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  • Writer's pictureSarah Habsburg

THE 5 core components for consistent hospitality business success


In the world of service-oriented hospitality, consistent success is no accident. It is a result of strategic focus and ongoing effort.


Accommodation and food and beverage providers, much like any successful venture, rely on a set of key elements to not just attract customers but to keep them returning. These essential aspects form the bedrock of business triumph in this competitive industry.


In this blog, we will unravel the core FIVE components (the secret sixth component will follow soon…) that pave the way for enduring success in the hospitality arena, providing insights that can steer your own establishment towards sustained prosperity. Let's dive into the practical side of how to ensure sustainable growth in today's business landscape.



1. LEADERSHIP


You are a juggler, a true plate spinner, and can turn your hand to anything. I know that because I have been there. I also know it is exhausting.


Hospitality is quite simply different in essence to other industries because once the clock strikes midnight, your inventory for that day is gone. You cannot resell yesterday’s room night or those candle-lit tables on your terrace. You can of course sell those available for the new night to come, but the fact that this kind of real-time inventory, one that carries a daily expiry date, is a huge source of stress for many owners and managers in the industry.


Burnout and exhaustion can culminate in lost interest and joy in running your business. Many hospitality business owners I speak to say they wish they could take more time out but don’t know how to do it without their business suffering. Of course, everyone is different and that is why assessing your individual capacity is the missing link to ensuring you show up at your best for your staff and for your business every day.


Capacity can be defined as the ability or power to do or understand something. Taking care of our personal mental and physical capacity is often at the very bottom of our to-do lists. This is a mistake.


How do you think – honestly – you are doing in that area?


2. IMPACT


This is a biggie, and it all starts with these two questions…


Beyond producing sales and revenue, what other positive outcomes are generated through the existence of your business?


How does your business positively impact lives?


Who you choose to do business with and why, the products and produce you actively decide to buy, the partnerships you nurture, they all paint a picture of your business values, and they frame your purpose outside of financial gain. You might know the answers to these questions, but do your staff understand your why? Do you weave this why into your marketing and messaging to allow customers to connect with you on an emotional level?


Now, there is natural resistance to this core component. I have spent time peeling back the layers and asking deeper questions in various conversations I have had with business owners to understand that the reaction is subconscious, and if it were put into words, it would look something like this…


“I totally get that helping other people is important, but I am struggling to keep my business profitable. I can’t find enough staff, I am doing more of the work myself than I want to, I am stretched too thin, and I am tired. I need to make money to keep the business going and I don’t have the energy to focus on how I can do more in the community.”


It is totally OK that this is what plays through your mind when someone like me talks about impact and purpose. BUT - and this is a HUGE but – awareness is the start and small changes are the catalyst to relieving many of those “problems” like not being able to take time away from your business.


Partnerships generate sustained profit and staff become more engaged and productive when they resonate with your values, both of which leaves you more able to delegate and lead, rather than fire fight and survive.



3. AUDIENCE


Can you say that you know your audience 100% well enough to anticipate their needs before they do?


“Anticipating needs” rarely forms part of customer service training programmes and yet it is the true source of those coveted “moment-makers”. Satiating your hospitality business with “wow moments” is the key to getting people to say, “You just have to go there!”.


Do you have enough of them in your business?


Understanding what motivates people to buy is important. Understanding what motivates your audience to buy is crucial. This is no longer about answering boring questions to build a profile or persona of your ideal customer. If someone asks you to do that then run, you are wasting your time and money.


It is MUCH more than that, but it is not a long process, and it has immediate effect when woven into your brand image at every level, from which images you choose to post first on your profiles and website to the concise way you explain why someone should choose your business over another.


Could I look at your homepage and be able – in just a few seconds - to visualise your target audience experiencing one of your “wow moments”?



4. OFFER


Let me just say that it is impossible to create truly engaging room or menu descriptions when you have not done the work on what drives your audience to buy as detailed above.


But first of all let’s define “offer”.


The Oxford Language dictionary says it is “to present or proffer (something) for (someone) to accept or reject as desired”.


To accept or reject, as desired. Desires are needs and wants, often subconscious but always well-received when they are fulfilled. Omitting this fast but deep work to define those of your target audience leads to uncompelling room descriptions, packages that are missing the mark, and deals that fall flat.


An offer for a hotel can be as simple as a clean bed, an early breakfast, and a fast taxi to the airport. Or for a restaurant it could be a 2-course lunch that is served quickly and is cost-effective. What is missing here is the idea that each offer should form part of a system of building blocks that are strategically designed to increase customer repeats and recommendations.


Great offers can also break seasonality, support sustainability action, and appeal to different audiences when out-of-the-box thinking is applied. This is a skill that can be learned when a structure is applied.


5. CONTENT


So, you are clued up on your audience’s desires and you have built your building block offer structure, now how you talk about your business and present it to the world is essentially your key to opening wallets.


Variety, engaging, specific, relevant, surprising, entertaining – these are all words used to describe the ingredients for effective content. How do you put it all together? I constantly see the messaging used in marketing content to be the least coherent part of a business.


Less is definitely more. One of my favourite challenges is getting people to describe their business in just a few words! Many marketers dive head long into trying to sell their value-loaded packages with adjective-laden sentences that more often than not lose the customer before they reach superlative number two.


Is lack of clarity in how you talk about your business losing you sales?


Would you say you have a strong brand identity?


Jumping into social media posts without knowing how to present your business to the world is a mistake and results in a lack of coherence that leads to lost sales opportunities. It is never too late to do this work. I am not talking about a complete overhaul, I am talking about tweaks, about streamlining what you have and throwing out what is superfluous or no longer serves.


You might have the best views, food, and guest services, but if you don’t clearly communicate why someone should choose to stay with you, you will lose out to an inferior competitor.


The biggest issue I come across when speaking to business owners about producing content is perspective. Most hospitality business owners are so close to their properties and restaurants that they don’t know how to talk about them to get customers to listen.

A bit of outside guidance and applying a specific framework is the quickest way to define and clarify messaging, and when applied, the results are increased direct sales, customer satisfaction, staff engagement, and more of those coveted repeats and recommendations.



So, that’s it, the five core components of a continued success for a hospitality business: Leadership, Impact, Audience, Offer, and Content. There is however one secret sauce ingredient that enhances all of them, and that will be revealed in my next blog.


Meanwhile, would you like to know how you are doing in these five core areas?


Take the free Marketing Success Scorecard to find out. It is free, quick, reliable, and you will get a customised report.


This work is a labour of love on my part, to help you self-audit where you are at, where you shine, and in what area there may be more work to do. True change starts with vulnerability and lack of judgement, and awareness is the catalyst to action.



Why wait until tomorrow to find out how to improve your business? Click the link below to take the scorecard today 💪


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