Independent hotels have built their business on warmly welcoming new arrivals, but when the arrival is a new big-brand hotel, that welcome may not be as warm. But independent hotels shouldn’t worry that big chains will take their business, as long as they have solid hotel marketing strategies for maintaining their market share. To help independent hotels keep guests reserving and returning, HotelNewsNow.com offered these trusted tactics.
1. Know Your New Neighbors
First, independent hotels need to assess the situation because their strategies will depend on the business of the big brand. Big brands may have the advantage of solid loyalty programs, while independent brands offer the benefit of a unique experience. Once you know the nature of the new brand, distinguish your independent hotel by playing on its differences, such as offering special packages exclusive to your property or partnering with local businesses to give guests preferred treatment.
2. Understand Your Brand
It’s just as important to know what makes your property special and make the most of it in your hotel marketing. If there are no defining differences, create some fast or you’ll find yourself lost behind the leaders. While you may think that big brands have a big advantage, being part of a large chain can make it hard to compete with an independent because their cookie-cutter standards can’t stand up to your unique experience.
3. Keep Your Current Customers
As new competitors literally arrive on your turf, they’re bound to try to take your business. That’s why customer retention should be your first priority to ensure that your loyal guests don’t give those new hotels a second glance. Earn points with points addicts by offering a loyalty program or develop exciting new experiences that exceed guests’ expectations.
4. Resist Reducing Rates
Experts agree that independent hotel brands should avoid slashing room rates when competitors arrive on the scene. Rather than think of them as threats, consider them new opportunities to introduce your brand to their clientele. Once you know what a competitor offers, you can turn their weaknesses into your strengths. For instance, if a rival adds on individual fees, your brand can offer more inclusive rates that deliver more value to customers. So instead of decreasing rates, your hotel can increase the value it gives to guests, which can turn your location into the more desirable destination.
5. Maximize Your Hotel Marketing
Since the Web is the first destination for travelers today, independent hotels must make sure that their websites are optimized to rank highly on search engines and be viewed on digital devices. Rather than update an out-of-date website, create a brand-new website that’s filled with important and interesting content and update this content continually. Then, to further boost your hotel marketing results, secure a strong online standing by offering stellar service that generates positive online reviews.
“That is the lifeblood of independent hotels competing next to chained flag competitors,” said Larry Spelts, VP of business development at Charlestowne Hotels. “Most travelers will look at reviews. If you have better reviews, you should win the day.”
6. Cater to Your Staff
Along with retaining customers, you need to maintain your staff, who may perceive a new hotel as a new career opportunity. Realize that a strong staff is a hotel’s best amenity because they directly affect a guest’s impression and determine their return. That’s why independent hotels that pride themselves on service must keep their best people from being wooed away. To make employees stay, try offering special incentives that satisfy their personal needs, such as giving them higher pay rates or offering more time off.
7. Give Good Service to Serve Your Brand Well
While there will be always be competition, an independent hotel’s best defense is providing the best service. By giving guests personalized service and doing more to make the most of their stay, your hotel brand will build a reputation that leads to many returns.
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MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top hotel marketing companies and branding firms. MDG’s core capabilities include advertising, branding, logo design, creative, infographic development, digital marketing, creative media planning and buying, radio and TV advertising, website design and development, email marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and SEO. To keep up with the latest trends in hotel marketing and advertising, contact MDG Advertising.