“Don’t wait for opportunity to knock, create a door”
– Hilton Barbour, Global Brand Leader
As a hospitality professional, you understand the importance of growth and expansion in the industry. However, expanding your hotel or resort empire is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires smart growth strategies, careful planning, and execution to ensure success. This article will explore the importance of scaling your hotel or resort empire, the benefits of doing so, and actionable steps to achieve smart growth.
Case Study: IHG Hotels and Resorts
A popular hotel brand that has implemented smart growth strategies is IHG Hotels & Resorts. IHG leads the hospitality business with over 5,900 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries. Their smart growth strategies have contributed to their success in expanding their empire. Here are five ways they have implemented smart growth:
- Strategic partnerships: IHG has established strategic partnerships with other brands, such as the InterContinental Alliance Resorts, to expand their brand presence and reach new audiences.
- New hotel concepts: IHG has introduced new hotel concepts, such as avid hotels, to target underserved markets and capture new customers.
- Technology innovation: IHG has invested in technology innovation to enhance the guest experience and improve operational efficiency. For example, their IHG Studio platform provides guests with personalized content and services during their stay.
- Sustainable growth: IHG has made sustainability a priority in their growth strategies, with initiatives such as reducing plastic waste and carbon emissions.
- Franchise model: IHG has used a franchise model to expand their brand quickly and efficiently, while also providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to own and operate their own hotel.
Benefits of Scaling Your Hotel/Resort Business
Smart growth plans provide several advantages, as shown by the numbers. According to McKinsey & Company, smart growth strategies lead to higher revenue growth and total shareholder returns. Here are some additional benefits:
- Increased revenue: Smart growth strategies can lead to increased revenue by expanding your brand presence and capturing new customers.
- Operational efficiency: Smart growth strategies can improve operational efficiency by leveraging technology and innovation.
- Brand recognition: Expanding your hotel or resort empire can increase brand recognition and strengthen your competitive position in the industry.
- Talent retention: Smart growth strategies can provide opportunities for career growth and advancement for employees, leading to higher retention rates.
- Resilience: Diversifying your portfolio and growing your empire might make your business more adaptable to economic downturns and other obstacles.
Smart Growth Strategies You Can Use To Expand Your Hotel/Resort
Expanding your hotel or resort empire with smart growth strategies requires a comprehensive approach that aligns with your business objectives and leverages your strengths. Here are six key strategies to consider:
- Conduct market research to identify growth opportunities and target markets: Conducting market research is essential for identifying new growth opportunities and understanding your target markets. It can help you identify gaps in the market, assess the competition, and understand customer preferences and behavior.
- Develop a growth strategy that aligns with your business objectives and leverages your strengths: Your hotel or resort’s expansion strategy should support your company goals. It should be focused, targeted, and achievable within your budget and timeline.
- Establish strategic partnerships to expand your brand presence and reach new audiences: Strategic alliances with other brands can help you grow your brand, reach new consumers, and gain market share. Partner with airlines, travel agents, or other hotels and resorts to cross-promote your brand and provide customers with additional services.
- Innovate with technology to enhance the guest experience and improve operational efficiency: Technology can enhance the tourist experience and boost operational efficiency. Consider investing in new technology, such as mobile check-in, chatbots, or virtual concierge services, to offer guests personalized services and streamline your operations.
- Focus on sustainability to promote responsible growth and attract eco-conscious customers: Sustainability has become an important consideration for today’s travelers, and promoting responsible growth can attract eco-conscious customers. Consider implementing sustainable practices, such as reducing plastic waste, using renewable energy sources, or offering eco-tourism experiences.
Things to Consider on Scaling Hotel/Resort Business
1. The Role of Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots
In customer service and interaction, AI and chatbots are becoming increasingly significant in the hospitality business. Hotels and resorts employ AI and chatbots in these ways:
- 24/7 Customer Support: Chatbots may give 24/7 customer service to guests, answering their inquiries and requests at any time. This can improve the guest experience and reduce the workload of hotel staff.
