Making Sure Your Hotel Chain Stays at the Top

OK, hotel owners: Now that you are operating your chain, it’s time to talk about staying ahead of the competition. It is critical to understand that getting there and staying there are two vastly different things.

Today, we’re going to build a little playbook that can help you move from average to amazing.

It is simple to define, hard to do, and is what separates the winners and losers in the great idea arena.

  • Do what you say you are going to do, in management and service.
  • Every phone call, email, and meeting needs to define the 3 W’s set forth by Magnuson Hotels co-founder Melissa Magnuson: Who’s going to do What by When?
  • Serve others first, then yourself; benchmark your progress and repeat every day.

This means leverage. How do we get more results from our efforts, assets and resources? It means running your hotel chain using standardization to scale more profits and effectiveness. Take McDonald’s, for example: When you go past the drive-up window, they only offer a few items, customers decide quickly, and are served quickly. With few items to sell, higher volumes can be reached faster.

Every day, we hoteliers have one job to do—sell rooms. ‘It may be 100,000 rooms a day or 1,000, but we all have the same challenges.

  • Be frictionless. Make sure it’s as easy as possible for your customers to buy. Keep it simple. In your hotel, don’t offer too many room types with too many rates.
  • A few years ago, we audited our inventory at Magnuson Hotels and determined that we had 200 room types. Many were the same configurations, but with different names such as King non-smoking, K- NS, etc. So we cut it down to five types: Single, double, mini-suite, suite, and handicap accessible hotel rooms. Room sales soared, and our reporting became much more effective. The fewer room types you have, the easier it is to sell, track, and even clean.
  • Don’t set up complicated rate structures—sell as few rates as possible. Some hotels may have 20 singles and 20 doubles, but they have 20 rate types, which will overwhelm customers who will then go to a competitor where they sell only two rates. One good rate strategy is to use three rates—short term, near term, and advance.
  • Try to sell as many rooms as possible at the highest market price, but don’t freak out about ADR (average daily rate). Sell that room if you have it, because you cannot take ADR to the bank, and you cannot sell yesterday’s room.
  • Make it easy for your distribution partners. Keep the rates simple, keep the reviews high, and use good images. If you do this, the OTAs and GDS travel agents will sell you all day long.

ABC means ‘always be closing.’ As CEO, your job is to set the momentum, and momentum sells rooms. You don’t have to be on the phone all day, but you need to set the pace which inspires employee and vendor partner engagement and enthusiasm. Nothing sells better than a true belief in your product, and a commitment to serving people honestly.

Make sure that you are correctly aligning strategy with sales. Set your targets high if the opportunity is there, and you have the means to get there. If your sales are not matching up with your strategy, you need to look at the alignment of your objectives with your target segments, your marketing/sales resources, and your product’s market differentiation.