$35 per night? That's just GROSS!
$35 per night…that was the rate that caught my eye when searching a well-known booking site for local accommodations. The price reminded me of a flea-bag motel on the bad side of town where hookers and drug dealers do their thing. $35 per night! How do they even keep the sheets clean???
The point I’m trying to make, although gross, is that the cheapest is rarely the best…especially in the hospitality industry.
Unfortunately, reducing rates is a common strategy for hotel managers and owners faced with low occupancy rates. Factor in a shortage of staff and reduced rates may seem appropriate. But this strategy is nothing more than a race to the bottom.
Of course, if being the cheapest, low-quality property is your goal, then stop reading. But my guess is that you got into the hospitality industry for something a little more ambitious. So let’s talk about how to get more guests without lowering your rates.
GET MORE BOOKINGS WITHOUT LOWER RATES
It’s a natural misconception to think that lowering your rates will result in more bookings. But to what end? When you compete with low-rate properties you’ll get low-rate guests. And that’s a lose-lose for you and your guests.
So, how do you reach more guests and increase your bookings? We’ll get to that in a second, but first I want to talk about vacation rental properties.
A few years ago I started working for an international vacation property management company. I saw first-hand how the C-19 pandemic cost people their jobs and shut down hotels. But a funny thing happened to the vacation rental industry that no-one expected. It exploded! And between the various shutdowns, STRs saw 100% occupancy in many regions.
So why am I telling you this. Well, although I think vacation rentals have some good qualities, I got to see the dark side of that industry. And I can tell you wholeheartedly they are not a replacement for boutique guest properties. But here’s the problem…many of your prospective guests don’t know the difference.
A BOUTIQUE PROPERTY IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN A VACATION RENTAL
Boutique guest properties offer so much more than a vacation rental home.
First of all, hotels offer a central point of service. Your front desk clerk, maintenance crew, and housekeeping staff can really set your property apart from the competition.
Secondly, most hotels are located closer to local attractions than many vacation homes. This makes it more convenient for your guests to stay with you and the savings in gas and transit costs can make up the difference for charging a bit more.
Lastly, hotels tend to offer a greater sense of security both on site and online. Security guards and front desk staff can keep an eye out while guests sleep. Additionally, booking a hotel online tends to result in fewer claims of fraud than booking an STR.
IT'S CHALLENGING…BUT THAT’S A GOOD THING
(Read enough? Scroll down to book your shoot and get The Eight Secrets of Successful Hoteliers free!)
That’s not to say boutique hotels don’t have challenges.
According to gourmet marketing, guests are more demanding than ever. The evolution of technology has caused guests to expect more convenience, personalization, and efficiency. Rooms must now be outfitted with WiFi, USB ports, and flat screen TVs as standard.
And trying to maintain a 24/7 industry with a shortage of local employees can be daunting. Not to mention keeping the lobby and amenities up-to-date with ongoing maintenance and renovations.
It’s no wonder many boutique property managers/owners don’t have time for marketing. And that's why Walden University identified "Maintaining a Web Presence" as one of the top five challenges of small business.
HOW TO STAND OUT & GET MORE GUESTS
So how do you increase your occupancy without lowering rates?
Well first of all, it’s important to make sure your property is top notch (at your level). That means — at a minimum — you should strive for good linens, clean rooms, and friendly professional staff. It might help to get an unbiased opinion to walk your property and make suggestions. (This is where I casually mention that I can do this as part of your a pre-production meeting when you book an Ultimate 3D Tour Package.)
Secondly, identify your USP and use it to promote your property. If you don’t know what USP means it’s probably because you’ve been spending so much time managing your business, you haven’t had time for anything else.
So let me explain.
In marketing, USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it’s an important factor in advertising. Your USP is what makes your property stand out from the crowd. Are you near a local attraction? Do you have a funky, cool decor? Is your service the BEST in town?
The thing about USP is that it’s unique to your property and intended to attract your target market. So the next step is to identify the guests that are perfect for your property. Are they young partiers? Route 66 motorcyclists? Pet-lovers? Perhaps water-sports enthusiasts?
By identifying your target market and your USP you’ll be able to niche your marketing and advertising efforts for maximum profit.
Of course, you can always hire a content manager or a marketing company to this for you, but if you’re like me, you simply can’t afford the average $2000-3000 per month that these options cost.
That’s why I created The Ultimate 3D Tour Package. For less than the cost of a few nights at a (properly priced) boutique hotel, you’ll get everything you need to showcase your property, reach more prospective guests, and get started on a social media campaign that will boost your views and increase your bookings.
The Ultimate 3D Tour Package
3D tour photo shoot (up to 1500 sf)
Post production editing
Images and video clips for social media posting
12-months on Matterport
And…a bonus mid-term photo shoot!
I know almost $900 can seem like a lot when you’re struggling to make ends meet. So, if you’re not ready yet, I totally understand. You might want to check out the Budget Brand Builder for just $199. Either way, I want you to have my free Social Media Planner to help get you on the right track to success through marketing. Simply subscribe below and get the free planner plus tips and offers delivered to your inbox.
This is probably a good time to tell you a little bit about me. Yes, I’m a photographer but I do a bit more than that. I'm also a film-maker, editor and an FAA-licensed drone pilot. But I actually do more than THAT.
See, I’ve been an entrepreneur for a while now. I've started my share of businesses that eventually failed. So, when I started BSVT I decided to do as much research as I could to discover the best practices for successful small enterprise. And I want to share what I found so you don't make the same mistakes I did. That's why I don’t just offer photography services. I work with you to build your brand and grow your business with custom photos, videos, and aerial images.
So, when you book a photo shoot, you not only get a photographer, videographer, drone pilot and editor... you get a marketing specialist to help you implement the best strategy for your unique property, project, or business.
Okay enough about me...back to USP!