As hoteliers, the biggest challenge is how to get customers in the door; making them a return customer is the easy part.
So here are some ways to get your hotel’s name out in the community and generate a positive buzz about your property and staff.
Holding a ‘business after hours’ party at your property can showcase your hotel efficiently in multiple ways. The first step is determining the purpose, who do you want to have drinks with, and why?
Travel industry night.
Invite people in the industry such as the local convention bureau or chamber of commerce. They are key in booking conventions and groups in your market, so you want to make sure that they are familiar with you and your hotel. This can lead to them suggesting your property to smaller groups, and helping you with the bidding process on large groups.
Local travel agents, who book local corporate, group business. Offer them a free room after the party with a welcome basket. The event can also be a great way to access local company lists of corporate visitors.
Targeted industry nights.
Look at your local market. For example Spokane WA has a population of 470,000. Its 4 largest employment sectors are military, government and medical, higher education.
Hold nights once a month such as these-
- We support the medical industry night.
Invite doctors, nurses, support and support staff. Spokane WA is a medical hub for a 350 mile radius region, with over 1300 doctors for a population of 470,000. Become the place to stay for families travelling with an infirmed person.
- We support USA Federal, State and local government employees night.
- We support the military night.
Are you near a military base? Fairchild Air Force Base at Spokane employs nearly 6,000 people. And all have friends and family coming to town.
- We support higher education night.
Showcase your hotel for conferences, sports teams.
- We support the funeral industry.
Become the place to stay with special rates for families and friends attending funerals. The USA Death rate is 799.5 deaths per 100,000 population. For Spokane, that means nearly 4,000 family events per year.
It is important to include support staff and executive assistants; they will generally be the first line of communication for potential clients, as well as the gatekeeper of the organization. Target all local corporate sectors; technology, manufacturing, retail, dining, bartenders, etc.
Sponsoring a local event is another way to gain recognition for your hotel in the community. Hosting the event at the hotel will give the most exposure, but if that’s not possible you can still gain a lot by having your name out there. Community events will advertise in advance and usually name the sponsors. In addition, they will definitely talk about the sponsors during the event, plus the added exposure from any giveaways you participate in.
As hotel owners and managers it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day operations and forget why you love this business. So go back to the basics and remember that the definition of hospitality is “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, and strangers.” Be proud of your hotel and staff, and get the word out there that your hotel is the friendliest in town!
So—who to have drinks with? Everyone in town!