There are a number of perceived disadvantages to marketing an independently owned and operated hotel in competition with large chain hotels. The assumption is that an independent hotel should suffer from a lack of brand recognition, combined with marketing budget shortfalls compared to their competitors. However, these and other factors are part of what make independent hotels uniquely attractive to begin with. By effectively leveraging their connection to the local area and its surroundings, and showcasing aspects of their property which distinguish them as extraordinary, independent hotels can establish their market niche.
An independent hotel should make every effort to establish their expertise regarding their local area. Particularly in regards to the services and activities of importance to hotel guests such as attractions, restaurants, entertainment, and transportation. An independent hotel can provide a helpful connection to their surroundings, in the context of a travel destination, for their customers. For example, some hotels are even utilizing technology to perform these services in the form of mobile concierge assistance.
Another effective approach to building a strong connection between an independent hotel and its local area is to network with other local businesses. Working together with other nearby establishments, to offer discounts to each other’s customers is a means to building a firm relationship with the local community. Provide content regarding these arrangements on each business’ website along with links between them. Inter-business connections such as this often prove to be mutually beneficial.
Travel is an emotional experience and human emotions are constantly being engaged when people stay somewhere away from their homes. Most of their travel decisions are made based on emotions as well. How a hotel makes a person feel while staying on the property is critical to the guest’s decision-making process regarding whether they will ever return. These feelings are affected by everything from the hotel design to how well their every need is met during their stay. It is extremely important for independent hotels to gain an intimate understanding of their customers and what motivates them. For example, a hotel located in a tropical location, which attracts a large contingent of scuba diving enthusiasts, could offer specialized tour packages in cooperation with local dive shops and boats. Offerings such as this help enhance the hotel guest’s emotional experiences.
Finally it is the more personal touch which can be provided by an independent hotel that will endear their guests to the property. Independent hoteliers would be smart to invest in their staffs to find personnel of the highest level, efficient at their jobs while also being outgoing and personable. Outstanding staff members should be rewarded and featured on the hotel website and business blog as well, this will help build personal connections with guests. Independent hotels have an advantage over chains in their ability to deliver a much greater level of personalized experience for their guests. Independent hoteliers should leverage their advantage over chain hotels to the fullest extent.
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