A hotel concept is much more than the design and physical layout of your hotel. It also encompasses the service you offer as a hotel management company, ambiance, attention to detail, the type of experience for guests, and the quality of your products. A hotel concept is what you want your hotel to be known and remembered for.
Why do you need a hotel concept?
Not only do you need one, in the modern hotel landscape you must carry out concept development that sets your property apart as unique and remarkable. Hoteliers face challenges today that hotels from twenty or even ten years ago didn’t have to worry about. Competition is fierce, and not just from the local area.
Travellers in search of unique experiences are on the rise. They are increasingly likely to decide between hotels that are in different cities or even countries. This coupled with the fact that the millennial generation is now the most prominent economic cohort has forced hotels to reconsider their approach. Millennials are tech-savvy, demand more for less and aren’t as loyal to brands as previous generations.
So, you have to make your hotel stand out. And you can do this through hotel concept development that aspires to be innovative and offer a unique experience.
5 steps for successful hotel concept development
1. Redefine your customer segmentation
The legacy form of segmentation was simple: business or pleasure. But, it’s not enough in this day and age. To be effective, it must go much further. Holistic, deep segmentation will go a long way towards informing your hotel concept.
What are the demographics of your clientele and/or desired clientele? How can your concept help guests on a business trip? How can it help guests on vacation? What does your local area want from a hotel? How can you target different groups both from the local area and afar with different tastes and behaviours?
2. Combine your hotel’s best attributes
Your hotel’s attributes and assets are essential when developing your concept. This can include the design; hotel history; building history; the location and local area; the landscape and views; the type of clientele; the food and beverages you serve; and so forth. For instance, a family-run hotel in a centuries-old building by the sea could develop a concept that encompasses delicious seafood, stunning seafront views and first-class service. The backdrop to this could be the historic importance and story of the building.
Thinking about your key attributes and how to combine just enough of them without stepping into overkill territory helps define the foundation for your concept.
3. Think of the details and make your uniqueness shine
It is attention to detail that separates the mediocre hotel from the remarkable. This applies to everything, from design to service quality, from cleanliness to the drinks variety at the bar, and from lounge area comfort to room temperature. Ask yourself, how does this particular element enhances my guest’s experience? If you struggle for a positive answer, it is probably a good time to reassess.
4. Embrace criticism of your concept ideas
Ask for feedback on your ideas and embrace constructive criticism. Your concept idea might seem brilliant to you, but if customers don’t agree, it doesn’t matter! It is important to seek other opinions and actively search for criticism. This provides you with vital information for your concept development decisions. At GreenShoes, we have seen how many hotels can run into problems by not embracing feedback. It may come from trusted colleagues and/or through market research, and while it can involve more work, it is a critical step.
5. Establish how your concept helps drive revenue
If you develop a hotel concept that doesn’t help drive revenue, a change of approach is needed. When developing your concept, its conductiveness to doing and promoting business must be front and center of mind. After all, this is why you are carrying out hotel concept development in the first place! But, some hoteliers can get lost in creating what they want and not what the customer wants. All concept ideas must be measured against their usefulness in driving your hotel’s revenue.
The final word
With a brilliant concept in place, your hotel separates itself from the mediocre competition. You step forward as a vibrant choice with personality amid a backdrop of tired, grey hotels that all offer up pretty much the same thing.
The benefits are boundless: these include charging a premium rate; supporting investment pitches and business partnering offers; and attracting and retaining talented employees looking for a unique place of work. And for a great hotel concept, make sure that you focus on much more than design. Design is crucial of course, but it is the quality and memorability of your service that is key to the success of your hotel concept.
Pablo Fernández Valdés & Patrick Landman
Green Shoes Hospitality Management