The Independent Hotel Series – Part I: Using What Makes You Different
Hospitality is a highly competitive business, especially nowadays, with so many options out there, all of them being eye-catching and promising. Travelers are given a wide variety of accommodation to choose from and this might sometimes come as a challenge for hoteliers, especially for the ones managing an independent hotel.
With this in mind, we have recently released our eBook: Branding Without The Brand Name - An independent Hoteliers Guide To Building Brand Value. The eBook is structured into four in-depth chapters, all of them focused around the most important things that independent hoteliers can and should do in order to thrive off their non-branded status. Now it’s time to start a new blog series and break down those chapters into quick tips so that you get the best possible insights!
We started with a highly relevant topic: in a saturated competitive market, what makes your independent hotel different? Why should travelers choose to book your hotel instead of another one? How do you make the most of your specific traits and features and market them in the online world? These are questions that all hoteliers should ask themselves, especially when managing an independent establishment that, truth be told, cannot rely on a big name and a complex structure to back up the marketing efforts.
Your hotel’s online reputation is known to influence the booking decision
It’s a well-known fact that, apart from personal incentives, such as location and price, travelers base their booking decision on a hotel’s online reputation. Starting from word-of mouth, any business’ reputation is now omnipresent in the online world. Usually, when it comes to a hotel’s online status, you think strictly about dealing with reviews, positive and negative. However, you also need to mind that looking into what guests have to say about your hotel is the best way of acknowledging its most noticeable traits. Something that you became used to and perceive as ordinary it could be a big plus in the eyes of travelers. So the best possible advice that you can get is: before doing anything else, go through a quick Google search and see what travelers have to say about your hotel on the most relevant platforms (TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Google itself). Do your guests love the pool area? The excellent breakfast? Or is the wifi too slow? Seeing things from the traveler perspective can generate brand new ideas that you can further use in your marketing strategy.
When working in hospitality, it’s crucial to always think about the guests and to direct all of your efforts towards meeting their standards and expectations. Keep in mind that we’re talking about a two-way street, a dialogue. Without guest feedback, you wouldn’t know if your efforts lead to the desired outcome or if you’ve adopted the right approach. It’s important to always rely on your audience’s feedback, in order to improve what needs to be improved and keep the high standards where you meet them successfully.
The best way of receiving guest feedback is also the easiest one: just ask for it!
The best possible way to get feedback is also the easiest one: just ask for it. Not only post-stay, that is a concept that is slowly becoming obsolete. Being present in all the stages of the guest journey proves that you, as a hotelier, definitely care about the guest’s experience and are doing your best to make sure that they have an excellent stay. A guest survey tool, such as the one integrated into the TrustYou platform, allows you to create your own survey and customize it to your liking, in order to ask travelers those exact things that are of interest to you and your business. Using this type of survey guarantees that you allow guests to generate direct post-stay feedback, that can be kept internal or integrated on your own website, but can also be shared on Google, for example. Let’s not forget that using a guest satisfaction survey means that you only get verified reviews, avoiding fake and unauthorized reviews.
Also, direct messaging is a hot topic in the industry, given its number one benefit: when hotel representatives have the opportunity of receiving feedback while the guest is still on-site, they also have the chance of improving possible issues and boost the overall experience and satisfaction level, resulting in less negative post-stay reviews. TrustYou’s direct messaging solution allows an easy and fast two-way interaction between a hotel’s staff and its guests and it enables hotel representatives to give out valuable and useful information, in real time.
Knowing your business and your audience is the key to success and popularity
Lastly, in the quest of finding what makes your hotel unique and properly marketing those features, stop for a second and think about the largest cohort of consumers in history: millennials. They are a big part of your guests and one thing that is very well-known about them is that they were born in the globalization era, in the technological era. They might be young, but they’ve seen it all and they expect a lot. Personalized experiences, modern and automated amenities, a strong social media presence and an excellent reputation, that’s what sparks their curiosity and can drive them to book your hotel.
Keep all of the above in mind when tailoring your strategy to attract millennials to your hotel and advertising your hotel’s particularities and strongest suites. Know your business and your current reputation, be present during the entire guest journey, prioritize guest feedback and optimize all the possible means of getting it and don’t forget about social media. It’s free advertisement, after all, it’s only a few click away and it enables a high level of visibility.
- Start by identifying your current reputation and look at your hotel through the eyes of the travelers
- Constantly ask for feedback from your guests and use to adjust your future strategy
- Make use of your hotel’s strengths and market them on all of the available platforms
Don’t forget to download our free eBook to get even more insights and tips on how to make the most off your non-branded status!