As a hotel owner and manager, you are trained to cater to the needs of travellers from near and far, and you are well versed in the complicated art of how to run a hotel well.
Overall, but particularly in areas where business is highly seasonal – such as summer holiday spots or winter resorts – being highly engaged with your locals is an asset of significant proportions.
Here are some easy ways you can integrate your hotel into the local community and establish a bond with your neighbours:
Get to know your local community
The first step in the process of engaging your local community is to get to know it. Even if you are a local yourself and grew up in the area, chances are the local scene has evolved while you have been building up your business.
Make it a point to be present in your community. Attend as many events as possible, walk through the market square regularly, pop in for a pint at the pub and get to know your community’s structure.
Once you have underscored your presence, get involved! Create opportunities for the locals to celebrate and make beautiful memories at your hotel. Occasions such as a spa weekend and Afternoon Tea on Valentine’s Day, Christmas lunch or Easter brunch; offer opportunities to demonstrate your involvement in the community and your local pride.
Couples, families, and groups of friends are always looking for a chance to feel glamorous or to experience something new and memorable in their local area.
By catering to these wishes, you have the unique opportunity to play a singularly positive and inspiring role in your town. This is good for business but great for your personal and professional reputation.
Get moving together
To match your community’s needs and wants, do a bit of systematic research.
Find out what events throughout the year gather the largest crowds. Study them carefully, dig into their history, and work out a concept to make them better.
Reach out to your local government and tourist boards with concrete proposals about how you can get involved in the planning and hosting of some events. This has the double benefit of community reach-out and establishing a closer connection with the community’s primary movers in politics and business – always a bonus!
Make sure the locals know your hotel is open to host their private events. There is nothing like hosting a magical wedding party or a dashing jubilee for a dear member of the community at your hotel!
To maximise the effect of this step, get well acquainted with the principles of wedding planning and event management, or invest in an external planner in order to get off on the right foot.
Supporting external events, both private and traditional ones, is great, but so is creating your own event and gifting it to your community.
Armed with your local knowledge, come up with a charitable cause that is bound to speak to your locals. Whether it is helping children or families in need, campaigning for cleaner water, or propping up renewable energy; design a simple, enjoyable event around it and let people get involved.
Making your mark in this way can endear you to your neighbours further and bring them closer to you. They can then feel more comfortable holding their weddings, baptisms, and other private events in your hotel.
Apply your global mindset locally
In the end, it all comes down to the quality of your service and the breadth of your imagination.
Take the drive and motivation that had made you a tourist-destination, and share what you have built with your local community.
By Matthew Hernon, Account Manager at Dynamis looking after Business Transfer Agents and Franchises across BusinessesForSale.com and FranchiseSales.com.