Big brand hotels have one major advantage over non-franchise hotels: a large marketing budget.
Hoteliers running a property with less than 100 rooms, sometimes even considerably smaller, are not going to have the budget or backing of properties with several times that room inventory or that are backed by corporate advertising.
Any hotel manager tasked with marketing a smaller property is taking on an unwinnable task if she or he tries to go toe-to-toe with these properties.
The idea here is to highlight the aspects of your property where the bigger property simply can’t compete. Smaller boutiques have an advantage when they realize that they can offer a unique, personalized experience that is often impossible to achieve in a larger chain.
Embrace the Local Roots
Never try to copy what the local Wyndham, Marriott, or Hilton is doing at their property. It doesn’t make sense to copy bigger brands. Frankly, you may not even be pulling from the same demographic of people.
Chances are, the hotel was designed years ago and while it may have some unique features, it is more than likely the standard design for a major hotel. These properties buy their supplies in bulk from major suppliers due to contract obligations, something your property likely doesn’t need to bother with.
Instead, use your neighborhood as inspiration for the design and overall feel of the hotel. Use local suppliers and showcase them in the hotel’s marketing materials and social media accounts.
Successful boutiques create a local experience the guest cannot get anywhere else in the world because they’re synonymous with the location.
Identify Your Specific Niche Market
In most cases, a smaller property is not going to be able to compete in all markets of the travel industry. Identify your niche in the market and dominate it. You may not be able to target every single type of traveler, and that’s okay.
Understand your shortcomings but also embrace the amenities and services your property can provide to specific segments of travelers. These are things you not only do well but also things you can actually do far better than the larger properties.
Tie Property to a Local Charity or Cause
Today’s travelers, more than ever before, are eco-sensitive as well as interested in helping others. This is something that can be very beneficial when it comes to marketing a smaller property. If there is a local charity you can partner up with, reach out and see how the property can help promote the charity and create in-house promotions to help raise funds for the cause.
This could be something small, such as using eco-friendly supplies. It can also be done on a larger scale by doing things like going solar or using local farmers committed to using “cage-free” environments for their animals and dedicated to using organic pesticides that will not lead to colony collapse disorder of the honey bee on their crops.
Guests can see the property is more than “business as usual” and some of the money they spend with that property is doing more than just going into the coffers of some big corporation. In essence, you want to become part of the bigger picture rather than simply being a profit center for a business owner. This is especially key in targeting younger demographics in the Gen Z and Millennial generations.
Remember, just because you are a small player does not mean you cannot compete with the bigger properties in your market. Use your property’s size to your advantage.
When running a smaller property, it is even more important you have people in place that can deliver the level of service needed to be successful in the hotel industry. JDI’s hotel recruitment services can help you find the most talented executive managers in the industry today. For more information about us, click here.