For any hotel business to thrive, creating a well-developed and researched business plan is key. There is no shortcut for this. You really need to put in the time, and even get a team together to help with different sections of the plan. The business plan should focus on driving profits, budget for marketing, a SWOT analysis, an area for research on the competition, and ultimately give you a plan for the future so you have key areas you can work on. Ideally, you would do a business plan every year.
These are the areas of a business plan you will want to work on:
Decide your pricing strategy
You need to figure out how you will price your hotel rooms when demand is high and what promotions you can afford to run when demand is lower. Depending upon the month, you come to know which nights your hotel is high occupancy. This enables you to plan in advance to earn higher hotel revenues in the peak season.
How to gain more bookings
You need to figure out which of the booking sources give you the highest ROI. You need to focus on marketing on social media – are you doing everything you can on these platforms to drive more sales and reach more people? Hotel marketing strategies often focus on SEO, email campaigns and social media. When used correctly, these areas can really help drive more bookings.
Which promotions to run
In your business plan, try and create a section that looks at guest behaviour. For instance, focus on what percentage of sales come from mobile bookings, look at how long guests stay for, focus on what popular times your guests stay, and so on. Your report should show you how each of your promotions last year fared, and how you can improve this in the following year. Are the promotions even working? You can then make changes in your marketing strategies.
How to reduce cancellations
Many hotels have a problem with cancellations, and are then left with an empty room. Often times when you get more bookings, the rate of cancellation increases too. Use your hotel revenue management system to figure out when most cancellations took place and then analyse why this might have happened. You can then work to improve your services that will prevent further cancellations in the future.
Using a Digital Hotelier with marketing experience
You might want to look into hiring some professional help to assist you with some of your business plan. An area that could benefit you is social media marketing. If you don’t have the understanding or the time to focus on this yourself, a digital hotelier with marketing experience could help you.
Your business plan may also flag up other areas you need help with – for instance, you might want to look into getting a better accountant, a different reception team, or a new customer service rep. Whatever your business plan suggests, don’t be afraid to use these points constructively to move forward and gain those much needed hotel bookings.