Investment and Management Strategies to Maximize Value of a Hotel Property

By Richard Takach, Jr. President & CEO, Vesta Hospitality | August 03, 2014

Hospitality has a glamour or cachet unlike any other form of real estate, even high-end retail. Partnered with communities and appealing to demanding and sophisticated guests, each hotel property has the dynamics of a small city. Thus, investing in, owning and managing a hotel property can be an exhilarating journey. The key to success is to enjoy the experience, while paying careful attention to choices and decisions that must be made along the entire chain of investment and management. The result can be strong daily operations and competitive posture, in addition to enhanced asset value and return on investment.

In this article, we will review in list format some of the key investment and management strategies that go into maximizing the value of a hotel property. In doing so, we will consider the areas of investment and financing, business operations, and management and the competitive environment. Clearly, the factors discussed are not meant to be all-inclusive, but, rather, will focus on common threads we find running through hotel investment, management and valuation.

Investment and Financing

  • Align Yourself with the Right People

Hospitality is at its core a people business. It is no different when choosing our investment partners. Some of the attributes of people that can insure the best success for your hospitality investment include: expertise and experience in working with similar projects; a relevant and solid track record; a "non-litigious" outlook on conflict resolution; an understanding of how hotels make profits and how they can add value to this process; a "supportive" cultural foundation when challenges arise (as they always do); deep value placed upon long-term relationships; and a genuine character based upon integrity and trust.

When third party managers are involved, they must be investor friendly and understand hotel operations from an owner's perspective. In particular, successful hotel operations do not assuredly translate to a successful investment, but, rather, are an important contributor to the overall investment.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.