- Personalization: AI and chatbots can use data to personalize the guest experience, such as recommending local attractions, restaurants, or events based on the guest’s preferences and past behavior.
- Operational Efficiency: Chatbots can automate tasks such as booking confirmations, room service requests, and check-ins, reducing the workload of hotel staff and improving operational efficiency.
- Language Support: Chatbots can support multiple languages, making it easier for international guests to communicate with hotel staff and access information.
- Data Analysis: AI can analyze guest data to identify trends and patterns, allowing hotels to optimize their operations and improve the guest experience.
- Revenue Generation: AI can be used to generate additional revenue, such as by recommending upsells or promoting add-on services.
One popular hotel brand that has implemented AI and chatbots is Marriott International. Marriott’s AI-powered chatbots exist on Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WeChat. The chatbots can answer guest questions, provide local recommendations, and assist with booking requests, among other things.
The benefits of using AI and chatbots in the hospitality industry are clear. They can improve the guest experience, reduce operational costs, and generate additional revenue. According to Oracle, 80% of hotel operators think AI will benefit the sector.
However, AI and chatbots should not replace human engagement. While they can automate certain tasks and provide quick answers to common questions, they cannot replace the human touch and personalized service that hotels and resorts are known for.
2. Virtual and Augmented Reality Experiences
VR/AR experiences are growing in popularity in the hospitality business. These technologies offer a unique way for hotels and resorts to engage with guests and enhance the guest experience. VR/AR experiences in hotels and resorts include:
- Virtual Tours: VR technology can give tourists virtual tours of hotel rooms, facilities, and area attractions. This can assist guests plan their trips by giving them a preview of their stay.
- Immersive Experiences: AR technology can create immersive experiences, such as interactive exhibits, games, or tours. This can provide guests with a unique and memorable experience that sets the hotel or resort apart from competitors.
- Training and Education: VR can be used to train new hires or educate visitors about the destination’s history and culture.
- Marketing and Promotions: VR/AR experiences can be used for marketing and promotions, such as promoting a new hotel property or showcasing a destination. This can create buzz and generate interest among potential guests.
- Accessibility: VR/AR experiences can make travel more accessible for individuals with disabilities or mobility issues. For example, virtual tours can provide a way for individuals to explore a destination without physically traveling there.
One popular hotel brand that has implemented VR/AR experiences is Marriott International. Marriott has partnered with companies like Samsung and Holoride to provide guests with immersive experiences such as virtual travel experiences and AR-guided art tours.
The benefits of using VR/AR experiences in the hospitality industry are numerous. They can enhance the guest experience, create buzz and generate interest, and make travel more accessible for all individuals. VR hotel tours increased room bookings, according to a University of Nevada research.
However, VR/AR should not replace human engagement entirely. While they can provide a unique and engaging experience, they cannot replace the human touch and personalized service that hotels and resorts are known for.
3. The Impact of the Sharing Economy and Alternative Accommodations
The rise of the sharing economy and alternative accommodations has had a significant impact on the hospitality industry. Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have changed the lodging industry and given travelers new options. Here are some of the ways that the sharing economy and alternative accommodations have impacted the hospitality industry:
- Increased Competition: The rise of alternative accommodations has increased competition for traditional hotels and resorts. Travelers now have more options to choose from, and hotels must compete with alternative accommodations on price, amenities, and location.
- Changing Consumer Preferences: The sharing economy has changed consumer preferences when it comes to travel accommodations. Many travelers now prefer the authentic and local experience that alternative accommodations provide, rather than the standardized experience offered by traditional hotels.
- Disruption of the Hotel Industry: Alternative accommodations have disrupted the traditional hotel model by offering a more personalized and flexible experience. They have also made it easier for individuals to become hosts and offer their own properties for rent, further disrupting the traditional hotel industry.
- Impact on Local Communities: The sharing economy has affected local communities. Short-term rentals can hurt local property markets and disrupt residential communities, yet some cities have failed to manage them.
