How important is the job to attract guests, and how should hotels organize this work? Every company needs paying customers to create a sustainable business. Without guests, a hotel cannot survive for long.
There are three primary jobs to be done in a hotel. The first one is to attract guests to stay at the hotel. The second one is to take care of the guests and deliver the promised experience. The third and final job is to count the money, happily deposit the money in the bank and comply with legal requirements in keeping financial records. Within each area, there are endless jobs to be done, but a simple structure is a good starting point for further analysis of what hotels need to do.
Before the pandemic, management in hotels did not have to think much about acquiring guests because they just kept coming. Hotels were probably one of the most spoiled industries with a growth rate of 4%-7% annually for travel for the past ten years. The pandemic caused a standstill or rather a pause in travel growth, but there is a solid underlying demand that will start to come back. Hotels that are passively waiting for guests to return might not make it. Revenue will not cover costs, and hotels will therefore burn cash until it runs out of money. The hotels that are good to capture demand during the recovery will survive and then prosper when the market returns to 2019 levels and starts to grow again.
Any hotel can take three actions to increase the likelihood of attracting guests and capture enough revenue to cover the costs.
Plan a recovery strategy
Every hotel needs a strategy on how to recover from the pandemic. The focus should be on recovering revenue. The guests are coming to the destination for a specific reason and need to stay overnight. The actions from the hotel will be to attract and capture guests to stay at the hotel and not at competing hotels. To be able to succeed, a hotel needs a creative strategy and a solid action plan. For the first time since the financial crisis, hotels need to think about the top line and take action to make sure they bring in the revenue they need. Difficult? Maybe, if you have not done this before. There are no shortcuts. Planning a recovery strategy cannot be automated and or outsourced. If you need help, uses consultants and experts but keep your unique plan in-house. We have a list of items to include in a recovery strategy. We are happy to send the list if you contact Demand Calendar (email@example.com)
Set objectives and track KPIs
The second action is to set goals. What do you want to achieve, and when do you want to reach the goal. Setting objectives and tracking KPIs is a popular method. For example, one objective could be to get a higher market share. The KPI to measure this is RGI. There is a starting point, and there is a goal. When you know where you are now and where you want to be in the future, the next step is to come of with actions that will take you to the goal. For example, the commercial team in a hotel needs a couple of objectives and a few KPIs. Focus on the most critical objectives that will lead the hotel to success. Too many objectives are spreading your resources too thin and are not the fastest track to the goal.
Build a commercial team
There are two options. One option is to execute the plan all by yourself as the GM with some help from other hotel employees. Hotel GMs have too many other tasks to handle, which might divert the GM's time to other less critical issues. The risk is high that the execution starts to slip and that the hotel misses opportunities that never come back. The other option is to hire a dedicated Commerical Manager with team members who will focus 100 % on executing the strategy. This option will bring the hotel faster to the goal. The GM can be available to make decisions, support the commercial team, and track the progress.
The recovery will take some time. Only hotels that come up with and execute a well-planned strategy will come out on top. The others will suffer for a long time, and if they survive, they will also prosper again since people want to travel.
For more ideas, download the white paper "Create a High-Performance Commercial Team."