The 2024 Summer Olympic games are just about a year away. Is your hotel ready to compete?
While it has likely been on your radar for a while now, the spectacle of elite athletes performing on the world’s stage—and the massive influx of visitors that comes with it—is drawing near. Whether the prospect of Olympic travelers soon arriving in droves has you excited for a boost in business or nervous about handling the surge, it’s time to tap into that energy and make sure your properties are positioned to make the most of this golden opportunity.
Like the thousands of athletes competing in the 2024 games, your hotel needs a preparation plan to maximize its potential. Fortunately for any who may be feeling unprepared, there are several things you can do to get ready that don’t require a lifetime of intense dedication and training to achieve strong results.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take right now to prepare.
2024 Olympic Preparation: 8 Winning Moves for Competitive Hoteliers
The right preparation approach for your property will depend heavily on factors like your proximity to Olympic venues, typical guest needs and the revenue generating services available on site. That said, it’s worth considering any number of the following as you plan for Olympic success.
1. Research similar events and forecast accordingly
Now’s the time to gather data and develop a stronger understanding of Olympic (or other large event) guest behaviors. While obviously you’re not likely to find data that’s a perfect comparison point, there are insights from past events that may shape expectations for your property.
For instance, during the 2012 London Olympic Games, our survey of 30 area properties found that there was a significant increase in RevPAR during and after the event, but also a significant pre-event occupancy drop-off as their typical group and corporate business steered clear of the city. This suggests a tactical change like increased length of stay requirements with a mini-promotion for early arriving travelers may be needed to shore up revenue on the days immediately before an event.
2. Review booking systems and upgrade, if needed
Booking systems are a foundational tool for successful hoteliers, so it’s worth pausing to consider the following:
- Are you confident in your booking system’s ability to handle a large influx of traffic and reservations during the Olympics without issues?
- Does your booking system integrate seamlessly with third-party booking channels?
- Can guests use a mobile device to easily book their rooms?
Many properties may be in good shape on this front, but now’s the time to take stock of the technology supporting your hotel and pursue any needed improvements.
3. Implement dynamic pricing
Dynamic pricing strategies are a tried-and-true way to maximize revenue, particularly during periods of high demand, like the Olympics, where prospective guests are willing to pay a premium. In its simplest form, dynamic pricing can be a manual adjustment of room rates based on factors like demand, event schedules, and occupancy levels.
While that manual approach is an improvement over static pricing, there are inefficiencies as well as information gathering and processing challenges that can be resolved with revenue management software like IDeaS’ G3 RMS. This powerful tool uses multiple hotel and market data sources to provide scientific, automated pricing decisions that are reactive to the business you have on the books, as well as the latest forecasting data.
4. Cater to Olympic guest behavior with flexible rate structures
The behaviors of your potential Olympic guests are not uniform. Some may book in anticipation of their nation’s continued sport-related success, while others are locked in for a trip they’ve had planned for years in advance.
Flexible rate structures are one effective way to serve these guests and your bottom line.
For example, you can offer slightly discounted non-refundable rates for those who are certain about their travel plans. Or, while there are still several months or weeks to arrival, you may want to make a percentage of certain rooms available with flexible cancellation policies. Depending on your property, you may be able to fill up higher-priced and harder to sell inventory that, in the event of a cancellation, is now available for a much higher market rate once timing-related guest desperation sets in.
5. Partner with travel agencies, tour operators, and local businesses
There are multiple avenues for mutually beneficial partnerships between your hotel and other hospitality, entertainment and/or local venues near your property. With the right incentives, travel agencies and tour operators can help you secure group bookings and advanced reservations that can provide a solid base of business.
Local businesses like restaurants and transportation providers can also make excellent partners for developing exclusive guest packages and offers. For example, a local foodie destination may be willing to set aside some premium reservation times for hotel guests that opt into a guest package. Or a transport provider may be willing to provide a guaranteed for pre- or post-event rides to guests. The details of these packages will take careful consideration and negotiation, but it doesn’t hurt to get creative and start the process of seeking out mutually beneficial business opportunities.
6. Place a renewed focus on guest experience
Ensuring your guests have a great experience is an evergreen goal, but that doesn’t mean you should take a “business as usual” approach to the Olympics. Carve out time for additional staff training, with an eye on providing personalized service and accommodating the needs of international travelers.
For instance, if you know you have a large group of guests coming from a specific country, start considering what can be done to personalize and make their lives easier. Even a few small changes, like ensuring some food options for guests adhere to cultural dietary restrictions, providing home language signage translations, or adding personalized “welcome” baskets can help make a lasting positive impression when well-executed.
7. Get your digital marketing house in order
Whether you’re starting with a well-oiled digital marketing machine or have significant room for improvement, the Olympics presents a good opportunity to give your digital marketing presence and tactics a closer look.
Potential areas of opportunity include:
- Improving the search engine visibility of your property’s website
- Running targeted paid and organic social media promotional campaigns
- Email- or text-based marketing automation campaigns (an excellent opportunity for upselling amenities)
- Updating your website with an eye for improving user experience during the booking process
Many of these digital marketing opportunities will provide a chance for you to highlight your property’s proximity to Olympic events, unique features, and promotional guest packages.
8. Keep an eye to your competitors—and be ready to adjust.
There’s always value in keeping tabs on your closest competitors, and that’s particularly true when navigating the extraordinary circumstances of an international event. Stay aware of your competitors pricing, promotions, and marketing efforts, and be ready to pivot as quickly as possible to ensure you stay competitive.
With IDeaS’ G3 RMS, much of this work can be done automatically, with automated pricing decisions that are based on factors like competitor rates, projected demand, and the scarcity of your room inventory (among others).
No one reaches the top spot on the podium without putting in the prep work. This quiet before the storm of Olympic activity is your window to take stock of your hotel and get the necessary pieces in place for a successful Olympics in 2024.
IDeaS’ solutions can help you go for the gold. Check out our ebook, “The Major Events Strategy Playbook: A Hotelier’s Guide to Optimizing Big-Event Revenue” or book a demo today to start the conversation.