The panel at the Independent Hotel Show’s ‘secret of a good write-up’ debate on 21 October included chief executive of Pride of Britain Hotels Peter Hancock, editor at Alastair Sawday’s Tom Bell, and head of AA Hotel Services Peter Numphud.
Numphud said that a number of hotels struggle to find their niche and market, which is necessary to create a positive hotel experience and get decent reviews.
“It’s important to have a story and an angle,” he explained. “This will keep the hotel relevant to journalists and consumers alike.”
Bell agreed and added the importance of highlighting the hotel’s uniqueness.
“Decide your unique selling point; whether it’s the hotel’s food offering or its coastal location, anything like that. But do it authentically and let it come from the heart, as that makes a difference.”
The panel also took a negative stance on hotels providing numerous deals and offers to combat empty rooms.
Hancock said: “Hoteliers are under pressure to get on the price-driven bandwagon, but if you’re confident in what you’re offering then accept the odd empty room from time to time. This will ensure you’re getting the kind of guests the hotel is marketed at.”
Quirks and community
The panel discussed how to attract reviewers to the hotel, highlighting the importance of having quirks and working with the local community.
“Hotels should supply something new and out of the ordinary,” said Hancock. “Journalists need to write something interesting and controversial, so offer something that makes you stand out from the crowd.”
Hancock cited an example of a hotel that offered a butler service in one of its best suites, and another that had a record breaking number of gins in its bar.
The panel also suggested that smaller hotels with little marketing budget could attract attention to themselves by getting involved with community events.
Numphud said: “I recommend championing your locality and improving relationships within the community. Perhaps you could host a drinks reception for a local event. That gets the press in and lets them know about the hotel.”
The panel wound up the discussion by offering some of its top tips for getting decent reviews. These were:
- Show the hotel in its best light online. Lots of good pictures are essential to make reviewers want to visit.
- Ensure every member of staff knows all about the hotel and the local area, as you never know who the journalist will question about it.
- Be consistent with all guests and don’t compromise on your own standards.
- Don’t overlook breakfast, it’s the last impression a reviewer will get of the hotel.