Blog series: spring cleaning for independent hotels
#6: Get to know your competitors
In our “Spring cleaning for independent hotels” series, we’ve focused on strategies to help improve your hotel from within. Today, we want you to look beyond your “4 walls” and observe what your competitors are doing to attract guests, provide great hospitality and keep them coming back.
Travelers rely on the internet to sort through hotels every day, so to better understand why some prefer your competitors over your property, you should go through the same online experience. Start by creating a list of your closest competitors, taking into account location, room rates, hotel segment and independent vs. chain property. If you need a little help, sign up to receive our free Market Analysis Report.
From here, do a deep dive into how they’re leveraging the internet to attract guests. Take a look at their social media profiles, online travel agency (OTA) connections, direct booking websites, etc. Inspect how their online presence and digital content compares to your hotel and take note of what tactics you can implement to help draw more attention to your hotel online.
Take a road trip
After navigating your competitors’ online channels, it’s time to experience what truly makes their guests happy. With a few weeks left before the summer season, plan overnight stays at your top competitors. If you can’t get away from your hotel, have a trusted team member, spouse or friend who understands your objectives take the trips instead.
The goal is to experience the hotel as a guest, but with the keen eye of an independent hotelier. Take note of EVERYTHING about the experience. From the outdoor signage and condition of the parking lot to the speed and ease of check-in and the comfort of the guest room. During your stay, you should identify areas where your independent hotel stands above your competitors, as well as opportunities for improvement.
Plan and execute
Now that you’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge about your competitors, you have everything you need to create a plan for enhancing your independent hotel. Structure your plan by separating short-term vs. long-term fixes, online vs. on-property updates, inexpensive vs. costly upgrades and, mostly importantly, decide what changes will have the greatest impact on the guest experience. By incorporating your competitors’ best practices into what you currently do extremely well, you’ll craft a winning formula for long-term operational and financial success.