Running an independent hotel can feel like an uphill struggle – especially if you stick to the same old methods you’ve always used and ignore the need to innovate.
But rather than let the big chains walk all over you, it makes sense to stop procrastinating and take action.
Here are five things you can do today to level the playing field in this competitive market.
1. Implement price-matching offers
With comparison sites making such an impact on the industry, ignoring the likelihood of being undercut by the big chains is not wise.
You don’t necessarily need to make all of your rooms cheaper than your rivals on your PMS, but it’s advisable to make sure your rates are at least in tune with customer expectations.
Matching prices with the big chain competition can lure in bargain hunters while still ensuring that your hotel has that unique, boutique, exclusive feel that you’ve worked so hard to foster.
2. Create a loyalty scheme
Getting guests to return after their initial stay is tricky, but if you offer an incentive, they’re much more likely to re-book.
Many of the major hotel operators have loyalty schemes designed to do just that, but there’s no reason you can’t recreate this on a smaller scale for your own property.
You could even factor in discounts for guests who recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues to spread the benefits even further.
3. Improve your website
There’s no excuse for having a sub-standard website that looks unprofessional when compared with those of mainstream rivals.
Makes sure your website is optimised for search engines, easy-to-use on mobile devices and targeted to win bookings in as few clicks as possible to get the best results.
Make your online hotel booking systems front and centre on every page; it’s what potential bookers will be looking for!
4. Get on top of social media
Running your social media accounts doesn’t need to take up too much of your time, and you shouldn’t neglect them if you can help it.
The potential benefits are too good to pass up, and all the top hotel chains are already maximising their impact on these sites, so you should too.
Also remember that you can use social media proactively, both to request reviews from previous guests and to promote your latest offers to people who have stayed with you in the past.
5. Create a mobile app
Smartphones are ubiquitous today and you can assume that most guests who stay with you will have an iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) device at their disposal.
Because of this, creating an interactive mobile app is a sensible and exciting idea, and will allow you to impress visitors with what they can do from their smartphone during their stay.
From checking in and out to placing an order for room service without needing to make a call, a hotel app can be flexible enough to offer a wide range of convenient functions, thus creating a memorable guest experience.
If you don’t want the big chains to win the tech war, this is a great investment to make.
What do you think?
What have we missed? If you’re a successful independent hotelier, tell us what has worked for you in the comments section below (don’t worry – you can remain anonymous).
InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.
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