. There are disruptors lurking in the dark alleys of the travelsphere, and if you aren’t careful you’ll suffer from diminishing occupancies and withering group ROB.
As one potential harbinger of doom that I’m constantly reminded of, the sharing economy has already prompted all hoteliers to re-evaluate their approach. If you think that you’re immune from this wave, it’s time to ask your executive committee to get with the program. In this vein, I’ve assembled a series of ten questions that should provoke some lively conversation as well as provide a better focus for the coming year.
- Who is the customer right now and who will the customer be five years from now?
- Setting aside RevPAR analysis, what are we planning to grow incremental revenue – to build RevPAG as they say (revenue per available guest)? In other words, can you express the revenue forecast on a total revenue basis rather than rooms-only?
- Can you examine the total revenue-per-room sold net of commissions for the business from OTAs, traditional TAs, direct leisure/FIT and groups? How has this data trended?
- Does it make sense for your hotel to continue using Google Adwords? Are you still buying your own hotel’s name as a means of owning the lower funnel? If so, what is the return and would you get the business anyways?
- Why would anyone stay with you (answer separately for leisure, corporate and groups)? How does this compare versus your competitors?
- Are you giving your external agencies the ammunition they need to help deliver the best services they can? Have you asked them to demonstrate success stories from their other customers that you can learn from?
- How are you using your CRM to build loyalty and personalized offers that generate repeat visitation?
- Are you maximizing bleisure opportunities (hybrid travel)? How do you encourage group patrons to extend their stays?
- What are you doing to integrate yourselves with the community and generate goodwill amongst both local patrons as well as neighborhood associations?
- At the end of next year, what one single activity will you be able to confirm as mission accomplished?