Do you run a soap making business and you want to know how to sell to hotels? If YES, here are 20 smart tips to help you sell your homemade soaps to hotels.
Soap making is a great business idea both for someone who is a stay-at-home-mum, or someone who wants to start it as a side business. Creating various forms and designs of soap can be simple and fun at the same time, and the best aspect of this is that soap making is easy to learn.
You can teach yourself through YouTube videos, you can register for a class, or you can download tutorials and read them. But while doing this, it would be in your best interest to accompany them with some videos, that is why it you should not neglect YouTube as one of your learning aids.
But after creating your fragrant and beautiful looking soaps, you are now faced with the huge task of marketing your products. Yes, if your soaps are not bought by people, you will lose. You need to look out for a very efficient way you can market your bulk soap produce in order to make profits, and one of such methods is to sell them to hotels.
Hotel establishments are a good target to market your products because of the big opportunity to earn money from the guests. If you have decided to sell your soap to hotels as your primary mode of distribution, then we are going to give you some pointers on how you can do this successfully and make profits out of it.
20 Smart Tips to Sell Homemade Soap to Hotels
Look into the intricacies of your target customers
When you intend selling your soaps to hotels, the first thing you ought to look into is the intricacies of the organisation you have in mind. The colors, scents and type of soaps you sell will attract different customers. Determine the age, income level and other demographics of your target market to refine your marketing techniques.
You should know that hotels have different guests, so you need to provide various soap mixes. You also need to find out if they prefer a particular fragrance or if they are particular about organic products. Getting all these facts right would give you a heads up in your promotion plan.
Get a proficient graphics designer
Hotels are very particular about everything including your packaging. You can’t expect to sell your products to hotels if it has very tacky packaging or poorly designed promotional materials, no one would listen to you. If you don’t want the door to get slammed at your face before you have the chance to present your great product, then you need to hire a graphic designer to work on your print items.
You’ll need stationery, business cards, a catalog and brochures. Your logo can be used on print items as well as your website and email. Give business cards and brochures to hotel managers, and mail updated catalogs periodically to get repeat business and referrals.
Test your products before trying to sell them
If you’ve been making homemade soaps for awhile already, you’ve probably gotten some positive feedback from family, friends and others who have used your soaps.
If it’s a newer endeavor, make sure you are confident of your products’ quality and marketability before you take the huge leap of selling to hotels. Give them away to relatives, friends and neighbors to get feedback. You need to constantly improve on your products before heading off to your intended market.
Set Reasonable Prices
Pricing affects the chances of your products being purchased especially if you intend selling to hotels where they already have very high overhead costs. Be reasonable with your prices, and if you can’t go any lower, you have to explain to the establishment articulately why they need to buy your items and what benefits they stand to gain when they buy your product.
Ever heard the expression a product sells itself? Unfortunately this isn’t necessarily true. You may have the perfect range of soaps that look and smell great that just don’t sell. Branding and packaging plays a major role in making your soaps look appealing to your target market.
When creating a brand, think about the values of your company and try and communicate this through your logo, wording and packaging. If you have a range of products, it is vital to keep this branding consistent throughout. Doing this will give your company more credibility.
Spread the word
Despite the fact that you want to target hotels as your primary clients, but that does not mean you should write others off. Although you may not see sales come directly as a result of keeping your blog and social media updated, the value in doing so cannot be ignored.
You are creating a following and fan base of people who are genuinely interested in your product – for free! If you target the right people with the right content, then you should start seeing a rise in traffic to your website and online stores, a higher volume of sales and increased brand awareness. If you have good web content, it would also up your chances of getting a nod with hotels.
Learn the Terms and Conditions of the Hotel
When you offer business to certain establishments like hotels, it is vital to communicate first with the owner or executives to ask permission to sell. This is a basic protocol since the owner has the right to protect the guests from abusive vendors and to ensure their safety as well.
Learn what is required and which things should not be practiced inside the establishment. Follow the rules accordingly. Sell only on the area that where you are allowed to sell like the lobby or the reception area.
Offer free samples
Free samples are a great way for you make the desired impact. You need to package little free samples of your products and offer it to the hotel manager, or any other person who is in charge of decision making in the hotel. If you want to expand your marketing gig, you can equally give them away to local businesses, along with a basket or tray that includes your business card or brochure.
Build an online presence
Put up a website, this is a must. These days, no business would take you serious if you are not online. Write about your products in blogs and articles. Learn online marketing techniques to incorporate keywords so that searchers can find you.
