A Limited-Service Hotel With Unlimited Connections

Critical Elements of Choosing an Environment That Complements Limited-Service Hotel Brands

By Jeff Green President and CEO, Jeff Green Partners | August 14, 2016

Co-authored by Jerry Hoffman, President and CEO of Nebraska based Hoffman Strategy Group

In biology, symbiotic mutualism describes a dynamic where two species living in close proximity to one another engage in a mutually beneficial relationship. Iconic examples include the oxpecker–small birds that feed on ticks and other parasites found on large mammals–and the clownfish, which live in and around sea anemones, enjoying the protection afforded by their stinging tentacles while providing the anemone with nutrients, and predator and parasite defense.

The commercial real estate market is filled with a number of similarly structured relationships: mutually beneficial connections that serve to raise interest, drive traffic, provide resources and conveniences for shoppers and guests, and ultimately create a positive feedback loop that has a meaningful and sustained impact on the bottom line–for all parties. Those interactions can exist between places and brands, between different retailers, and, most commonly, between different uses in the same commercial space. The dynamism and appeal of well-conceived and thoughtfully designed mixed-use environments is driving an experiential renaissance across the industry.

For limited service hotels, those relationships–and the dynamics that define them–are critically important. Choosing an environment that complements a limited-service hotel brand can literally make the difference between success and failure. From the contours of the marketplace, to the considerations of co-tenancy, hotel decision-makers should have a keen grasp of the mutually beneficial drivers that make or break limited-service hospitality.

Natural Selection

The first step in the process of understanding what limited-service hotels should be prioritizing in terms of market dynamics and co-tenancy is understanding how and why those symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships are so important. And to do that, we need to get inside the head of the hotel guest.

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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.