How Hotel Managers Can Master the Art of Finding a Supplier

published Jan 25, 2022
2 min read

Running a hotel can be a complicated undertaking. One aspect that may go overlooked is finding a wholesale supplier. It’s easy to gloss over this part of the process, but your choice of supplier could sway your operating expenses and customer satisfaction.

Vacation frequency and length are set to increase in 2022, so hotel managers must revisit their supplier relationships. Here’s how you can master the art of finding a good one.

1. Determine Your Needs

The first step in deciding on a wholesale supplier is determining your hotel’s needs. This begins with understanding your customers’ needs. Your guests are the ones who’ll use your supplies and amenities, so their requirements should drive your purchasing decisions.

What a hotel needs from its supplier depends on the clientele it serves. For example, a luxury brand should favor quality and comfort over price, while a budget option should look for supplies that will keep costs low. As a result, the ideal supplier for each hotel will likely be different.

Wholesale suppliers often offer a wider selection of products than standard retailers, so one company may be able to meet various hotels’ needs. Still, one supplier may provide a good deal on entry-level items while another has a better offering on high-end options. Which is the best depends on your target market.

2. Review Suppliers’ Clientele

You should also review a supplier’s customer feedback before buying anything. This part of the process is fairly straightforward in B2C markets, but it can be more challenging to find a supplier for a business. Try to find information about a supplier’s clientele when customer reviews aren’t available.

A supplier that has any famous or industry-leading clientele will likely promote it. You can also ask a retailer to provide names for some of their existing or past clients. A company that’s served many notable ones is likely a safe choice, but one without such a history may be more of a risk.

3. Consider Their Location

Inventory and costs aren’t the only things to consider when finding a supplier. One crucial factor that hotels can easily overlook is their location. Generally speaking, it’s best to partner with domestic, ideally local, companies if possible.

Supply chain disruptions will have a more severe impact if products have to travel farther to reach your hotel. Consider how artificial Christmas tree suppliers could only sell 40% of their inventory in 2021 because of issues with the international supply chain. Sourcing from nearby suppliers means any delays will be less impactful.

Suppliers in other regions may face different regulatory considerations, too. That could raise prices or introduce more complications into what you can and can’t do with them. Sourcing domestically eliminates those concerns.

4. Look for One-Stop Suppliers

Another consideration for potential suppliers is the range of products they offer. While focusing on a specific product niche can be a sign of high quality, sourcing from multiple specialized suppliers usually isn’t economical.

The hospitality industry has one of the lowest profit margins of any sector. Frequent business can help make up for that, but hotel managers should do all they can to maximize these margins. Finding a wholesale supplier that can serve multiple needs simultaneously will help.

Sourcing everything from the same supplier could give you lower rates, thanks to the higher order volume. It will also keep tax and logistics considerations uncomplicated.

5. Review Options and Agreements Regularly

It’s important to continually review your options even after finding a supplier that meets your needs. Other suppliers may offer more competitive rates as the market develops, or new players in the industry may provide a better deal. The best wholesale supplier today may not be ideal tomorrow.

Review your local options at least once a year to see if anything has changed. You may want to switch suppliers or negotiate an updated deal with your current one if something has. This periodic review process will help you maintain optimal profit margins as the market shifts.

Finding a Wholesale Supplier Doesn’t Have to Be Risky

Deciding on a wholesale supplier can feel like a risk at times. However, if you follow these steps, you can be confident in your ability to find the best partner for your and your clientele’s needs. You can then stay competitive and ensure long-term success.

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a manufacturing journalist who regularly covers the industry trends. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. Subscribe to read more from Emily.