Advertise on sites that your prospective customers visit. By making your website rich with information, you can gain a lot of credibility.
Practice your sales skills
It can be daunting when you try to talk hotel managers into buying your soap. For this reason, you need to practice your sales skills. Remember that these people deal with professionals all day, and you may not stand a chance if your sales pitch is not up to par.
Remember to be confident in your product, be friendly and pleasant. If you are not too good with this, you may have to think about hiring someone with proven sales skills and experience to help you out.
Start with bed and breakfasts
Bed and Breakfasts’ are small establishments that are run like a hotel and usually specialize in offering personalized attention to their guests. Many Bed and Breakfast’s will prefer miniature sizes of your handmade soaps and the owners may also ask for gift baskets for special occasions, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
These businesses are easily more approachable than big hotels, and they can easily take up your products, if it is worth their while. You may also start trying out your sales pitch with these establishments.
Offer gift baskets
One way to get into the hearts of hotel managers is to come bearing gifts, and a gift basket filled with your fragrant soaps and spa products is an ideal gift. This would give them an opportunity to actually use the soaps as against making assumptions on the basis of look and smell alone.
Make your products in bulk
Hotels, even the small, boutique ones, buy their amenities in bulk. This is to reduce the unit cost of each item to the smallest amount possible.
Even an item that costs as little as say, 20 cents per piece, for example, can end up costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per year when multiplied out by the number of room changes, depending on the size of the hotel and its occupancy rate.
You would need to produce a quality product that is priced competitively compared with alternative bulk amenities. That would be difficult if you are a small producer, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Offer other products as well
Hotels tend to source all bathroom amenities from one supplier with consistent packaging, as it looks more professional than having a random mix of products. That makes it difficult to sell your soap as a bespoke product. To be able to beat this hurdle, you may have to offer other related products as well, like luxury bath bombs, for their special clients.
Find a producer or supplier already affiliated with hotels
Perhaps your best chance to supply your soaps to hotels would be to tie in with a supplier who already manufactures products for hotels. Your soap could be packaged with their existing products to give the range a consistent look.
It won’t be an easy task, as these manufacturers will have existing relationships with suppliers or will be manufacturing their own product. They will also need a supplier who can can produce products reliably in sufficient quantities to meet demand. But this is a great idea that is worth a try.
Use locally sourced ingredients
People love products made with ingredients that are plentiful in their area, so when you target certain regions with your soaps, try to use local ingredients – is the area famous for their honey? olives? etc. Incorporate those ingredients into your product line.
Your product could be one that is both used as an amenity in the rooms and also sold in their retails space. Therefore, your packaging and sizing should accommodate this strategy.
Contact hotel management and align your pitch to their ideals
You should talk to operators and learn about their brand and goals. Align your products with these goals, or offer a solution to a problem they have. Your pitch should then address their objectives and demonstrate a solution. Some independent hotel operators may be specifically interested in organic, local ingredients.
You have to find it out, then tailor your product to the needs of this hotel. If you have already crafted your soap in a way you like, then look out for hotels that love what you have and stay away from the others.
Follow their lead
Most, If not all hotels have their own branded toiletries. They will purchase all their soap, shampoo, toothbrush boxes, razor boxes, shower cap boxes, skin lotion boxes etc. from one supplier. To win a contract, it would be down to you to design and produce their packaging according to their branding guidelines.
Many high end hotels – especially resorts – have a gift shop within the property, and the above may not apply were you to sell your products in those. You need to be able to bend to the needs of the hotels if you truly want to work with them.
Work with hotel distributors
You should also consider finding distributors in regions such as Asia Pacific of the Middle East etc. who supply various products to hotels chains. This would be a good way for you to spread your soap to hotels that are not even situated in your locations. A simple search online can lead you to these distributors.
Reach out to independent hotels
If you are not able to produce a huge quantity of your product, please target your right market, independent properties/boutique hotels are the best test market. If you are able to produce a high quantity of your product, you should reach out to high-end brands.
If you want to start locally, reach out to the local hotel organization, prequalify the hotels that will be able to use your product and present gift samples for them to try it.
However you decide to sell and market your handmade soaps, it is important to make sure you have set a price for your soap that will allow you to cover your expenses while still earning a profit. Even though making handmade soap is fun and the idea of starting a soap making business can be exciting, it can also be time consuming so remember not to underestimate the value of your time when pricing your soap.