In this, the final part of the hotel development series, Paul Russell of Luxury Academy London looks at new markets.
There are a number of routes you can take to develop your business, the correct one(s) will of course depend upon the unique characteristics of your hotel, market conditions and environmental factors. The paths you can take are clearly signposted, we visited sales in part I, product/service development in part II and in this concluding article we analyse business development through new markets.
When you feel that you have fully penetrated existing markets for your hotel, it is only natural that your eye will begin to wander to pastures new as you consider how your brand would be received in new markets. The temptation here is to go full steam ahead into a new market but ensure adequate attention to core competencies, and if you can test the waters in terms of market experience so much the better. Luxury Academy were working regularly in India from a UK base before developing into the country. A stage further is a brand new product or service in the new market, and where you see a genuine need, this can work extremely well. Luxury Academy have a number of services that are specific to the Indian market.
Another consideration for new markets is culture, it would be a mistake to assume that business practices in the target country are the same as at home. In China for example, clients want to know the person they are dealing with as much as the company and it would be quite common to be invited into the home of a potential business associate. If you declined, thinking they are merely being polite in a very British way, the insult caused would almost certainly terminate the relationship. Ensure you undertake adequate research into not only the potential market, but the prevailing culture and business etiquette.
New markets aside, a potentially simple means of development through increasing production comes in b2b and professional relationships, from networking to strategic partnerships. Networking widens your pool of opportunities and it is important to allocate not only sufficient time to being present at industry events and so forth but to knowing how to present yourself at such events. Many senior executives, despite being financial or strategic geniuses, find aspects related to social interactions quite difficult and therefore undertake specific training to equip them with specific skills- diplomacy, dining etiquette and dealing with difficult situations for example. Strategic partnerships on the other hand can align complementary competencies, taking your business in new directions that would be impossible- or at least more difficult- alone.
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