Blog series: “Spring Cleaning” for independent hotels
#3 Strengthening your customer relationships
Almost daily there’s a new story about hotels being bought and sold, chains merging and new brands launching. It’s a lot for industry insiders to keep tabs on, so imagine how this non-stop activity appears to travelers watching from the outside. Guests, particularly loyal, repeat guests, expect great experiences regardless of owns or operates a hotel, so while the industry continues to reshape itself, hoteliers must be careful to not neglect their needs.
With this flurry of activity, now is a great time for independent hotels to remind guests that they are and will always be their top priority. In part 3 of our “Spring Cleaning” for independent hotel series, we’ll share a few tips for strengthening your relationships with past guests, as well as connecting with new travelers who are looking for their next great independent hotel experience.
Determine your target audience
A major driver behind the shifts within the hotel industry is the desire to better target specific audiences. That’s why chains are launching brands styled after independent hotels and creating “lifestyle” concepts that provide tailored experiences. When marketing to travelers, independent hoteliers should think carefully about the experiences they are able to deliver and the type of guests they wish to attract. Travelers are becoming more sophisticated in terms of their likes and dislikes, so independent hotels need to decide which type of traveler, such as baby boomers, millennials or families, will best appreciate what they have to offer.
Craft your message
After pinpointing who you want to target, you then must deliver a message that aligns with their interests. For example:
- When targeting families, highlight your free breakfast program and discounts to local attractions.
- If you’re located in an entertainment/nightlife district that draws a younger crowd, mention your free Uber ride offer and weekend pool parties.
- In speaking to past guests, offer them a discount on their next stay or other special offer as a reward for their loyalty.
Whatever services and amenities your independent hotel offers to enhance the guest experience, this is the perfect time to let past and potential guests know.
Distribute your message
You have your audience, you know what to say, so now it’s time to get your message out. Email and direct mail are great channels for communicating with past guests who are familiar with your hotel and will likely be receptive to new news you have to share. Targeted paid search and social media ads will help get your message in front of an audience that is interested in travel and may be coming to your area soon. Social media provides a platform for engaging interested travelers with great content, like photos and videos. Narrowing down the best method of communication will likely take some work, but the payoff of developing stronger relationships with your guests will be well worth it.