Hotels are facing more competition than ever before. Not only are they competing against other hotels in the area, but they're also dealing with the rising popularity of Airbnb and other home share services that are pulling people out of the hotel lobby.
Surviving the current landscape has forced hotels to think outside of the box and come up with new ways of attracting guests and building customer loyalty. Improved food and beverage offerings can help with this, and so can the very feature we mentioned above:
The Hotel Lobby
This is one of the most important tools a hotel has when combating the encroaching home share market. Hotel lobbies are unique, energetic places where people can gather with other people, whether it be in the morning, during happy hour, or later at night. When compared with going home to a quiet home or apartment that Airbnb or VRBO provides, hotels are smart in playing to the type of customer base who prefers to be around other people and who chooses to return in the evening to a bright, welcoming environment with staff members who can help take care of any needs or questions.
But hotel lobbies aren't the only trends that can help hotels gain an advantage over home sharing options. Consider these other ideas:
Amenities are things hotels can offer that most home share options can't. Cleaning services, swimming pools, and exercise rooms help draw in customers, but one of the things that really appeals to the average person can be free food. A continental breakfast can go a long way towards encouraging someone to stay at your hotel, for example. So can a bowl of fresh fruit in the lobby that's open for the taking. And the fact that hotel guests don't have to worry about grocery shopping, cooking, or cleaning up before departure is even more appealing.
Making each person who walks through your hotel's lobby feel important is a great way to build customer loyalty. One of the ways you can do this is making sure you have food options that fit into special dietary restrictions. Keep your kitchen stocked with gluten-free, dairy alternatives, vegan, and low-calorie food, for example. It doesn't hurt to ask if a guest has any dietary requests when they're checking in. The upfront cost may be a bit higher, but the customer loyalty it generates is worth the extra expense.
Free Goodies in the Room
Free stuff and customer loyalty go hand in hand. Setting up the room with things like a few pieces of free fruit, some free water bottles, free packets of coffee, and some granola is an excellent way of encouraging a first-time guest at your hotel to become a return customer.
Happy Hour Specials
Hotels that are equipped with a restaurant or bar should seriously consider things like happy hour specials and guest vouchers. Not only does this encourage guests to use the restaurant/bar but also draws locals into your hotel when they're looking for an evening out. The extra revenue quickly adds up.
Reliable Room Service
One of the biggest advantages hotels have is one of its most classic. Room service is a great way to generate extra income, and it's not something people find at the average home share. The convenience of having a warm meal delivered right to your room is something guests will always value as an option, whether they wind up using it or not.
As a subset of room service, takeout is also becoming a popular option. Instead of promoting your hotel's room service option, guests love being able to simply pick something up before heading up to their room, and your hotel kitchen will generate more income. Another option you might consider is offering a service that sends an employee out to local restaurants to pick up an order and then delivers it to your guests' room. This saves tired guests the hassle of going back out and fighting traffic and shows that your hotel provides an outstanding service not found at any home share options.
Remember Local Events
Local festivals, sporting events, and conferences attract people to your town. They can also attract guests to your hotel. Think of different ways you can use local events to promote your hotel. Consider offering a special discount on drinks/food to people who are attending the event (for example, show the ticket and get a free drink) or create a drink/dish that matches the event's theme.
With a little outside-the-box thinking, hotels can use their food and hospitality services to successfully compete against local home share choices. Get a foodservice equipment assessment from GMV Sales, and let us help you develop some ideas for attracting more guests with foodservice trends.