By Barak Hirschowitz on July 13, 2015 at 8:30 AM
In recent years, the topic of "Independent Hotels vs Brand Hotels" has become more and more popular. It's now being discussed in every industry conference. Read more to learn about a few quick tips for independent hoteliers when competing with larger chains.
What are the current trends for Independent hotels?
The biggest trend affecting the hotel industry is the transparency that comes with online bookings and reviews. Over 95% of hotel guests today use online reviews in their booking decisions according to the latest TrustYou/NYU Tish study.
A hotel that delivers great experience can compete in its price category/location regardless of how big its competitors marketing budget is. This changes a lot. Guests in the past relied on brands for consistency and confidence in their hotel selection. Today they can read the reviews and have a good idea of what to expect. This is good for the industry, it puts great service ahead of marketing again.
Wellness is also another key trend. We are not just talking about the spa, but about an overall experience. Travelers want to leave a hotel feeling as good if not better than when they arrived. The key areas of wellness in a hotel are eating, fitness, sleeping and rejuvenation. In the past, it was just the spa (rejuvenation). That’s why wellness plays a big part at the ILHA Fast Forward Leadership Conference next September in Orlando.
What strategies can independent hoteliers implement to compete with larger chains?
To succeed today hotels should strive to have the best service rating in their price category/location. They should take advantage of Software as a Service (SAAS) to leverage the enterprise level tech solutions that were previously only available to big groups.
Using social media?
Social media used well can enhance the guest experience and is a great marketing tool, but it can also be damaging if not used carefully. I recommend not doing it at all without having a proper plan in place to create consistency in social media communication. There are quite a few providers today that offer innovative solutions to managing social media.
Leveraging connectivity and services?
Affordable and accessible broadband has made enterprise level solutions available as SAAS. Even the big groups now are outsourcing much of their technology systems. Independents can do the same which will free them up to focus on the guest. High tech is good but needs to balance with high touch. For us, guest experience and feedback comes first. It’s why we launched the North American Guest Experience Awards which are based solely on the aggregate review scores of the guests across over 100 sites.
About the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA)
The International Luxury Hotel Association or ILHA is a wordlwide non-profit association aiming at promoting, unifying and advancing the luxury hotel industry.
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