But does overly centralised control over communication and generic branded marketing miss opportunities to generate revenues to the bottom line, that are present from a localised marketing strategy?
UK 2019 Trend Forecast For Hotels | Hospitality Sector
“Our revised forecast for UK hotels in 2019 anticipates slower growth reflecting softer economic and demand trends and the impact of high levels of new hotel room additions, particularly in London but also in other UK cities. While the weak pound continues to support inbound leisure travel, protracted negotiations around Brexit are not helping business travel” (Source: PWC, September 2018)
Whilst not a gloomy forecast with City based hotel occupancy forecasted at an average of 82%, the more concerning factor is the forecast for revenues / room:
What Customers Want Is Not Always “One Size Fits All”
For some customers the assurance of a branded hotel experience is reassuring, particularly for business customers who travel from one city to another. They need to know that after a long trip they will get wifi, great food, clean rooms, a comfortable bed and perhaps a spa or pool to unwind. A renowned, branded hotel, gives this assurance and cross-border loyalty schemes help to underpin this.
In this scenario the choices are likely to be pretty much functional, base requirements that need fulfilling, a means to an end. More likely to be price driven, consistency or at best a brand driven choice, fulfilled on Hotel.com or other 3rd party booking site (with the inherent hit on room rate margins).
However, in this simplistic scenario, it does not reflect the deeper and diverse needs of many business people nor the general public who are looking to book a hotel. Guests needs are far more complex and may for example include requirements for entertaining and impressing guests from overseas, proximity to local attractions or a scenic location to unwind.
A more unique hotel ambience, often seen in the independent hotel sector and personal service can be major draws for discerning customers.
If Nike Opened An Amazing Hotel
Seth Godin has his view on the use of where branded hotels may need to divert from the ‘core messages’ and associated communications. Given as a comparison to Nike the mass marketing sportswear brand (watch video below):
People seeking more of an ‘experience’, not just looking to have purely functional needs being met.
And this is where the power of localised content control kicks in. Providing a more granular and customised level of detail about the specific hotel, hotel events, the restaurant, the local services and amenities. Not a replacement of core branding awareness communications or campaigns, but complimentary TO those campaigns. Delivered in a synergistic way.
Where Hotel Competition Is Fiercest Price Is Driven Down – How To STAND OUT?
“High levels of new supply in many cities are likely to dampen performance. Occupancies are at record highs at 76% and we can’t see much more growth in 2018 or 2019. London continues to operate at a globally high level and our lower growth forecast should be viewed against this backdrop.
We are forecasting a marginal occupancy gain in 2018 of 0.1% and a 0.5% fall in 2019 as new supply additions continues to bite and political uncertainty dents corporate demand.” (Source: PWC, September 2018)
In short, customers are often spoiled for choice and as more hotels are planned for development in the Cities across the UK, including London, the saturation point of customers Vs. occupancies is nearing.