Unorthodox Repurposing of Hotel Spaces to Create New Profit Centers

A Case Study of the Centrepoint Mediation and Arbitration Centre in Kamloops, BC

By Stephen Darling Principal, Stephen Darling Hospitality Consultancy Inc. | March 20, 2016

As a veteran hospitality consultant working out of Vancouver, British Columbia, I'm privy to some very interesting cases and projects throughout the Northwest that require highly creative solutions. Here is one instance that ended up a triumphant success because it creates an entirely new revenue stream for the property – one that would be foreign to most hoteliers.

Challenge

One of my client hotels in Kamloops, BC had a 5,000 square foot street-facing, corner restaurant that was 'past its prime' and losing $500k per year. Initial triage meant closing the restaurant and consolidating meal service into the lobby lounge – after giving it a facelift. That was the easy part. While the primary goal was to cut the losses and lease out the now derelict space, after four years, we still hadn't yet found a suitor for the lease.

It was time for 'Plan B'. We created a wellness centre concept that included a fresh brand with central reception/washrooms and entry. The intent here was to lease the space out to four or five entrepreneurs, but the numbers didn't add up and that concept was quickly shelved.

Solution

Time for 'Plan C'. One of our owners had the idea of a mediation and arbitration center. While it first sounded like a stretch, we retained a university graduate who had just completed his master's degree in tourism research. His three-month assignment involved assessing and documenting regional demand, potential viability of such a business, potential tenants, its scope, details required in such a specialized facility and a handsome incentive payable for leased space.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.