There are so many things that go into being a successful hotel owner, but there are definitely some strategies you can follow to make sure you’re on the right track to success. These ten tips will help you to become a successful independent hotelier, whether you’re just starting out or looking to achieve more business.
1) Be genuine
No two hotel operators run their business in exactly the same way, so don’t expect there to be a one-size-fits-all solution. To effectively operate your hotel (regardless of whether you own or manage it), you need to ensure that your customers know their feedback is genuinely appreciated. This means personally responding and adapting to reviews and complaints. Not only will being genuine help grow your relationships with customers, but it can also help you to differentiate from bigger operators in your area. And isn’t that what we all want?
2) Never look down on your customers
When you run your own hotel, it can sometimes be easy to dismiss your customers and focus more on their money than the individuals themselves. Avoid becoming jaded about your guests and NEVER look down on them. Remember that every customer provides an opportunity to learn something new about yourself or your business, and you’ll find yourself growing as an entrepreneur. Smile at every customer and they will smile back, potentially opening up new lines of communication.
3) Being nice pays off
Nice things happen when you are nice. This may seem like an obvious statement, but it needs repeating. Be kind and respectful to your staff, customers, vendors and even competitors — and reap what you sow. The good karma will come back in some form of support down the road. We promise. It might not always be money, clients or PR, but something positive will return to you if you are doing good things in your business day-to-day. And sometimes that’s all you need!
Customers love and will be more likely to visit your hotel when you have great reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or Google. While these are not something you can totally control, they are a reflection of you and your team delivering on-site. So, remember that everything you say or do counts.
4) Always deliver more than you promise
Always do more than you say you will. Customers expect business owners, hotel operators and hotel staff to give 100% all of the time, and no one is going to blame you if something goes wrong—after all, that’s part of running a business. But when it comes to delivering on your promises, customers will hold you responsible for giving more than your word. Deliver superior customer service at every interaction with your customers.
5) Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Customers are a hotel’s lifeblood: without them, we would have no revenue, no profit. But it’s not just about being nice to your customers. Providing top-notch customer service will directly impact your business’s bottom line and how others see your place in your industry.
6) Budget wisely
It might seem obvious, but knowing how much money you have to work with and when is vital. Knowing where you stand from month to month will help you make better decisions about what upgrades are most important, and how quickly—or slowly—you can expand. And don’t forget about risk management; having a buffer between what you earn each month and your expenses will help in case of emergencies or unexpected surprises. Of course, determining exactly how much of an emergency something is will vary by individual case.
7) Focus on Value Over Price
A major mistake many new hotel owners make is selecting which properties they want to purchase based solely on how expensive they are. The trouble with such an approach is that it usually leads to hotels located in areas where there aren’t as many potential customers. It’s better, instead, to select properties with solid cash flow and value. A low purchase price may look good at first glance, but if your profit margins are tiny or nonexistent, you might be better off paying more for a property that produces higher returns.
8) Never stop learning and improving
There is always more you can do and learn. If you stop learning, your business will get stale. Learn from industry leaders and others who are ahead of you in their game. Read about others’ experiences and mistakes, so that you won’t have to go through them yourself. Keep up with technological developments in your industry—but make sure it doesn’t take time away from doing what your business does best.
9) Love what you do
Being an entrepreneur and running your own business is not an easy path, so you need to genuinely love what you do. One of my repeat quotes for any entrepreneur is “if you are not obsessed with your business, then don’t do it!”. If you’re looking to get rich quickly and want something that will only take up part of your time, then being an entrepreneur is not right for you. You have to really enjoy your work or else it will show in everything that you do. You won’t enjoy it if you don’t believe in it, so always follow your passion.
10) Have fun!
Enjoy yourself! You’re opening your own business! If you love it, chances are, others will too.
Ultimately, when someone hands over their keys to an independent hotel operator, they want to feel confident that you’re equipped with all of the knowledge you need (and more) to make the property shine.
Hamlet Hotels is run by a veteran of hospitality. Get in touch today if you want to shift all the hassle of running your hotel operations, giving you more free time to expand more in your sector and still benefit from a guaranteed return you would expect running your own hotels.