Innkeeping is a tradition dating back to early Roman times. Travelers were greeted and served by a proprietor when they stopped to overnight in an establishment that offered food, drink and a place to sleep. Through the ages, the tradition of innkeeping has evolved as the type of accommodations available to travelers evolved. This long-established tradition of hospitality grew into creating a welcoming, home away from home where management becomes the caretaker and host providing the experiences of their guests.
During this evolution, the one constant was that the innkeeping function centered on operations, or the guest experience. Even as sales and marketing efforts grew, there still remained silos with operations over here and marketing over there. However, the advance of technology and consumer control over how they receive or distribute information means this information is instantly available to anyone, anytime, anywhere … about anything.
The consumer’s experience can either enhance or damage your brand and reputation, almost instantly.
And perhaps more importantly, every product or service in today’s world is at the mercy of the amplified word of mouth that social media and user review sites offer. The consumer’s experience can either enhance or damage your brand and reputation, almost instantly. As a result, innkeeping for hoteliers is more than operations today. Why? Because everything is marketing.
Think about it:
- Welcome guests with a great check in experience, they share the positive notes on Facebook
- Close your pool for repairs, you’ll hear about it on Trip Advisor
- Provide a poor dining experience, pictures of the disappointing dish and description of the bad service hit Twitter
Innkeeping is no longer about just the guest experience now that the experience can be shared with the world in the click of a mouse. Everything is marketing. This evolution has presented some challenges to hoteliers—but it has also presented them with fantastic opportunities. Reaching the right customer, at the right time, with the right message, on the right device is the new “innkeeping” to create awareness and tell your story.
Truly successful innkeeping is the ability to convert customers into brand advocates willing to both come back and influence others to have their own experiences with your property. It’s operational marketing - delivering the experiences we have promised and promoted, which is really the essence of innkeeping. Innkeepers that know how to communicate their value propositions and resort experiences through these brand advocates, whether paid or earned, always grow market share, despite market conditions.