2020 has changed the way the hospitality business will operate for the foreseeable future. It’s been a rocky year for hospitality, no doubt. A lot has been left up in the air, and customers’ priorities have shifted, looking for safe spaces as well as everything they wanted before. 

There’s no questioning that hospitality experiences have changed, but businesses now need to adapt to the shift in expectations to build a winning hospitality business. We’re not only expecting to see companies adapt to health measurements but also adapt to new trends that have emerged because of the crisis. 

This article will bring together changes in the physical and digital landscapes and explore five ways your hospitality business can encompass change to continue to thrive in 2020 and beyond. 

5 Ways to Build a winning hospitality business

1. Create meta-search engines 

First up is to create a business that’s friendly toward metasearch engines. Hospitality metasearch engines are an excellent way for small hospitality businesses to be seen among some of the more significant players out there, which often tend to dominate general search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

What is a metasearch engine? tripadvisor

A metasearch engine is a search engine that’s specifically based around a product. It will have the ability to scan relevant sites and bring you more accurate results on what you need. Some examples of hospitality meta-search engines are Trivago, TripAdvisor, Kayak, and Skyscanner, to name a few. 


How can you use a hospitality metasearch engine? 

To get the most out of metasearch engines, make sure you’re giving real-time availability and costs, as well as staying on top of your CPC campaigns. Integrate the search engine with your booking engine to ensure a real-time overview of the ROI of your efforts. 

A massive factor in metasearch engines is the reviews your hotel or hospitality business receives within the platform. Constantly be monitoring your reviews and encourage guests to leave positive reviews when the time is right. This tactic can help your business get more bookings instead of someone picking a better-known brand. 

Ask for reviews wisely

You must pick the right moment to request a review and be clear on the platform you want a guest to leave a review on. If you’re pestering guests to leave reviews, you may come across as a nuisance. However, not enough and you won’t get a review at all. 

Usually, people only leave a review if they’ve had a spectacular experience or a disaster of one. Identify those that have had top-end experiences and encourage them to leave reviews where it will benefit you most. For those that haven’t had a great experience, try to deal with one-to-one. 


2. Create your hospitality website 

Hospitality businesses need to start looking more at their long-term goals. A large part of this will come down to having a business website being the largest digital booking platform available. Third-party booking platforms are fantastic for exposure. However, they limit the creativity and control you have over your business. 

As we move through 2020, look to build your hospitality website or put more emphasis on it. Make sure it has a smooth UX so that customers know they can return to it and book directly through you, rather than through a third party just for the sake of a better booking experience.

amazing villa rentalsSource

Vacation rental website design is a must in getting your hospitality business to the place you want it to be long term. Especially if you’re putting ad spend behind your business or are looking at building a backlinking strategy to your site, you’ll want to be sending people to a website that is as smooth an experience as walking through one of your venues. 

3. Build a digital experience 

The first part of 2020 saw many businesses putting a more significant focus on their digital products. Digital products can be hard to translate into the hospitality world, but not impossible. It’s a tactic you’ll need to be innovative with and not something you should reject if you can’t immediately see it working. 

Take some time to consider how your business can create a digital experience for customers, and where you want that digital experience to live. Perhaps you want to invest more time into an online community through social media. Maybe you could create a more intimate experience through your app that will give customers a reason to use it even when they’re not staying with you. 

One brand that has done this well is Remote Year. In a time of crisis, they still managed to thrive because of the strong community of “Citizens” (People that have used their work and travel solution) that they’ve fostered on Slack. It’s a gentle reminder that a digital experience does not have to be a state-of-the-art piece of technology that you’ll struggle to incorporate into your business. It can make the most of available resources or software out there, and require nothing more but time and a dedicated mind.  


Whatever it is, or however you do it, as we turn back to the new normal, do not think that the digital trend will die down. It’s been embraced by more people now than ever before, and it will be a standard feature of any hospitality experience in the future. Try to lift a customer’s digital experience, and in turn, you’ll expand your opportunities for digital reach, getting in front of the eyes of more people. 

4. Encompass green impact initiatives

Heard of eco-anxiety? It’s a form of anxiety that builds when people think about the ecological damage we are doing to the planet and how they are not doing enough about it. The question for hospitality is not whether you choose to have a green initiative, but how much of a green initiative you choose to have. 

People are prepared to pay more if they know they’re doing something good with their money and feel less eco-anxious when making decisions on travel & leisure. 

stop the water while using me Source

Ask yourself how you can initiate green projects, both digitally and physically. For those that you do choose to initiate physically, how can you showcase them in a digital space? 

One business that does this exceptionally well is Qbic Hotels. Not only are they extremely conscious of their eco-impact on the globe, but they have also responded to the crisis exceptionally well.

COVID Quarantine PackageSource

This business is a perfect example of agile marketing and operations. Let them lead by example and guide your own business decisions. People have not stopped looking for hospitality experiences; they’ve just started looking differently. If you can adapt to that change, then you’re on to a winning business model in 2020 and beyond. 

5. Partner up with locals 

Last on our list is partnering up. If you want to build a winning experience for your guests, then it’s okay to ask for help. It can even be useful for your reach goals. 

Running a hospitality business has many moving parts. As a small business, it can often feel like you’ve got a million and one things to do and not enough hours in the day for them. Pick your battles wisely and focus on what you’re good at. If you end up spreading your list of services too thinly, then you’ll often find you’re doing everything poorly, rather than one thing well. Focus on what you’re good at and call in the experts to help you with other areas. 

Upsell and cross-sell experiences with partners, lock down a commission and work on the partner doing the same with customers who come directly to them. What are people looking for from your hospitality business? Consider spas, local tourist attractions, fitness opportunities, food, and drinks, the list goes on. 

What can you handle in-house, and what’s best left to someone you know can do it better? There’s no shame in calling in the experts, and it will provide your guests with an all-around, top-quality experience that will keep them coming back in the future.

Take partnerships online  

Plus, you can take this a step further by partnering up with businesses promotionally and operationally. If you’re using partners to provide experiences, then don’t disguise it as your own, let your guests know that you’re supporting local businesses to provide them with greater experience. 

Showcase this online and have your partners do the same. Announce your partnership in newsletters, on social media, and in any other places that potential customers may be. 

Wrapping it all up

That is a wrap for five tips to help build a winning hospitality business in 2020. Yes, the world has changed; there’s no questioning it. People are looking for different things from their hospitality choices, and it’s down to you to adapt to these needs and wants. 

Create safe spaces, but use this opportunity to reorganize so that you can come out on top when people are ready to book. It’s time to seize the moment and make the most of a quiet period to help ensure your business with a more prosperous future. 

Author Bio

Ray Slater Berry is a content strategist at Outreach Humans. He has been working in social media and content marketing for eight years. He specializes in the tech, innovation, and travel sectors. He is also a published fiction author with his first title, Golden Boy.

Over to you

The hotel industry is always changing, especially during a time of crisis. Make sure to future-proof your business and continue attracting new guests by investing in these solutions.

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Related article: 5 Cost-effective Steps to Start a New Innovative Digital Transformation Shift for Hotels

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