Monday, September 22, 2014

Technology For Independent Hotels

Independent hotels seemingly suffer from a distinct disadvantage in competing with the chains in their market, however many are not. Some are actually thriving and out-performing their equivalent chain competitors. A great equalizer for independent hotels is the exciting new technologies many have adopted in recent years. These new technologies have transformed the independent hotels that utilize them, providing a completely new business environment.



Smartly designed hotel websites have become a virtual window through which the worldwide public at large can find and see independent hotels. To be most effective, a hotel website must be both visually appealing and easy to use. The site must duplicate the user experience across the myriad of devices available to potential guests. This is best accomplished through responsive web design, which can detect and then conform itself to whatever device or browser the user chooses.

Images and website copy must inspire a positive emotional response from users, hopefully leading them to booking their stay on the site.


Internet Booking Engine

Any independent hotel website must have an Internet Booking Engine (IBE) to be successful. The IBE should be as simple and clear as possible to avoid users becoming confused and leaving the site. An independent hotel should not go through the effort and expense of creating a website, only to have users end up booking their stay at the hotel on some other platform. On a smaller scale, at least one member of the staff should be tasked with keeping inventory, rates, and any special offers and promotions accurate and up to date. A potential guest should be able to easily book a room and modify or cancel a reservation from the hotel’s IBE. Offering customers a way to book directly is crucial for independent hotels trying to compete with chains.



With the explosion of mobile smartphone used by the traveling public, it almost goes without saying that customers should be able to view and book their hotel stays from their mobile devices. The user experience should be every bit as seamless for customers on a smartphone or tablet as it is on a desktop computer. But some hotels are utilizing mobile technology to take their guest’s experience to new heights. Mobile apps give hotels the opportunity to interact with their guests and offer services directly through their devices. Mobile concierge service can provide a convenient means for hotel guests to plan their activities during their stay. Other mobile services include making dinner reservations, ordering room service, and in-room entertainment such as movies.

If properly implemented, technology can clearly level the playing field between independent hotels and their chain competitors. It is imperative for hotel owner-operators to step up and adopt these technological innovations, or risk being left behind by the traveling public’s new level of expectation.

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