Boutique hotels enjoy a unique position in the hospitality market while also facing unique obstacles. They have an opportunity to offer guests a one-of-a-kind, high-end experience that stands apart from other lodging options in the area. At the same time, due to their smaller brand presence, it can be challenging to attract guests on a nightly basis.
As a result, boutique hotels must manage their room inventory carefully. Half of this balancing act is maximizing bookings, the other half is maximizing the revenue from those bookings. Follow these best practices to leverage your room inventory as effectively as possible.
Keep the Property Pristine
Boutique hotels distinguish themselves by creating a sense of place. They often feature bold interior designs, custom furnishings, singular architecture and the like. Guests often choose boutique hotels specifically because they are seeking out this sort of customization—versus the stock designs and features offered by mid-tier chains—which means the condition of the property has a big impact on bookings. Quick and consistent housekeeping ensures that rooms can turnover quickly yet still reflect the elevated image of the hotel. A meticulous eye for detail throughout the property means that whenever someone steps inside, whether for a meeting or drinks, they gain a positive impression of the brand that would leave them inclined to book a room or return for other reasons. Boutique hotels can’t effectively manage their room inventory until they learn to reflect their own brand across all customer experiences.
Rely on a Channel Manager
Boutique hotels depend on the same vast network of OTAs, but they traditionally have fewer staff to ensure that the right rooms and rates are listed on dozens of different sites. A channel manager automates a lot of the effort, allowing hotels to make changes in one place that are then reflected across all booking platforms. As a result, inventory management becomes easier and more consistent.
Think of Revenue Holistically
Your potential to gain revenue doesn’t stop when a guest has booked a room. As important as it is to get heads in beds, boutique hotels have a unique opportunity to generate revenue elsewhere. For instance, one study showed that beverage sales make up 8%-15% of total revenues in boutique hotels, which makes sense considering that guests rely on these properties for more than just lodging. In another example, a boutique hotel in Chikmagalur, India offered a full menu 24/7, in order to maximize revenue from food sales—all while offering guests a sense of relaxed luxury. The point is that securing a booking is just one part of the full value of a stay.
Build a Seamless Website
Image matters for boutique hotels: much of their draw comes from being exclusive and having a unique aesthetic. At the same time, they have to appear streamlined and service-oriented. Both of these elements need to come through on a boutique hotel’s official website, the portal through which most guests will first interact with your hotel. The website should highlight what makes the property unlike everything else in the area. It should also feature a seamless booking engine that reflects the property’s guest-first focus. A website can actively encourage or discourage bookings depending on how well it’s designed.
Trust the Numbers
Managing room inventory is ultimately a math problem. Hoteliers need to know exactly how many rooms they need to book at what nightly rate in order to hit revenue targets. Collecting and analyzing the necessary operational and financial data isn’t easy, and there are real risks if any numbers are inaccurate. Operating a comprehensive property management system (PMS) is one solution to the numbers crunch: since it integrates more of this data in one place, a PMS can save managers both time and frustration. Boutique hotels can also take advantage of intuitive tools to start practicing sophisticated revenue management. Once hotels can stop guessing, they gain control of their own bottom line.
Room inventory is just one part of effective hotel management, but it’s an important one. Prioritize how you manage your inventory and set yourself up to succeed across the board.
RoomKeyPMS makes it easier to manage every aspect of boutique hotels, including room inventory. Fill your hotel with the guests you want most. Schedule a demonstration today.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Dragon Images