Running a Hotel That Appeals to Business Customers
In this article, we are going to look at how you can achieve this balancing act when running a hotel in the South East. Reading is a great location for a business-orientated hotel, so we are going to focus on this particular area. Less than 30 minutes from central London by train, only 30 miles from Heathrow Airport by road, and around 20 miles from Newbury, home to a world-class racecourse that hosts both flat and jumps meetings throughout the year, it is a great place to run a hotel designed to appeal to business clients.
Factors You Need to Consider
In order to achieve the right balance in your business-friendly Reading hotel, you should consider the following factors carefully.
- Hygiene – There may be some areas in which you can compromise on quality in order to keep your running costs, and therefore your room rates, at a low level but hygiene is not one of them. If you want to attract repeat custom from large companies that may send hundreds of executives to your hotel in the future, the cleanliness of your guest rooms and common areas needs to be beyond reproach. However, you can keep costs under control by working with local service providers in Reading rather than putting together your own in-house team of hygiene specialists.
The most cost effective way to ensure that the bedclothes in each room are scrupulously clean at all times is to work with a company such as Stalbridge, which specialises in providing linen hire services in Reading and the surrounding area to establishments in the hospitality industry. A well-trained cleaning team can take care of the floors, walls, and other surfaces in guest rooms and common areas, which need to be spotless as well. Outsourcing your linen requirements and using a local cleaning firm will allow you to cut back when occupancy rates are lower, without the expenses associated with laying off full-time employees.
- Guest Services – If there is one area of a hotel’s operations that tends to make a lasting impression on customers (sometimes good, sometimes not so good), it is guest services. People always appreciate clean rooms, bed linen and common areas, but they will tend to focus on the personal interactions they experienced during their stay, when reviewing your establishment at a later date. This is good news for you because you can use this knowledge to make a lasting, positive impression on every guest that you welcome to your hotel.
- Hiring a first-class front desk manager, who has the skills and experience required to run a top-notch guest services operation, will not cost much more than hiring a run-of-the-mill front desk manager who is not really up to the job. With this in mind, it is well worth spending a few thousand pounds more on annual salaries, to attract the best manager you can find. Your front desk team should ensure that all your guests are aware of everything there is to see and do in the vicinity of the hotel and provide them with a simplified map of Reading and the surrounding area if they plan to get around under their own steam.
- Food and Beverages – This is one area in which it is definitely possible to make significant savings without compromising on the quality of what you are offering your guests. By searching for competitive suppliers and negotiating the best deals possible, you can reduce your overall food and beverage costs without dropping your standards in any way. In fact, if your buyers are experienced and talented negotiators, they may well be able to improve the quality of your F&B operation at the same time as lowering the running costs.
If you offer room service to your guests (and if you wish to attract business executives it is something you really should offer), you will want to make sure that your waiting staff make a great impression when delivering meals and drinks to guests’ rooms. This can be achieved by training them in the art of presentation and by ensuring that the standard of table linen you use in your hotel restaurant is replicated on your room service trolleys. Make the guests feel special: just because they choose to eat in their rooms does not mean that they deserve any less than your restaurant customers when it comes to the standard of food or service that they receive.
- Energy Usage – Hotels spend from 5% to 10% of their operating budget on utility bills so it makes sense to target this area when looking for ways to make savings that will not have a negative impact on the standard of service that guests receive when staying in your establishment. By cutting energy costs you could shave a significant sum from your annual running costs and your guests can still look forward to high quality services, spotless rooms, and great food. Simply servicing your boiler could make a big difference to your gas bills and an LED retrofit could reduce electricity consumption quite dramatically. The best way to reduce your utility bills is to perform an energy audit, or have one performed by an outside specialist, to ascertain the current state of affairs before making any changes.
Soliciting Help from Third-Party Experts
No matter where in Reading your hotel is situated, you can rely on Stalbridge to provide you with quality bed linen and tableware that has been cleaned to the very highest standards. It should also be easy for you to find local hospitality consultants who can help you reduce costs in other areas.