One common saying is that location is everything. Unfortunately, not every hotel can occupy the kind of prime location that owners dream about – but every hotel has to be somewhere, and there’s always a way to use your surroundings to your advantage. One idea here is that if you can support your local community, that community will support you – so here are some ways to take advantage of where you are, wherever you are.
When people choose where to stay, the hotel is not usually the first thing they look at. The first step is the destination. There is usually a reason why people want to visit a particular place, and your job is to tie your hotel to those reasons.
Sometimes the reasons are easy enough to figure out – many places are famous for one or two particular attractions and you’ll know exactly what they are. For example, people visit Prague for the beauty of its Old Town. Some places have a large number of well-known attractions. For example, the list of sights in Paris is endless. Other places don’t seem to have quite so much going for them on the surface, but certainly have their charms if you dig a little deeper. For example, Kuala Lumpur has certainly been called boring in its time, but is also considered a kind of paradise for food.
If you know your own destination and you know your guests, you can begin to find ways to promote the destination in a way that puts your hotel at the forefront. When people seek out information on your city, your goal is to be one of the key content providers they find, and your hotel will accordingly find its way on to their list of booking options.
One perfect example of this strategy is provided by the owners of a small group of hotels in a ski village in Japan. If you search for information about skiing in Nozawa Onsen, you will inevitably land on the blog of Nozawa Holidays, which provides resort information, the latest snow status reports, and lots of ideas about things to do in and around the village, all in a friendly and helpful manner. When it’s time to choose your accommodation, who are you going to stay with?
The guys in Nozawa then take their destination strategy to the next level by partnering with other businesses in the village. They offer information about local restaurants, their latest menus and house specials. They team up with the local ski rental shops. They can put you in touch with a professional photographer who can make you look great on the slopes. They have even forged strong relationships with other rival hoteliers in the village so that when they don’t have rooms available, they can still arrange accommodation for visitors at another guesthouse.
In a way, they have become a key part of their own community, and are certainly highly regarded by the villagers whose small businesses are patronized by hotel guests. Everyone involved has an interest in looking after guests and making sure they have the best possible experience in Nozawa. The hotel group has used the destination to promote itself, has created additional business for partners in the village, and can rely upon the local community for support when it’s needed.
To be frank, the hotels themselves don’t really have any unique features to beat the competition – they are clean, warm, convenient and pleasant, and receive excellent reviews – but the outstanding marketing attraction is the ability to promote the destination. The thing that keeps people coming back is the fact that they and their village deliver on their promises.