The Kimpton Hotels brand, now part of the IGH, is booming in the US. They are the industry leader in the boutique hotel segment, which is the fastest growing segment in hotels. The Kimpton commitment is massive, where the guests, employees, and partners all love the company for they are known take care of everyone. Here is how Kimpton does it, and what how that can present some lessons for hostels to learn too.
1. Focus on Experience:
Kimpton’s Hotels have a quality of service that rivals hotels at a higher star level. They do go the extra mile. The little attention to detail means everything. They offer accommodation that we can understand. Some of their hotels have happy hours, even a free glass of wine. They work hard to get the guests to mingle, and have a great time.
Go the extra mile. Hostel guests are less picky that 3-4 star hotel guests, so you have plenty of room to get creative. As for events, you have to create the experience. You have to plan the event like it is a mini celebration. Market it internally, and produce hype around it, even if it happens every day. The experience start as soon as the guest knows about the event.
2. Keep the Assets Light:
Kimpton will rather focus on having that amazing service than how to manage a property portfolio, and a hotel location contributes greatly to the guest experience. That is why they pride themselves on being asset light. Their rapid expansion only fits this model as real estate in the best locations is usually not available for purchase.
If you are looking to open a hostel or expand to a new location, consider the location of the hostel through your guests eyes. You can really get a feeling for the experience by location alone. Kimpon proves it is worth renting in order to secure the good locations.
3. Embrace the Community:
Their guests love them. Their employees love them. Even their partners love them. Kimpton embraces rewarding relationships with their partnering companies. This is the tour companies, suppliers, and even their OTAs. Every year they hold a Kimpton Crave event where they can throw one hell of a party inviting all their partners to come and have a good time.
The hospitality industry is a network of companies that work together. Having your partners like you means everything. You don’t have to throw crazy big budgeted parties like Kimpton, but you do have to keep a dialog open and make your partner feel appreciated. If you don’t consider any companies a partner, then you have lots of work to do.
4. Use the Right Tools:
Kimpton focuses on the revenue they can make per average guest per night, not just from the room (RevPAR), but form that entire experience (tRevPAR). Their events keep their bar flowing, and the revenue pouring in, and that is only one way Kimpton monetizes the experience. To make the most of it, they use some of the best revenue management and customer experience tools out there.
IDeaS, TravelClick, and others are not available for hostels, but products like Hostel Bench is pretty impressive. You can send exit emails to your guests with a survey to keep track of their experience too. Whatever you do, you have to be proactive and be willing to invest with time or money to complete the task.
5. Work Together:
Kimpton is a group of other Branded hotels that all operate under the Kimpon brand. These include the Donovan, Hotel Monaco, Palamore, Eventi, and more. They give the guest a boutique feel, but together they have the powers of being a strong brand such as they can negotiate contracts and combine marketing efforts, and it is proven successful. Also, they listen to their employees. An hourly employee can send a message or idea to their corporate managers. See here.
Hostels working together can achiever greatness. There are many efforts of independent hostels that deserve good credit. HostelsAustralia is reviving a solid network of independents down there, and Hostel Hops is offering a great tool for hostels to send their guests to other hostels on their network. This is only a couple of the many examples of how hostels can work together. Who knows, perhaps a group of hostels could eventually gain some bargaining ground against the OTAs like Kimpton.
As a manager or owner of a hostel, never ignore or discredit your staff. They might not have the experience you do, but they are dealing with the guests, usually more than the owners and managers too. Make sure they feel appreciated and that they can always reach out when possible. Your ground breaking idea that will separate you from your competition could be just around the corner.