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What makes a hotel successful? The keys to winning at your business

  Posted in Resources

We all dream of success. But what does success look like when it comes to running a hotel?

Hitting financial goals is always a sign of success, but it’s just one way to measure it.

Perhaps, for you, success is more about differentiating yourself as a brand amongst the more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide? Or is it all about growth – more engagement, increased followers and more guests?

For some, a buzzing front desk with satisfied and happy guests and staff might be an important measure of success.

In this blog we take a closer look at hotel success factors, how to measure your hotel’s success, what drives success and tips for successful hotel management.

Table of contents

Hotel success: key indicators

If we want to measure success objectively, there are two key areas to look at.

Defining (and achieving) goals

To start with, your hotel needs a business plan with clearly defined business goals. Those goals are created by getting specific about:

  • What are your business objectives? Where do you want to be? (For example, increasing web traffic by 50% and direct bookings by 15%)
  • When do you want all this to happen? Within the next 12 months? Or do you feel it’s a realistic goal for six months’ time?
  • How will you make this happen? Break each goal down into specific steps and actions.
  • Who will you need to reach to achieve your goals and who will help you to get there?

By having a plan in place, and your goals defined, you have a clear way to track and measure your hotel’s success.

Tracking business metrics

Whether they are included in your business plans and goals or not, business metrics are another way to objectively measure the success of any business. Some of the most useful are:

  • Total revenue
  • Monthly profit or loss
  • Net promoter score
  • Conversion rate
  • Website traffic

There are also hotel-specific metrics that can help you assess whether you’re on track to get the results you want:

Critical success factors at your hotel

What people are saying about your hotel can be the ultimate measure of success. Reputation is consistently ranked by corporate leaders as their most valuable asset. The World Economic Forum estimates that 25% of a company’s market value is directly related to its reputation.

For hotels, a strong reputation is built on things like a great guest experience, strong branding, clever marketing and exceptional communication. And it’s critical to success, with more than 8 out of 10 people saying they always or frequently read a review before booking a place to stay and more than half saying they would never book a hotel with no reviews.

When SiteMinder surveyed hoteliers about the things they thought were top priorities for guests when researching a hotel, online reviews were ranked first (81%) closely followed by high quality images (72%).

This survey revealed another insight on hotel success. Hoteliers themselves most often listed “prioritising guest personalisation and experience” as the thing they believed would bring them success.

How you can start running your hotel successfully

Armed with this understanding of what we mean by success and how we can measure it, here are 15 things you can do today to start running your hotel (more) successfully:

  1. Create three goals that you want to achieve in the next month. Make them SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
  2. Create three SMART goals that you want to achieve in the next 6 months.
  3. Create three SMART goals that you want to achieve in the next 12 months.
  4. Download and complete our hotel metrics formula sheet to see all your important hotel metrics at a glance.
  5. Set up a system for managing your hotel’s online reviews so that all comments, whether positive or negative, are addressed.
  6. Encourage happy guests to post about their experience in a post-stay email or on check out.
  7. Get a better understanding of your ideal guests and guest segments.
  8. Create (or audit) your hotel’s social media strategy.
  9. Consider working with influencers or travel bloggers to extend your reach.
  10. Find out about TripAdvisor Plus.
  11. Focus on improving your hotel’s SEO.
  12. Make your hotel more discoverable by reviewing your booking channels against available booking channels and those used by your direct competitors.
  13. Invest in cybersecurity, a great website experience, guest relations and staff satisfaction to help protect your hotel’s reputation.
  14. Leverage your location by showcasing it with high-quality website images, hash-tagging it on social media and taking part in local events.
  15. Don’t forget to encourage and reward guest loyalty.

How to become a successful hotel owner or manager

As owner or manager of a hotel, you are central to the hotel’s success. Your traits, skills and decisions can have a huge impact on the hotel’s direction and success. Your enthusiasm is also essential, so it’s important to always remind yourself of the things that originally motivated you to venture into the hotel industry.

Continue to hone your communication skills, as the value of these just can’t be overstated for people working in hotels. You need to be a clear communicator who can listen well and step into the shoes of each guest. Train your staff to develop their skills in this area, too, so you can impress your guests at each and every point of contact.

Being able to delegate and knowing how to empower your managers is another part of being a successful hotel owner or manager. You need to spend time in your areas of expertise and delegate the tasks that other people can handle better than you. And when your managers can act with flexibility, this will help reduce problems in critical situations, accommodate guests with special requests and generally help the front desk run more smoothly.

A great hotel owner or manager is also vigilant and observant, knowing that first impressions and the little details can make or break the guest experience.

Other personal traits and skills

These can mean the difference between good and great as a hotel owner or manager. Some to look out for include:

  • Decisive: Are you confident enough to make clear decisions in difficult situations?
  • Able to motivate: Do you encourage and inspire others to perform at their best?
  • Willing to embrace change: In a rapidly evolving industry, do you keep up-to-date with industry news and are you ready to explore new and innovative ways to do things?
  • Organised: With so many competing priorities, can you manage it all and still keep smiling?
  • Confident with tech: Can you identify and implement the right technology?

Keys to success in a hotel business: hotel software

Last, but definitely not least, embracing hotel technology is a game-changer that can bring more guests and revenue and generally accelerate your overall hotel success.

You might already be using some hotel software, but are you taking advantage of all options? These include:

  • Channel manager: allows you to manage your rates and rooms in real time and showcase your property on all the top performing booking channels
  • Hotel booking engine: creates a seamless booking experience which converts more direct bookings and can be connected to Google Hotel Ads
  • Hotel business insights: provides clear data on your market and performance so you can optimise your pricing and distribution
  • Apps that allow you to create a self check-in from any tablet, message guests across multiple platforms, manage ancillary services, increase online reviews and more.

Find out how SiteMinder can help you achieve hotel success or try SiteMinder’s channel manager for free right now.

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