How to Turn a Challenging Retail Program Into a Grab-And-Go Success!

Originally Published by Janine (Roberts) Williams on

Hotel Retail Simplified

Over the past decade, I have spoken with thousands of General Managers to analyze the retail efforts of their lobby retail outlet: the challenges they face, the approaches they take to increase their revenue, and what they wish they knew when it comes to managing a retail effort. The consensus that I have encountered is that most hotel managers have little to no retail background and find the market a daunting task to manage much less improve.

I have also worked with numerous brands, ownership groups, and management companies to help them overhaul their grab-and-go retail programs, and the overall consensus at the corporate level is: "We know there is an opportunity to increase revenue and guest satisfaction through our retail operations, but we don't know how to develop and sustain a profitable retail effort that our GMs can manage."

Often I find there is a tremendous disconnect between what the corporate level would like to see from their lobby retail programs and what the GM's are capable of doing given their lack of retail expertise and the limited time they have to invest in such a small portion of their operations. This article addresses issues both sides face in the hopes that, with some minor improvements, both sides can minimize the frustrations involved and maximize the profits that are easily achievable when a retail effort is managed successfully.

Challenge #1 - A Lack of Direction

The majority of national lobby retail programs have a well thought out program including what it should look like in the areas of fixtures, assortment, margins, preferred vendors, and merchandising.

Hotel Retail Challenges