For independent hotel operators, the primary goal will always be to “put heads in beds.” However, as we’ve discussed, traveler expectations are evolving and destination/experience-driven vacations are impacting how consumers plan their trips, where they stay and what activities they enjoy while away from home. As neighborhood experts, independent hoteliers are naturally positioned to serve as de facto community travel agents and tour guides who can connect their guests to the local services and attractions they seek. But the key to adding value to travel planning is to inform guests of these activities before they arrive on-property. To accomplish this, independent hotels must be willing to disrupt and enhance their current online booking process. By doing so, here’s what independent hotel operators can achieve:
Property-wide technology improvements
A common reason why independent hotels aren’t able to leverage their local insight to drive online bookings is due to the limitations of their current property management software. By upgrading their hotel’s property management software, not only are operators able to enhance their website with a booking engine that captures direct reservations, they can also improve operations across the entire property. With fully integrated property management software, operators can utilize a PMS to maximize efficiencies and streamline financial and performance data through a Revenue Manager, in addition to converting their website into a powerful, commission-free sales channel.
More direct bookings, less OTA fees
Some of our property management software clients view OTAs as the necessary evil of the hotel industry. They are great for online exposure, but their fees cut into profits – the ultimate catch-22. A great way to shift travelers from booking through OTAs to hotel websites is to provide exclusive, website-only special offers. Leveraging on-property amenities and local business partnerships, independent hoteliers can package activities, like spa treatments, dining and shopping, with rooms to encourage more guests to book directly. Independent hoteliers have long-searched-for an alternative to OTAs, so with advanced property management software and some creativity, they can provide travelers with a direct booking channel and keep more profits in their pockets.
New travel packages, new guests
By offering new travel packages, independent hotel operators can position themselves to attract new guests. The great advantage independent hotels have over their chain competitors is where they lack in brand recognition, they can more than make up for it with creativity. Independent hoteliers have the flexibility to venture outside the norm and offer packages that appeal to a broader range of guests. Whether it’s an extravagant, city-wide Halloween celebration or a flavorful farm-to-table restaurant community, there are travelers who would love to experience these events and activities in-person. By catering to a wide range of interests, independent hotels can attract new travelers who carry the potential to become long-term, loyal guests.
Change is difficult, but it’s critical for staying ahead of the competition. If innRoad can help your independent hotel disrupt its current online booking process with our could-based, fully integrated property management software, contact us online or call us at 1.855.INN.ROAD today.