By Bruce Hakutizwi
How is your motel business performing? Industry statistics suggest that you should be, on average, close to 70% occupied throughout the year. Whether you’re achieving these rates or not, there are many ways you can further boost your motel’s success.
The hospitality industry is doing well in the United States with total revenue at $206 billion. And as the industry continues to grow, so are the number of hotels, motels, and inns opening for business. With over 100,000 lodging properties currently operating, how can you make your motel stand out from the crowd?
To compete in this industry and surpass consumer expectations, motel owners need to ensure they stay on top of the latest hospitality trends. Here, we identify six ways to make your motel business stand out and how to cater to today’s guests.
1. Build an experience
A study conducted by the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University wanted to uncover what guests truly care about when staying at a hotel or motel. According to the study’s findings, guests value comfort, cleanliness, and service above everything else—even over location and amenities.
To run a successful, modern motel, you need to focus on what your customers prioritize the most: the experience. Invest money in areas that can enhance their experience, like purchasing higher quality linens and mattresses, or qualified employees who can deliver excellent customer service.
2. Advertise both online and offline
Don’t underestimate the power of Google My Business. This tool expands your business’s visibility where it matters most: in search results. Typically, your target consumers will look online using location-based queries when browsing for a place to stay. Having your business’s information readily available for potential visitors to find in local search results is crucial. Plus, a Google account has a variety of other beneficial functions, such as providing geo-markers on Google maps to pinpoint your location, a library of images, and guest reviews.
At the same time, you should be investing in traditional marketing tactics, such as out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Speak to your customers at their exact moment of interest by advertising alongside popular highways on road signs, billboards, and exit signs that are close in proximity to your establishment.
3. Create a fully functional website
Businesses earn trust and credit through their online presence, especially their website. Design your website with your guests in mind, and focus on the user experience. This means ensuring that your site offers relevant and valuable content, is easy to navigate, quick to load, and compatible with a variety of devices,
Recent research shows that 48% of consumers research, book and plan for trips with their smartphone, so having a site that is mobile-friendly is a must. Keep in mind that being mobile-friendly implies more than just fitting-to-screen, but actually being optimized specifically for mobile use. In addition, approximately one-third of consumers admit to forming a negative opinion on a brand if their mobile experience is slow.
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4. Offer direct online booking
Can you easily transform lookers into bookers? Offering direct online booking options can significantly increase your occupancy rates. Everything from your Google account, website, and even social channels should include a booking functionality, which has a clear call-to-action button that leads to a seamless and simple reservation process.
Finally, you want to broaden your reach by partnering with popular travel sites such as Trivago, Booking.com, and Expedia. This allows you to advertise your business on a trusted platform and gain additional views and potential reservations.
5. Leverage user-generated content
In a society where the majority of consumers trust the opinion of strangers behind a screen as much as a personal friend, it’s important to consider your business’s online reviews. Encourage your guests to leave comments and share their experience. With the average consumer reading 10 reviews before being able to trust a business, it’s better to have more feedback than none at all.
In addition to supporting feedback, you should be acknowledging responses as well. Nearly 90% of consumers admitted to reading business’s responses to reviews. It is crucial that you address and respond to all comments, both good and, more importantly, bad.
6. Modernize the look and feel
Motels sometimes have a reputation of being old fashioned and of poor quality. Modernizing your motel can help breathe new life into your business and attract new and returning visitors. For instance, investing in a fresh coat of paint or updating furniture can go a long way in rejuvenating your motel.
In additional to revamping the look, you should also update the technologies. Consider getting faster-speed internet and a better Wi-Fi network. Free Wi-Fi is one of the primary deciding factors for consumers choosing a motel or hotel, so it is critical to offer this pivotal service.
Running a motel can be an attractive business opportunity for entrepreneurs; however, to be successful, your motel has to be brought up to speed with current consumer behaviors and preferences.