Hospitality

MARKETING CONCEPTS HOSPITALTIY

Bartering Empty Rooms Maximizes Profits

Bill Richardson, general manager of a St. Louis-area hotel, pushed his chair away from his desk and drew a heavy sigh. He stared at a report from his maintenance supervisor that detailed a list of badly needed repairs that surely would exceed Bill’s budget for such improvements and renovations. The roof in the west wing of the hotel was leaking heavily and was sorely in need of repair. The carpeting in the east wing and main dining room needed to be replaced. Thirty rooms required a fresh coat of paint, wallpaper, and new window treatments.

Complicating the issue was the fact that Bill needed to reserve funds to have the parking lot paved, and his landscaper raised prices so high that Bill had no other choice but to explore additional options. Although Bill was frustrated, he knew help was just a telephone call away. Bill was a member of a trade exchange, like Tradesource, and knew his personal trade broker would go to work for him and help to resolve Bill’s troubles.

“It didn’t take long before my broker found me one of the area’s best roofers, a company to provide new carpeting, someone to paint, wallpaper, and install window treatments in the 30 rooms, a paving company to refurbish the parking lot, and a new landscaper,” Bill said. “My broker accomplished all of this in one week
and saved me from opening up the corporate check book or using a credit card. By using barter to fill our empty rooms, we put ourselves in a win-win situation. We now trade for what we need using what we have – empty rooms that are now full.”

Trading room nights brings hotels new customers to feed other profit
centers food-and-beverage, phone, laundry,

“I was able to accomplish these renovations because our trade exchange was able to effectively bring us new customers,” Steven said. “Rooms that normally sit idle during the week are now filled with business guests who also use our catering and banquet facilities for meetings and conferences. We’ve become an attractive, yet reasonable, alternative for many business functions — and best of all we have all of this new business. We’ve also seen an increase in cash customers who enjoyed their barter experience with us and come back with their families for a weekend getaway.”

One-on-one bartering is com-mon in the hotel industry, but join-ing a trade exchange or barter company (a group of businesses who barter among themselves) can give you more flexibility and opportunity.

The barter company also gives you a great record keeping system so you’ll always know where you stand with your barter account. There’s no additional bookkeeping on your part.

“Let’s face it, having empty rooms is the number one dilemma hotel operators face,” said Lansing, Mich.-area hotel general manager Edward Carboneau. “By join-ing a barter company, we’re filling empty rooms — especially on weekends with out-of-town guests — and utilizing this wealth of new business to expand our operations. We’re also seeing an increase in our restaurant and bar business from our local trade exchange members who come here with their business associates for lunch and dinner. The trade exchange members tend to leave bigger tips, which makes my wait staff very happy to serve them.”

Barter fills empty hotel rooms with additional customers –
over and above normal cash business for hotels.

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