If you read hotel industry news and blogs, you’re well aware of the evolving travel business landscape. Technology is providing travelers access to new experiences, private homeowners are creeping into the lodging business and millennials are primed to shape the future of global travel. With so much activity, you must ask yourself, “Is my independent hotel prepared to survive this wave of change in travel industry?”
Independent hoteliers should examine every facet of their operations, including leadership responsibilities, marketing and sales strategies, guest services and, most importantly, systems and technology. At the heart of every independent hotel’s operations should be a powerful hotel management system that allows operators to easily handle critical functions, such as direct bookings, global distribution, back office operations and revenue management.
If you’ve gotten by for years with a sub-par hotel management system, or without any system, and do not plan to upgrade anytime soon, we applaud your bravery. The travel industry is quickly changing, so now is the perfect time to enhance your operations with a hotel management system. Here are 3 specific reasons why:
Independent hotels have more competition than ever.
For years, independent hotels only had to worry about major chains and other independents as competitors. However, home rental services, like Airbnb and HomeAway, and new, boutique-style brands launched by major chains are crowding the marketplace and targeting the same guests as independent hotels. As social media has shown, unhappy guests will spend their dollars elsewhere after bad experiences, so the margin for error has narrowed for independent hotels. Knowing this, hoteliers must decide if the short-term savings from delaying or declining to purchase a hotel management system is worth the long-term risk linked to not proactively improving the guest experience and putting more distance between themselves and their new competitors.
Mobile technology is now a necessity for independent hotels.
During the travel process, 67% of leisure travelers and 78% of business travelers rely on their smartphones for researching, booking, documenting or sharing their travel activity. As mobile technology improves, conventional wisdom signals that more travelers will utilize their devices for travel purposes. For independent hotel operators, a hotel management system enhanced with mobile and cloud technology provides two great advantages. First, it optimizes hotel websites to fit mobile screens so booking directly is a simple and easy process for travelers. And secondly, it allows operators to manage their properties on their phones from wherever the workday takes them. We think it’s safe to say that, much sooner than later, mobile technology will be a requirement for all independent hotels.
Millennials… are independent hotels ready?
The travel industry as a whole is preparing for the maturation of the millennial generation. As millennials grow older, their spending power is expected to buoy those who’ve best identified their needs and desires. A common belief is that millennials prefer the unique, localized lodging experiences provided by independent hotels over the standardized approach of chain brands. While independents may be positioned to attract millennials, are their operations ready to service and satisfy their needs? Well, with $200 billion in annual purchasing power, we sure hope so!