What a year it has been for our hypothetical hotel. From humble beginnings to now, in Q4 being set up for long term success. In Q4 of last year, we started by creating the mission plan, the single document that showed us the path. In Q1, we picked off many low hanging fruits, protecting the brand and putting us on the map. In Q2, we set up our marketing channels to encourage more people to book directly by setting up a better CRM and metasearch. in Q3, we turned our attention to community building, turning our hotel into ‘the choice’. Now, it’s Q4 again. The final step in this series is to make sure we continue to succeed over the long term. We will do this by following the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen.
Q4 – Kaizen
Kaizen is a Japanese word that translates roughly to ‘continuous improvement’. It was originally used by Toyota, the powerhouse in car making, particularly in the 1980s. They used Kaizen to encourage every worker to look for areas for improvement, no matter how minor. The idea being that continuous improvement leads to a better product, more fulfilling work and greater profits.
Kaizen for our hotel marketing
I will be using this philosophy to ensure the hotel is consistently levelling up. This will involve regular and scheduled marketing analysis in all the areas we have established this year. In these analysis sessions, I will scour over each area of marketing and ask, “how could this be better?”. By repeatedly asking this question, you’ll be surprised how many incremental improvements will be made. A good way to format this will be to spend lots of time upfront creating a checklist based audit. When I worked for a paid media agency many years ago, we used a ‘100-point-audit’ to ensure every stone was being turned.
Always be testing
A-B-T will be a religion in my marketing department – I’ll always be testing new approaches to reach the target market, whether this is tweaked targeting on FB ads or testing a totally new platform, such as TikTok. 20% of my marketing budget will always be put aside for these ‘out of the box’ tests. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, do a test and get data. I will treat my marketing efforts as a science, first making a hypothesis and then following this up with tests and the eventual conclusion.
Prepare to change
In 2001, lots of hotels didn’t have websites, but then it became necessary. In 2011, lots of hotels weren’t on social media, but then it became necessary. In 2022, lots of hotels aren’t doing influencer marketing or metasearch, but in 5 years, it’ll become necessary.
My point here is to say that the only certainty in life is change and through practising kaizen and the A-B-T philosophies, we can be ‘early movers’ in these spaces, reaping early mover advantages (low cost per bookings).
I really hope this 5 part series has been helpful and that you are able to take the lessons I applied to my hypothetical hotel and apply them in the real world.
If you have any questions, I am reachable here. Until next time, have a wonderful day. Jack