Not your mother’s hotel: 3 reasons why chain brands cannot match the independent hotel experience

independent-hotels-better-than-chainsMother’s Day is just around the corner and it’s such a wonderful day to show appreciation for the women who’ve nurtured and guided us. Though we love and trust our moms, their choice in hotels may not provide the exciting lodging experience we desire. In their motherly way, it’s no surprise when they opt for the no frills chain hotels where the experience is pretty much the same from location to location. In most cases, mom can do no wrong, but when it comes to selecting a hotel, we’re going to politely disagree with her choice. “Sorry, mom!”

While the “motherly approach” may appeal to some, many travelers, especially millennials, want to stay in an independent hotels that provide them with fresh and unique travel experiences. The popularity of independent hotels is exploding globally and the major hotel brands are fully aware. Some hotel chains have launched smaller “boutique” brands in an effort to mimic their independent competitors. However, no matter the effort and dollars invested, chains simply cannot recreate the experiences that independent hotels craft, cultivate and naturally deliver to their guests every day.

Let’s look at 3 reasons why chain brands cannot match the independent hotel experience:

  1. Independent hotels focus on guests, not shareholders

    As noted in recent hotel industry news, some of the major brands are shaking up their management teams, reworking growth strategies and exploring various ways to unlock shareholder value. In the same articles, usually buried near the bottom, there is a brief mention about how this activity will also improve the guest experience… talk about an afterthought.

    Independent hotels focus on creating memorable experiences for their guests, not value for shareholders. Travelers want great service and warm hospitality in exchange for their hard-earned dollars, so seeing their interests barely mentioned in news articles just further supports their decisions to book with independent hotels. Independent hoteliers know long-term success rests with their guests, so delivering great experiences will always remain their top priority.

  2. Experiences are truly unique, not cookie cutter

    When travelers plan vacations to new destinations, it’s because they want new, unique experiences. Naturally, independent hotels specialize in delivering one-of-a-kind experiences to their guests. As independents, operators aren’t bound to the guidelines hotel chains use to standardize the guest experience from location to location. Independent hoteliers have the flexibility to enhance the guest experience so travelers get the most out of their stay. From hosting events with local restaurants and retailers to creating special travel packages, independent hotels can create and deliver experiences that ensure their guests will return home completely satisfied.

  3. Independents don’t have to “Ask corporate” to make decisions

    Every so often, operators receive requests that go a little (or a lot) beyond the normal scope of hotel operations. Guests know their requests may be denied, but they do not want to hear that the manger has to “ask corporate” to make the final decision. With smaller and leaner operations teams, independent hotels are able to avoid navigating multiple layers of management to provide answers. And, as noted above, with the flexibility to tailor guest experiences, some independents may surprise a few guests by saying “Yes!” to requests that chain hotels would never be able to honor.

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