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May 29, 2007, 01:38 PM
I worked in the Marketing Department of Windmill Inns & Suites (small chain in AZ and OR) for just over a year. I got a pretty good look at what the properties had to do to try to make a profit, and it didn't look easy.

All of the properties had a Sales Manager to try to fill up meeting rooms, book weddings, land corporate accounts, etc... We had a meeting every week where we looked at each location and what the occupancy % was, the ADR (average daily rate) as well as various other statistics to try to find where more profit could be made. GM's would be instructed to count cars at competitor hotels to see who was drawing the most business, then try to find out why. There was a lot involved with trying to squeeze out a little bit of profit from each hotel.

If there is a room large enough to rent out for meetings, I would recommend that for sure. Maybe a local 'start up' church could use it every Sunday, weddings or receptions could be held there, package deals could be negotiated with large wedding parties, corporate accounts and such to use the meeting room at a discount with a certain number of guest room rentals.

Also, I think Ankesh is on the right track with selling advertising. I don't know how many guest rooms there are at this place, but giving local restaurants "exclusive" space on a channel guide or in a room directory could generate a little extra cash - Don Alm could tell you how to make a full time income with advertising ops there I'm sure!

Being in Branson, I'm sure there is a good market for 'souvenirs' as well. If they don't have a gift shop, they need to make some space to sell at least some t-shirts, magnets, and stuff to tourists - as well as things guests are likely to forget to pack and have to buy - toothpaste, deodorant, and the standard sodas and candy.

Making a hotel profitable on room rates alone is really tough, keep up the brainstorming!

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