Independent and boutique hotels are, by their very nature, different from their chain competitors. But what are the specific characteristics owners should focus on in their messaging and marketing?
1. They can offer outstanding personalised hotel service
Quality of service is paramount to business success in any industry, but particularly for hotels - a perpetual client-facing industry. Boutique hotels can really focus on providing an outstanding, memorable service experience unhindered by the protocols and rigid systems of the chains.
Service that goes the extra mile is increasingly rare, which offers independents another opportunity to stand out. The guest experience in an independent or boutique hotel can be truly tailored and personalized.
2. Boutique and independent hotels are unique
If you visit a national or multinational chain hotel, you probably agree that they tend to lack a certain individuality found in independent hotels, right? Independent hotels that are run well offer a unique experience for guests.
Perhaps it is their history - with some hotels decades or even centuries old - or maybe it’s the decor, or the fact that it is family-run - it can be any of a number of points to help make the hotel stand apart - a selling proposition that the hotel is able to use to market themselves with a unique pedigree.
The chain hotel in comparison offers a predictable stay - the same experience you’ve probably had before, give or take on minor details, and probably will again.
There will always be a clientele cohort that seeks out local hotels over global chains.
3. They have greater creative freedom
Of course there are the chains and international franchises that offer an exceptional hotel experience, but again, they tend to be standardised across the board, with little room to be creative. Independent and boutique hotels can let their imaginations run wild with decor, furniture, food, events and anything else - and this creative freedom can be exploited via marketing.
This allows the independent hotel to strengthen their identity and reputation, and offer a special, distinctive, memorable hotel experience for the guest.
As travellers and tourists look for local, idiosyncratic experiences in today’s globalised world where high streets are nearly identical whether you’re in London, New York, Paris or Barcelona, the independent hotelier can seek to take advantage of their freedom to get creative.
Having a distinct hotel with a personalized on-property experience is a sure-fire way to get guest to talk about their stay, kickstarting your social media influencer marketing campaigns.
4. They are much more agile than their chain counterparts
Chain hotel management is typically layered in a hierarchy. They are often international or even intercontinental in scope. It can take a long time for any type of process involving proposals, decisions and execution to be completed.
Independent hotels, on the other hand, are typically managed on-site by a small group. These hotels can make quick strategic and tactical decisions and follow through similarly on execution. This is a massive advantage that independent hotels have over franchise or chain competition.
5. They can focus all resources, energy and attention on one hotel
As mentioned, chains and franchise hotels are layered, with centralised control often in a different city or country. Sure, each branch has a general manager, but they do not have near the same amount of autonomy when it comes to operational decisions that their independent hotel counterparts enjoy.
Chains may not be able to devote as much attention and resources to individual hotels as is often necessary.
However, boutiques and independent hoteliers are able to spend all their time and resources to invest exclusively on their hotel. Their knowledge of their business is more intimate, as well as their awareness of the local market.
Moreover, independents tend to absorb low booking periods with greater ease, without the pressure and targets to hit that typically come with chain hotels.
The final word - essential features of boutique and independent hotels
These top five characteristics of independent hotels show some of the most noteworthy advantages that they can enjoy over chains. This is of course if they are run well, if management proactively aims to leverage such opportunity for unique selling propositions, and if they continue to invest time and resources towards a continued commitment to excellence.