Disruptive, an opportunity to develop the business for Hotel

Disruptive means unconventional, and it is a term I borrowed from the innovative start-up industry, those that have managed to change the world by turning crazy ideas that no one believed in into reality.

My name is Giancarlo De Leonardo, I have also been a hotelier, and today, together with a Dream Team of digital professionals under 30y, I work to develop the business of hotels eligible for what we have called the Caro Collega Method. In a disruptive way of course.

Disruptive is an easy concept to understand. Albert Einstein said that ‘madness is to keep behaving the same way all the time and expecting different results’. For many years I conformed to a usual behavior, but after spending a few years in the innovative start-up industry, I started to think and behave differently from my hotelier’s colleagues.
If you are a hotelier who is tired of doing what all your colleagues do, and if you want to start thinking about how to adapt your business to a different way than you did 10–15 years ago, reading this article may be a starting point. So let’s start now to reverse the way we approach business. Enough praise and let’s go against the grain.

Did you know that your hotel loses money every day because of unsold rooms?

Do you know that there is more than just OTAs to fill a hotel or trade fair?

In this article

The competitive advantage that no longer exists

4000 km of coastline, mountains that the whole world envies us, cities of art, history, and culture, plus a unique and rare food and wine heritage. This is ‘the unfair competitive advantage’ as the Americans call it. But in an increasingly interconnected and global world, can we still consider it as such?
The first objective we have within Carocollega.com is to produce free content, like the one you are reading, to stimulate the digital emancipation of the many hoteliers who are still wary of digital for 2 reasons:

  1. no one has really made them understand the opportunities inherent in the digital revolution
  2. they have had to deal with so many consultants who boasted that they knew how to achieve results, but in reality, they were non-returnable investments.

If Las Vegas exceeds the number of tourists visiting Rome, have you ever wondered why? Well, this reason is called marketing, it is the flywheel that drives any business and today it is also important for the entire hospitality industry in our country since the ‘unfair competitive advantage’ is no longer enough for Italy to play a leading role in the international tourism scene.

The digital marketing that nobody understands

Now that I have a completely different awareness of the potential of digital marketing than a few years ago, when I think back to my years as general manager of Poltu Quatu, I smile.
Poltu Quatu is a small tourist destination in the north of Sardinia consisting of a hotel, a marina, a residence, 6 restaurants, 3 bars, a discotheque, and a dozen shops.

We are talking about a total turnover of about 10 million euros, achieved without a real marketing department, but only with a couple of freelance sales managers hired by the hotel to attend hotel fairs to sign contracts with the various travel agents.
An economic result therefore always linked to that of the tourist flows generated in Sardinia: in the good years we invoiced more and in the not-so-good years less. To continue thinking in this way, entrusting the success of activity to factors that we cannot control, when thanks to the digital revolution we can identify people interested in a product and reach them with dedicated proposals, does this not seem crazy?

In light of the last few years spent in the world of innovative start-ups and all the digital marketing I have metabolized and then put into practice in the establishments we follow, I can say that every hotelier can do more for his business and for the area where it operates.

“If you don’t understand you don’t act or you act badly” is the mantra that expresses the transition that has characterized the last few years of my professional life and transformed me from a short-sighted entrepreneur into an enlightened one. And it is a phrase that I hope will inspire you and make you realize that the digital revolution offers so many opportunities to the hotel industry as well.


Disruptive marketing

Thinking disruptively is a prerogative of all those who approach the world of innovative start-ups. A start-up is a capital enterprise that is less than five years old and is said to be innovative because it is high-tech.

Hotels are normally SMEs and do not have a high technological content, so they cannot be called innovative start-ups, but no one can prevent them from thinking in a disruptive way and differentiating themselves from the other Hoteliers.
This is the starting point, so if you prefer to conform to the common thinking of your peers go ahead and put a stitch in it now, otherwise go ahead and you won’t regret it.
While no one is telling you to block traffic from the OTAs or from the deals your hotel salespeople sign, the idea we can develop together is to explore the world of digital marketing.

Your hotel’s audience is connected to a smartphone all day long, do we want to be there too, or do we want to leave the field open to our more astute competitors? Do you know of anyone who, when booking a flight or hotel, does not do so ‘online’?

That is why we have to integrate an integrated digital marketing plan with the aim of intercepting our potential customers. Broadly speaking, this involves professionally managing 7 acquisition channels and all their declinations:

  1. a website that reflects the principles sanctioned by Google (core web vitals)
  2. quality textual, video, and photographic content, and not just amateur content that you can use in certain circumstances
  3. the SEO needed to position our business organically;
  4. the hotel’s profile on Google;
  5. an original social strategy that differs from the banal strategy of your competitors, deployed on social networks relevant to your audience;
  6. a community that we listen to and whose requests we try to anticipate;
  7. ads campaigns on Meta, Google, and wherever we see fit.

When I talk about declinations, I mean that each point has its own complexities and must be managed by one or more professionals. Take social media for example, which is a world I am sure you are familiar with: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube, are all possible customer acquisition channels that require specialists.
Have you ever thought of a hybrid situation where your hotel marketing staff can collaborate and be followed by a Dream Team of professionals?

Caro Collega horeca english

Micro and macro marketing

We have a great opportunity all together: through the marketing plan of a hotel, we can also help a city, a tourist destination, a region, or an entire country to grow. Have you seen how popular Puglia has become in recent years? Undoubtedly a large part of the success of this region is attributable to the marketing plan that hotels such as Borgo Egnazia, Masseria Montenapoleone, or Torre Maizza have implemented, just to name the first ones that came to mind.

What could happen if every hotel or restaurant became an ambassador of Italy’s tourism and hospitality culture? I’ll ‘spoil’ it for you: we would have tourist flows for much of the year that would boost GDP and employment rates, guaranteeing well-being for all.

We have started to get involved, will you join us?
We are looking for extraordinary people and companies for a memorable venture…

written by Giancarlo De Leonardo former Hotelier and founder of Carocollega.com