If your pro desk has a long line of contractors and builders each day—but no one from the local hospitality market—you’re missing out on a big segment of potential customers.
The good news is that once you know how to reach them, your pro desk offerings will be a no-brainer for hotel and other hospitality buyers.
Why does the pro desk make sense for hospitality buyers?
The hospitality industry, which includes hotels, motels and resorts, might not know it yet, but pro desks like yours are the perfect place to shop supplies, like lighting and plumbing, and maintenance solutions.
Your neighborhood store is the go-to for emergency and last-minute items.
They can save time with reserved pro parking.
You offer competitive pricing and discounts, bulk pricing, and pro-exclusive deals.
Of course, your challenge is getting hotel and hospitality professionals to know about you and see why your pro desk is the right choice for them. Your first step: Learn about their needs and motivations.
Getting to know the hospitality buyer
Hospitality professionals are busy, and they’re trying to keep up with their ever-evolving industry. Here are some important things to keep in mind when working with this group:
1. They expect next-level service. Hospitality professionals take customer service to another level, dedicating more time to customer satisfaction than your average business. They’re focused on offering a superior level of customer service, and they expect their vendors to do the same. It’s good to keep this in mind when working with a hospitality customer in order to meet their expectations and provide exceptional client care.
2. Their busy times are (somewhat) predictable. Every day is a busy day in the hospitality industry, but local events and holidays can make their hectic 24/7 schedule even busier. Check local calendars so you’re respectful of their busy times. For example, don’t reach out when a convention is in town or during parents’ weekend at the nearby university. Most likely the hotel is fully booked, and even if they politely interact with you, they won’t be able to give their complete attention. Discover when the off-season is for hotels in your area by calling one or two and anonymously asking.
3. They probably already have a procurement partner. Do a little fact-finding on the marketplaces of some of the national suppliers, like Avendra and American Hotel, to explore their product categories and pricing. Compile this competitive analysis to determine where you can be competitive with price, selection and delivery. You may offer free local delivery, while their current supplier requires them to pay for shipping costs. Your competition may require contracts that your potential buyer is not satisfied with, so tout “no contracts required” as a selling point.
4. They’re going green to make more green. Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report finds that 87 percent of travelers want to travel sustainably, which often means choosing eco-friendly lodging to reduce their environmental impact. If you source energy-efficient lighting and low-flow shower heads or toilets to hospitality customers, they can communicate these sustainability initiatives to their customers as well. If you know the energy savings a light bulb will offer over the course of a year, add that information to your marketplace or any advertising collateral.
5. Your target is targeting tech-savvy millennials. In the next five years, the demographic darling, millennials—and their $200 billion in buying power—will make up 50 percent of all travelers in the United States, reports the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research. Hotels are preparing for this change in the market now by embracing the latest tech for everything from mobile check-in and check-out to smart technology controls to save energy from lighting, plugs, HVAC and more. That means you should be offering these buyers your most innovative products.
The hospitality industry is an untapped market for many pro desks. By understanding hospitality buyers—and how you’re uniquely suited to meet their needs—you can expand your customer base in ways your competitors aren’t.
To help you learn more about how to connect with this market, we’ve created a comprehensive guide for you. Download Reaching the Markets that Matter: Hotels and Hospitality now and get the leg up on getting hospitality buyers to look to you first for their supplies.