New Opportunities in the Hotel Industry and How You Can Profit from Them

New Opportunities in the Hotel Industry and How You Can Profit from Them-Image.jpg

Today’s hotel industry is highly competitive, so as an aspiring hotel owner you may well be looking at innovative ideas you can use to grow a new hotel business and make it stand out from the competition.

At this stage it’s important to remember that the wider industry already understands that, for most guests, a hotel stay will be very different from life at home. And that’s precisely why modern hotel businesses now focus so much on developing a unique customer experience. So let’s look at some of the latest trends.

The local experience matters

Hotel visitors are keener than ever to sample a diverse range of authentic local experiences. In South Africa, this could mean exposure to local music, artwork, culture and customs. But what it always means is the chance to enjoy local food and drinks. 

When considering menus and options, it will also pay to keep in mind other emerging trends in the hospitality industry. For instance, many of your prospective guests will be far more health conscious than before.

That means healthy menu options will always be well received, as will food and wine from your local region which has been sustainably and ethically produced. And if you can give your guests some further background information, for example about matters such as any organic farming methods used, this will add to the appeal of your offer.

Sustainability is here to stay

Many South Africans are acutely aware of the need to carefully manage scarce natural resources such as water. However, your present-day visitors will be equally concerned about these matters. So as a new hotel owner it will pay you to show your own business and its facilities are ready to embrace this awakening concern.

That could mean smart light bulbs and economical, ultra-efficient heating and power-management systems. And if, for example, your energy supply comes from sustainable, eco-friendly sources such as one of South Africa’s solar, wind or water power installations, then make sure your guests are aware of the fact. 

The micro level is important too: so if you can use sustainable materials for things like bed sheets and towels in your guest rooms, that will also create a positive impression.

Provide the personal touch 

Your visitors will come from a world in which personalisation is a major trend across all industries. This approach is supported by widespread digitalisation which generates vast amounts of customer data. Treating your clientèle as individuals rather than customers with broadly similar needs and attitudes is a powerful way to build a new hotel business.

There are many ways to offer your guests a personalised response. For instance, you could use customer data to duplicate the menus and services returning customers enjoyed on their previous visit, or use booking information and GPS tracking to ensure that, on arrival, your guests are immediately greeted by a nominated member of staff. And once they are booked in, you can give your guests access to a range of in-house facilities via their own mobile devices.

Smart options 

Smart homes wirelessly connect devices and features via the Internet to optimise user convenience, and smart hotels can now do exactly the same. In a smart room, for example, your guests could remotely control the air conditioning via their smartphone, or turn the TV off and on simply by issuing voice commands to a smart speaker. The same technology could also be accessed to dim or adjust the lighting, or control the climate and temperature within different areas of the guest accommodation.

Bleisure visitors

Bleisure – the combination of business and leisure holidays – is now a popular trend. Millennials in particular are increasingly likely to see a foreign business trip as a golden opportunity to stay away for a few extra days to enjoy some quality leisure time. 

For hoteliers, this is clearly a growth opportunity, which may nevertheless prove quite challenging. In addition to standard business facilities such as a conference room which is well-equipped with good broadband and an up-to-date supporting IT infrastructure, such guests may also expect ultra-responsive services and a comprehensive information menu of local attractions and leisure activities.

Though this type of discerning clientèle can be quite demanding, new owners will soon realise it can also result in very profitable returns. Mobile apps can help to make such requirements faster and more convenient. Furthermore, many of the improvements achieved will also be much appreciated by a broader range of guests.

By Bruce Hakutizwi, Director of North America for, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses.

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