The market is currently characterised by the opening of a great number of new hotels, and the various approaches should be considered with care. Opening a hotel is never an easy thing to do, but it is certainly even less easy in a period when the market is weak, and attention must be paid not only to the quality of the offer, but – above all – to the marketing approach to be undertaken. In order to be successful, a new business needs to have a clear vision of its market positioning and the policies to be implemented. Barbara Talbott, Executive Vice President for Marketing with Four Seasons, explains that the dominant reason for opening their new hotel in Toronto has been the unique nature of the offer, with great attention being paid to both the quality of business services typical of a city and financial centre, and the resort-level features of the fitness facilities. For the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin, on the contrary – continues Barbara Talbott – the key action has been the creation of special packages in place of a discount offering. When his hotel was opened, Hugues Jaquier, General Manager of Le Meridien in Chicago, drafted a sort of pre-opening decalogue applying to a weak market scenario: hire as many salesmen as possible (he added two more to the initial ten because – he says – “a month after opening, visibility is essential, and I like a personalised selling style”); do not insist on the same market too long; be flexible and adjust your behaviour to intervening changes; do not cut personnel – even when there is a temptation to reduce costs, Jaquier advises against doing it, and adds: “even if the facility is beautiful, never forget that in the customer perception it is the staff that gives it life”. Different people have different styles. We should not forget, however, that the choices made will impact on our business heavily in future.
Pre-opening: a delicate process
Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 2 Agosto 2002