Blaming the big chain competition for your poor occupancy last quarter isn’t good enough… sorry.
If that sounds harsh, consider this blog post a much-needed shot in the arm for your business, because, clearly, if you’re constantly lamenting the presence of a big chain, you’re avoiding tackling other problems that might be inherent within your operation.
We’ve all been there; businesses are hard things to run, no matter which industry they reside in. But the most successful independent hotels are those who regularly take a critical look at their strategy and make changes where required.
You can beat hotel chains as an independent hotelier. Here’s how:
Price-match… or beat them on value
This isn’t about making your rooms as cheap as the chains who bank on drawing in significant numbers of guests with rock-bottom pricing. It’s about keeping your rate strategy in tune with customer expectation.
Providing you have modern hospitality software with decent rate tools integrated, you can avoid being undercut by the chain competition.
Make no mistake; they will absolutely try and undercut you. When that happens, you have two options:
- Price-match them, if you can still make an acceptable profit on the booking; or…
- Beat them on value, by justifying your increased price with a far better stay experience (a hearty breakfast, free spa access or automatic entry into your loyalty programme are great examples).
Don’t discount (if you’ll excuse the pun) the first option, though. If you price match with the chains, you might just lure in bargain hunters who are keen for a boutique hotel stay at a reasonable price. Because, as we know, they’ll almost certainly continue to shop around once they’ve found a chain hotel at the right price.
Spend time on your website
The above is actually two tasks:
- Spend some time on your website with your guest hat on; how does it feel when you’re suddenly considering booking a room at your establishment? What barriers are there to making a direct booking?
- Results from the above task in hand, spend some time improving your website – even if you need to spend money on it.
Make sure your online booking system is clearly accessible on every page. This is what potential direct bookers who have already scoured the chain competition will be looking for.
Lastly, don’t forget to use the website on both a laptop and smartphone; does it translate well on both devices?
Give loyalty a chance
A loyalty scheme might feel like something that’s only of use to big brands, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Savvy independent hoteliers jumped on the loyalty programme bandwagon long ago and they haven’t looked back since.
If you offer incentives to stay at your property, people are far more likely to rebook – this is why the chains offer loyalty schemes.
Members of your loyalty scheme are also likely to spread the good word about your hotel between their friends and family, turning them into a virtual marketing department you don’t have to pay or provide annual leave for!
The above ideas only skim the surface and need to be tackled consistently if you’re to steal a march on the chain competition.
You can do it – don’t let thoughts about the big boys cloud your ability to run the best independent hotel possible.
CMS Hospitality holds over 30 years of experience in delivering hospitality software solutions. GuestCentrix offers the most complete solution in hospitality software, whether you’re running a hotel, a resort or a hostel. Our highly experienced support and installations team holds a unique understanding of the hospitality industry and will aim to provide software that suits your property’s needs.
Call us today at (+61) 2 9440 9711, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to guide you to the GuestCentrix solution that’s right for you.