- Innovation in the Hotel Industry: The sharing economy has driven traditional hotels and resorts to adapt to changing consumer expectations. Many hotels are now offering more personalized and local experiences, such as local food and beverage options, and unique activities and experiences.
The impact of the sharing economy and alternative accommodations on the hospitality industry is complex and multifaceted. However, the sharing economy has encouraged traditional hotels and resorts to innovate and adapt to shifting customer demands, which can improve guest experiences.
4. Tips for Adapting to Changing Market Conditions
Adapting to shifting market conditions is essential for long-term success in the hospitality sector. Some tips for hotels and resorts to adjust to shifting market conditions include:
- Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends: To respond to market changes, stay educated about industry trends and market conditions. Hotels should regularly review industry reports, attend industry events, and network with other professionals to stay informed about emerging trends and changes in the market.
- Embrace Technology: Technology is constantly evolving and hotels must stay on top of these changes to remain competitive. Hotels should consider implementing technology such as mobile check-in, keyless entry, and personalized recommendations based on guest data to enhance the guest experience and stay ahead of the competition.
- Focus on the Guest Experience: Any hotel or resort’s success depends on the guest experience. Hotels should prioritize the guest experience by offering personalized service, unique amenities, and memorable experiences that set them apart from competitors.
- Be Flexible: In a continuously changing sector, hotels must be flexible and adaptable. This may involve changing business strategies, re-evaluating pricing models, or adjusting marketing campaigns to respond to shifts in consumer behavior.
- Monitor and Respond to Guest Feedback: Guest feedback can provide valuable insights into changing market conditions and trends. Hotels should actively monitor guest feedback and respond to it in a timely and effective manner, making changes as necessary to improve the guest experience and stay competitive.
Long-term hospitality success requires adapting to shifting market conditions. By staying informed about industry trends, embracing technology, focusing on the guest experience, being flexible, and monitoring guest feedback, hotels and resorts can successfully navigate changing market conditions and stay ahead of the competition.
5. The Path to Ongoing Success in Hotel and Resort Marketing
Marketing is an essential aspect of the hotel and resort industry, and ongoing success requires continuous effort and adaptation to changing market conditions. Here are some tips for achieving ongoing success in hotel and resort marketing:
- Develop a Strong Brand Identity: A strong brand identity is critical for establishing your hotel or resort in the marketplace. This includes a well-defined brand strategy, logo, and messaging that communicate your unique value proposition to potential guests.
- Embrace Digital Marketing: Digital marketing is an essential tool for reaching new guests and driving bookings. This covers SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.
- Focus on the Guest Experience: The guest experience is crucial to any hotel or resort’s success. You can establish client loyalty and favorable word-of-mouth by prioritizing the visitor experience and delivering excellent service and amenities.
- Monitor and Analyze Marketing Metrics: Monitoring and analyzing marketing data like website traffic, social media interaction, and conversion rates can reveal your marketing strategy’s efficacy. Use this data to make informed decisions and maximize your marketing efforts.
- Be Agile and Adaptable: The most successful hotels and resorts are those that can quickly adjust to shifting market conditions. This may involve changing marketing strategies, adjusting pricing models, or implementing new technology to improve the guest experience.
Expanding your hotel or resort empire with smart growth strategies requires a comprehensive approach that aligns with your business objectives, leverages your strengths, and takes advantage of new growth opportunities. By conducting market research, developing a targeted growth strategy, establishing strategic partnerships, innovating with technology, focusing on sustainability, and considering the franchise model, you can take your hotel or resort to the next level and achieve sustained success in the hospitality industry.
Scaling your hotel or resort empire with smart growth strategies is essential for success in the hospitality industry. By pursuing strategic partnerships and leveraging the franchise model, you can capture new customers and increase revenue. The benefits of smart growth strategies are numerous, from increased brand recognition and operational efficiency to talent retention and resilience. So, don’t wait for an opportunity to knock. Create a door with smart growth strategies and take your hotel or resort empire to the next level!