How small accommodation businesses can take a long-term approach in unpredictable times

hospitality, hoteliers, accommodation, hospitality

For every accommodation business, expecting disruption is now almost par for the course, with busy times able to be switched on and off in a matter of minutes – or however long a COVID press conference takes! At such a moment, it’s important to be ready for inevitable changes, but equally to ensure that the future state of your business is being kept front of mind, beyond the passing chaos.

Thinking long-term looks different to every small business. However, refining a controllable aspect of your operation across a sustained period can lead to a sense of calm and provide a much-needed focal point.

Below are examples of initiatives that small accommodation businesses can chip away at over time, no matter the situation.

Level up online, on both direct and indirect channels

If you’re looking to future-proof your business, spending additional time on your website, and a potential guest’s journey there is a good start. Websites are typically the most impressionable touchpoint for guests and are vital to generating direct revenue.

Here, the fundamentals remain: use a consistent modern design, optimise for mobile, push high-quality content, and create clear calls to action. Each contributes in its own way to driving stronger conversion rates and should be underpinned by ease of navigation throughout. Remember, too, that SEO, website discoverability and driving strong traffic via search engines like trivago or Google are as important as the site itself.

Another big part of levelling up online is ensuring a seamless payment process. For many, accepting a payment from a guest is still very manual. However, savvy accommodation business owners can now digitise it entirely, processing payments when a booking is made or quickly after the initial deposit, without any manual card entry. This can save nearly five minutes on each transaction, so imagine the time you can save in a day.

Invest in your brand, both on-site and across your digital channels

The possibilities to dial up the brand of your small property on-site are quite endless, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. One trend I’ve enjoyed seeing is operators building personal interests into their properties, to attract specific travellers as well as those that normally come to stay.

Social media has also become a place for small accommodation providers to flex different aspects of their brand, and this can include everything from content about the property and its story, to info on the surrounding area and its attractions.

Own the small, mighty accommodation business that you are

Since the start of the pandemic, Australia’s small accommodation operators have afforded local travellers the escape they’ve desperately needed. You’ve opened your doors to present your unique take on hospitality, and earned the respect of a wide range of travellers in the process. Often, you’ve bounced back at short notice, stepped outside your comfort zone, or have persevered with your business, into the unknown, never letting your guests down.

But throughout this time, for many small-business operators, having a long-term, sustained business focus, separate from daily tasks, has helped create a level of clarity and calm; a sense of control in a time that’s uncontrollable. It has enabled operators like you to focus on sometimes neglected aspects of your business, and ensured that your property’s future state is front of mind. As a small business, you are inherently distinct and, for that, travellers love you. It’s an opportune time to capitalise on this by embracing the quality and character of your business. In the end, it will always be precious time well spent.