Hotels have historically been an important hub of the community and for smaller towns specifically, the hotel is the central meeting, dining, and entertainment establishment. Regardless of location, the more that a hotel becomes a part of the local community, the more that it will not only establish rapport but also positively impact the bottom line and asset value.
When acquiring a new hotel, it is important to identify the key players in the community. If the property is located in a smaller town or jurisdiction, the mayor or members of the city council can open doors. For larger municipalities, the local council person or head of a neighborhood community group can be a bigger influence. But politicians are only part of the contacts you should make. The chair of the Chamber of Commerce, the president of local banks, the owner or editor of the local newspaper, and the head of the local tourism board can also be valuable resource.
But aside from simply driving business to your property, there are other important community contacts. Officers from the local police station should be welcomed with open arms at your property. Not only can your property serve as a stop on the officers’ route for a brief respite or cup of coffee, but it can also be valuable in the event you need to contact law enforcement. Additionally, it’s important to identify key community leaders be they from civic organizations or simply the resident who is the unofficial leader of the neighborhood. Your property can also serve as the sponsor for a local youth sports team or arts program.
While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, being a part of the local community is increasingly important as businesses get back to their roots of being key players in local life. Remember that you are not making one-time contacts but rather sustaining an ongoing effort by ownership and management on property. Offer to host a local Rotary Club meeting or provide your space for a holiday party for small businesses. When the community feels that your property willingly engages with them, your ability to drive business and increase performance will pay dividends years into the future.