You work hard, put away some money, invest in a resort in the heart of California’s olive and wine country and set your sights on becoming a world class resort. You imagine a place where people gather for great conversation, beautiful views and unique Spa treatments.

There is only one major problem, you have no idea how to make your dream come true and now you are just months away from closing down. This is what happened to the owners of the Purple Orchid Inn, a beautiful 10 room, 9,000 square foot hotel.

Episode Recap – Owning a World Class Resort Where People Gather

Enter Hotel Impossible host Anthony Melchiorri. His task in this week’s episode was to save a dream. This meant teaching the owners (Derek and Rhiannon) how to market their hotel.

Touring the Purple Orchid

The show started as usual with a tour of the property, rooms and assets. The host Anthony then met with the hotel’s owners. The following is a list of 10 opportunities for improvement he discovered.

  1. Zero guests stayed the previous night. Occupancy was about 8% on average and according to Anthony hotels need approximately 50% occupancy to break even.
  2. The hotel was surviving on weddings of which there 23 booked for the year.
  3. The rooms were clean with good themes (except one that was out of place).
  4. Minor hotel maintenance issues such as dirty chairs, dusting needs and driveway holes.
  5. The property needed a good washing.
  6. The spa had an outdated look with had no products to sell and had no uniqueness or feel to it.
  7. When entering the spa, Anthony had to wait for someone from the front desk to come help despite two employees being in the employee lounge next door.
  8. The owners had no hotel experience.
  9. Potential guest had no way to make a reservation online.
  10. The Purple Orchid had no marketing affiliations with any of the wineries.

Little Changes Can Make a New Resort

One of the dominant themes of the show has been a focus on housekeeping, maintenance and challenging hotel management to step up to the plate. In this episode, hotel maintenance and housekeeping were not a major concern as only minor housekeeping and maintenance problems were identified.

“To guests, cleanliness is the single most important thing in choosing a hotel”

Source: Anthony Melchiorri

Other than teaching Derek to pay attention to the properties condition and getting him to clean/fix a few things the majority of Anthony’s efforts went into modernizing the spa and then teaching the owners to realize their hotel’s potential.

The physical changes were accomplished by enlisting the guidance of a world class spa designer to work with his designer. The result was a modern looking spa with unique local produced products that was available to guests as well as the local population base.

While the renovations took place, the owners learned how to market their property both physically and by using the internet. I don’t think it can be stressed enough to every hotel owner, manager or marketing director that both types of marketing are necessary.

Physical marketing is the seeking of and the face to face development of business affiliations and alliances that can refer business to your hotel. It is this type of marketing that will develop corporate accounts, local branding and image. For the owners of the Purple Orchid this meant meeting seeking a relationship with local wineries and olive growers.

The meetings ended up setting up a wine tasting, olive oil and bread gathering to showcase the hotel. The event was held outdoors at the new gathering table strategically placed to amplify the hotel’s view of the groves that surround it.

In addition to the physical marketing, the website for the Purple Orchid Inn was redesigned to enable online booking as well as showcasing the new spa. Together these two types of inexpensive marketing changes positioned the hotel to rebrand it to both local and global travelers.

Tell us about the best hotels you have stayed at. Was maintenance noticeable? Come back next week for another recap of Hotel Impossible.