Top tips for effective communications on hotel applications  

Written by


James Wood

Published


Recent data shows that hotel occupancy rates are back at near pre-Covid levels, with 78% occupancy across England. 

Despite rising costs, higher interest rates and a skilled labour shortage, investment in the sector is expected to remain steady in 2024, with the UK’s hotel market one of the strongest for investment in Europe.  

London remains a particularly active market, with around 80 projects and over 14,000 rooms in planning, although Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff are all expected to see a significant rise in supply.   

Communications challenges in hotel planning  

Planning for hotels presents a unique set of communications issues. 

Whether it’s concerns about anti-social behaviour, scale and massing, overlooking or worries around parking and deliveries – these risks, if not properly managed, can threaten to derail an application.   

So how do you go about overcoming these challenges to secure planning? 

At Cavendish, we are experts at navigating the politics of planning, helping clients with hotel proposal to secure planning consent.  

Here’s what we tell our clients. 

Make sure the benefits are heard (and understood)  

At a time when many towns and cities are still seeking a post-Covid recovery, there is no doubt decision-makers are looking to the development industry to stimulate local economic growth.  

However, too often the unique social and economic benefits of hotels are couched in language that obscures the core point. Help people understand the benefits of your scheme by keeping the language simple and jargon-free. 

Job numbers, annual spend and other key socio-economic benefits should be placed at the forefront of your messaging – with simple figures attached to evidence your claims.  

But remember; many stakeholders are bombarded by planning documents on a daily basis. Think about using more creative solutions like video to ensure your arguments cut through the noise to reach those with influence.  

Don’t be afraid to myth-bust   

Perception and reality are rarely the same thing when it comes to planning. It’s the job of communications professionals to sort fact from fiction and prevent the spread of misinformation.   

While it’s rarely beneficial to engage in ‘tit-for-tat’ with opposition groups, hotel developers should not be afraid to develop robust messaging to tackle common issues and concerns.  

While supporting a hotel extension at Heathrow, we helped the client develop robust messaging to address local concerns regarding traffic congestion; reassuring decision-makers that an uplift in rooms would not result in negative highways impacts.

When it comes to communicating points like this to the wider public, communications materials like newsletters and a FAQ page on your project website are great – but don’t stop there. Use clever social media target to share this information more widely to ensure maximum reach and impact.  

Often, those that actively oppose a project are the ones most likely to share your key messages with the wider ‘silent majority’. Think about ways to use this fact to your advantage.  

Be creative in how you engage  

The pandemic has thrown open the doors for how we engage on projects. Standing in a community hall is no longer the default option – there are a whole host of options available.  

The introduction of innovative digital solutions, in particular, has made it possible to target specific audiences, often in a cost-effective and measurable way.  

By using digital survey tools like those available via Meta, you can quickly understand the community and stakeholder priorities and tailor your proposals to respond to these.   

What’s more, these tools help you extend the reach of your engagement beyond those immediately affected, to a much wider audience who will often take a more favourable stance on your project. 

Activate your support networks  

When it comes to planning decisions, there’s no denying that public opinion matters and too many developers are still missing a trick by not fully mobilising potential supporters.  

There are often a range of audiences that might have a reason to support your proposal. By knowing how to identify these targets and understand their needs, you can engage them in a way that drives positive action.  

What’s more, by using clever targeting and digital tools, we have found ways to make it easier than ever for those that are supportive to express their views to the local authority. 

For a more direct approach, on-the-street canvassing remains a quick and easy way to quickly gather local support – a tactic Cavendish employed with considerable success on a major hotel application in Oxford. 

If you would like to speak to our regional experts on how we can support your hotel project, then please contact us below. 

 

Subscribe.

Please complete the form below to receive the latest news, events and information from Cavendish.

Name

Make your voice
make a difference.