As with any relationship, establishing and maintaining a successful partnership with a wholesale product provider in the hospitality industry requires diligence. Yet, too often, because hotel executives have so many other competing priorities, the research around finding the best wholesalers might fall through the cracks.
This can be a costly misstep that results in headaches down the road. Even worse, should things go badly with your wholesaler, you could end up without a backup supplier of vital products like toiletries, food, and other essentials. As a result, your brand suffers from failing to deliver the optimal experience for your guests.
Fortunately, partnering with a wholesaler doesn’t have to be difficult. That is as long as you follow these seven tips hotels need to know about partnering with wholesalers.
1. Find Wholesalers that Believe in the Business of Hospitality
Partnering with companies—regardless of what they do—that are solely concerned with making a quick buck is a recipe for disaster. You need to partner with people, whether they’re supplying bed sheets for your rooms or food for your restaurant, that believe in taking care of people.
At the end of the day, everyone’s in business to make money, but it’s those companies that take the long view and take care of their customers that you’ll want to associate yourself with. That way at the very least, your partners are driving towards achieving the same mission as you.
2.Verify their Business History
When you apply for a loan, the bank wants to know that you have a proven track record of generating revenue and paying bills. Since your wholesale supplier will—in some part—contribute to the viability of your business, you should exercise that same level of due diligence. Talk to previous and current customers of your wholesaler. Do some online research. A little extra investigation will go a long way.
David Dayton, an expert in procurement, suggests using external websites to verify your supplier and to pay for background information and document verification.
3.Evaluate Their Delivery Capacity
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, your wholesaler needs to give you what you need when you need it. Otherwise, you run the risk of your guests having a bad experience. And bad experiences can add up to poor revenue numbers.
As Casey Ueberroth, Senior Vice President of marketing at Preferred Hotel Group mentioned in a New York Times article, “The loyal, engaged guest is driving large amounts of revenue. If you take care of that guest, he keeps coming back.”
Make sure your wholesaler understands and is capable of delivering what you need when you need it so you’re always taking care of your guests.
4.Communicate Early and Often
So many issues can be solved with better communication when it comes to wholesale partnerships. Don’t be afraid to double and triple check with your supply partners. Worst-case scenario, you ruffle their feathers a little bit. But that’s far better than the alternative of risking a miscommunication that results in an inventory shortfall with no backup in place.
5.Prioritize Wholesaler Location
When it comes to supplying your hotel reliably and on-time with quality products, it’s worth making the effort to find a logistically convenient wholesaler. Even if the wholesale partners that are geographically closer to you price their products higher, the added convenience may be worth a small price markup.
6.Don’t Overemphasize Price
Of course, you want to get the best possible deal with your wholesale partner. However, getting the best deal does not necessarily mean getting the best price. That’s because even if you get a low upfront price, you’ll be paying for that low price in other ways. The quality of service and products, as well as the reliability of your partner, will surely go down along with their prices.
Failing to deliver the experience your guests expect is rarely worth the short-term savings of only considering the cheapest wholesalers out there.
7.Consider the Buying Experience
Hopefully, when you find a high-quality wholesale supply partner, you’ll work with them for the long haul. Which means you should make a careful evaluation of the buying experience with various suppliers. Do they have a convenient online system? Are they responsive to your needs?
You, or one of your employees, is going to be making purchases regularly, so make sure the buying process is seamless and convenient. In today’s digital age, there’s no excuse for outdated, clunky online shopping platforms.
Conclusion: Ask the Tough Questions
Ensuring a successful partnership with your wholesalers is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. However, so long as you’re not afraid to ask the tough questions, conduct due diligence, and work to maintain a good working relationship, you’ll have a great chance of long-term success with your wholesale partners.
Justin Laxton is the Chief Operating Officer of Weiner’s Ltd. Since 1991, Weiner’s has been working to become a trusted supplier of travel size products to businesses ranging from intimate B&B’s to large five star hotels, gift shops in hospitals and airports, as well as airlines and charter services, college bookstores, e-commerce, pharmacies, vending, government institutions, charities and event planners.