Anthony Melchiorri is host and creator of Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible and Five Star Secrets.
What should an older hotel focus on when facing a renovation to grow occupancy?
Presuming your hotel’s reputation is good and your sales department effectively manages your online presence, your occupancy may be stagnant because of price points, area demand, or the type of hotel you operate. Renovations improve the perception of your hotel but may not bring additional occupied rooms.
When thinking about what appeals to guests, we are often caught up in technology, bed-type ratios, and what’s popular. An often-overlooked component is simply understanding who your guests are. Find out what percentage of your guests are families, business, leisure, etc.
When you have a better understanding of the demographics your hotel serves, think about how you can complement that with your renovation efforts. Improving the color and lighting may make for a “modernized” look, but to gain guests your property didn’t appeal to before you should focus on the segments you aren’t getting and offer them a reason to give you a second look. Hotels built during the golden era of development catered to the male business traveler. Today, women account for upward of 41 percent of all business travel. This is merely one example that underscores the fact you need to know your guest and what market segments you serve.
Hotel designers work within a budget, but a budget-only focus is perilous because design impacts your occupancy potential. People look before they buy, so when your hotel comes up for its next renovation or PIP, focus both on the guest who is staying with you now and the one staying with you in the future.