5 tips toward running a profitable hotel

Running a hotel is never easy. This has never rung truer than in current times, as owners face an onslaught of headwinds from labor distress to interest rate hikes. But there are still ways to turn a buck or two. Here are five tips for running a profitable hotel: 

1. Tech embrace: The sooner you become comfortable adopting new innovations that positively impact the guest and staff experience, the better. Benefits from the guest’s perspective range from automated check-in and check-out to self-service kiosks to contactless payment solutions. With an increased number of travelers balancing work and travel, providing these convenient, time-saving amenities could be the deciding factor when considering where to stay. In fact, a recent McKinsey & Company survey revealed that more than one third (35%) of U.S. workers are able to work from anywhere full-time making it that much more critical for hotel owners to create appealing spaces for this new demographic of the “bleisure” traveler. 

When it comes to optimizing your staff experience, welcoming new technology is just as important. Hotel owners can use data analytics to gain insight into guest behavior and preferences. There are several guest survey software options that make it easy to gain feedback that can be incorporated into improving the guest experience. In addition to the ability to offer personalized on-property services, your marketing team can leverage feedback to create targeted marketing campaigns. 

2. Sustainable focus: Travelers are increasingly expressing concern over environmental and sustainability issues and are looking for the best ways to offset any negative impact their travel might have on them. According to a recent survey, 83% of Americans are experiencing guilt about the environmental impact of their past trips. Implementing environmentally friendly practices can help attract today’s more eco-conscious guests. Additionally, travelers have reported a willingness to spend more on accommodations and ancillary services that make their trip more sustainable.  

Adopting a more sustainable infrastructure can also help save on operating costs. In addition to practices, such as adopting energy-efficient lighting and instituting a recycling program, consider approaches that educate guests, as well. For example, some hotels are including timers in showers to make guests aware of when they are wasting water. It’s also helpful to take inventory of your hotel’s food and beverage practices to assess where ingredients are sourced and how they are harvested and transported. 

3. Unique offer: One way to set a hotel apart from the competition is by providing experiences guests can’t easily have elsewhere. By taking advantage of the local area, for instance, hotels can appeal to the growing number of travelers who are looking to “live like a local” during their stay. Hotels can attract travelers by creating share-worthy, curated on- and off-site experiences. In fact, some property owners are going as far as to have notable locals share a day in their lives with guests on their hotel’s website, social media channels and in the rooms to give guests an aspirational roadmap to make the most of their time in the area. 

Offering unique and authentic experiences will go a long way in attracting guests who value experiences over just a place to stay. This approach can also improve guest satisfaction, increase loyalty and generate positive reviews that will attract travelers over the long run. 

4. Max out revenue: A savvy operations approach to managing revenue can be the difference between success and failure of any hotel business. Luckily, there is a plethora of data available to help you assess and adjust your pricing strategies for optimal return on your investment.  

One way to maximize revenue is to build a revenue-minded team that is trained to assess spending and income on an ongoing basis and make changes when necessary. Also, consider upselling on-site and in-room amenities. For example, a hotel with a unique aesthetic can offer guests the opportunity to purchase soap, skin care products or robes to commemorate their travel experience. Unique on- and off-site experiences can become a part of an optimized revenue model. Specially curated tour packages and transportation services are excellent options to help increase revenue. 

5. Staff development: Hotel staff play a significant role in driving profitability. It’s important to put systems in place to ensure ongoing training and development to enhance skills. Implementing practices such as job satisfaction surveys to gain feedback on what is working and where improvement is needed can be especially helpful to build an overall culture of excellence and support for a team’s growth.  

Investing in online training is a proven approach to address topics ranging from basic skills improvement to unconscious bias. To build on this approach, it is helpful to invest in team members attending in-person industry conferences where they can hear about trends and best practices directly from their peers. Approaching staff development as an integral part of a business strategy will result in increased employee retention, improved guest satisfaction and increased profitability. 

With trends such as work-from-anywhere, a focus on sustainability and the desire for unique experiences expected to continue, it’s more important than ever for hotel owners to implement strategies to ensure long-term profitability. It is also imperative to leverage new technology and innovation to improve upon traditional business practices to maximize revenue, build successful teams, increase guest satisfaction and loyalty and ultimately, ensure profitability.

Story contributed by Melissa DelBuono, director, Travel Funders Network