Return on investment (ROI): it’s the one thing that businesses across the board seem to have trouble defining, measuring and creatively maximizing. This can especially be seen within the hospitality industry where, for one reason or another, ROI can often feel MIA. If you can relate, here are five questions that can help you reimagine the possibilities of ROI:
1. How do you approach associate training/engagement? I’m a firm believer that if you give your employees what they need to feel empowered in their roles, your ROI will naturally and expediently grow. So, how can you achieve the ranks of market leaders defined by low turnover, like the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton? Consider how you’re training new hires and engaging existing associates. Are you investing in your employees by ensuring they’re a good cultural fit within your organization, for example? Are you working to identify and strengthen their best characteristics and skills? Are you doing all you can to place them in positions where they will excel not just in the short-term, but over the long haul? Think strategic and start getting in the game.
2. Do you have a social strategy? Over one-quarter of leisure travelers use social networking sites for travel planning, and 83 percent turn to social media as a source of travel inspiration. With more guests utilizing social media to communicate with properties and plan trips, it’s imperative that hoteliers tap into the power of social to bolster their brand’s presence and deliver truly memorable guest experiences. Consider C.T.-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which uniquely leverages social customer data to meet and exceed guest expectations. The organization proves that guests can be blown away by something as simple as a throw blanket, a box of tea and a handwritten note waiting for them on their bed. With research showing that 40 percent of hotels lack any sort of social media strategy, it seems many hotel managers are currently sitting on a unique opportunity for growth and return.
3. Are you embracing digitization, or does it overwhelm you? Whether you like it or not, research overwhelmingly shows that the Internet is the top source for both leisure and business travel planning. It’s no wonder 80 percent of companies last year identified digital transformation as their top strategic priority, and why a hotel’s digital tools have a moderate to strong impact on 70 percent of guests. Digitizing traditional business processes—check-ins, service requests, property tours—without question innovates the guest experience and, you guessed it, drives tangible ROI. If you doubt the power of digital, just keep this in mind: 70 percent of hoteliers say they see their greatest returns through online investments.
4. Do you know your property’s unique value proposition? What elements of your property do you consider to be most desirable for your target audience? Is it your stunning location? Your exclusive amenities? Do you offer the best price-to-value ratio within a 50-mile radius? Identify your property’s unique value proposition and then use it to drive ROI. Build off your core competencies to continue adding value. For instance, if your property boasts a standout gym, consider providing more value by adding yoga mats, or offer guests the option to rent bikes to use on nearby trails. Identify your property’s unique value proposition and then use it to your advantage.
5. How are you marketing? Website design. Content creation. Email blasts. Newsletter campaigns. SEO. PPC. Mobile targeting. Word of mouth. Community outreach. There is a seemingly endless list of ways that hoteliers can market their properties, yet it can be exceedingly difficult to find a strategy that will show some sort of viable return. It’s no wonder why 43 percent of companies identify “proving marketing ROI” as one of their biggest challenges. If your marketing campaign doesn’t seem to be yielding a strong return, try outsourcing some of your basic in-house marketing efforts, or focus more on community outreach (which has been proven to significantly drive social ROI). If you have a multifaceted marketing campaign, be sure to leverage the right tools to effectively track your efforts, measure your output and realign your efforts with your desired business outcomes as necessary.
Remember, if you must, bring on a revenue manager who can assist you with an experienced pricing strategy. This individual should have experience in price comparisons to online travel agent pricing, enabling you to build a strategic roadmap that forecasts the best ROI for your specific property. Good luck!