A year ago, at the very depth of Covid misery, three hotel brands knew the game has changed forever. A completely new approach was needed to save the year, and it was needed fast.
Hard Rock Hotels made the first move. Fairmont & Kimpton followed shortly.
For obvious reasons, hotels obsess over guests and increasing occupancy rates. But what can you do, when it's absolutely clear that for the next 12 - 18 months that is just not a viable strategy?
There are actually quite a few options, depending on the type of hotel you manage.
For four Hard Rock Hotels in the Caribbean, the spectre of international tourism collapsing was dire. But, the hotels quickly understood that the fact tourists are too anxious to travel, doesn't mean they are too anxious to prepay their stays. Their strategy was to start selling open-dated accommodation vouchers with extended validity. Knowing vouchers can be used anytime over 18 months, clients were perfectly happy to pay for them even in June 2020. Result? The four HRH properties sold and immediately received $1.5m between June and September. Quite a cashflow boost at a time when very few regular bookings were coming in!
Fairmont in Barcelona was lucky, in the sense it has a huge population of local residents right on their doorstep. It also has a spectacular open-air pool in a vast, perfectly manicured garden. Their strategy was to sell pool day passes, inviting Barcelonians to enjoy the grounds for a day. Locals turned out in force: over 2000 people paid to access the pool in the first 10 weeks of the summer. Netting the hotel over $60,000 immediately and spending much, much more on drinks, lunches and massages while there.
Kimpton Vividora has more of a business feel. It played right to this strength: the strategy was to sell private and co-working spaces. Locals who found themselves struggling to focus while working from home were happy to pay for a quiet sanctuary the hotel provided.
The three strategies were all different, but they have at least two things in common. One, which shouldn't surprise you, is that people working in hospitality are fabulously ingenious! Two is that to sell so efficiently, the hotels needed a trusted eCommerce partner, ready to get them selling within days. They all turned to Hotel Treats, a global eCommerce provider, with a platform designed specifically for hospitality businesses.
As much as we all hope normality is just around the corner, these strategies worked so well, they are here to stay. Quite simply, once you realise the potential unleashed by selling hotel experiences, vouchers, and merchandise online, you know the instant cash flow generated is too vast to pass up.