For quite some time there has been the idea that the independent property has to fight an up-hill battle to compete with large chain hotels in order to stand out in the industry. The fact of the matter is, the independent property can market themselves in a completely different light than chain hotels. There are advantages and disadvantages to marketing an independent property, but at the end of the day, the strategies and internet presence for the independent property are just different than that of larger hotels.
Give Guests an Experience
One advantage of marketing for an independent property is the freedom that comes along with being disconnected from a large brand. The opportunities are endless when it comes to intertwining your property with your city and all that it stands for. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and connect with local attractions in your city.
As an independent property, you have the upper hand when it comes to giving guests a memorable experience that will last a lifetime. If you’re in an area where experiences change with the seasons, take advantage and market experiences catered to those specific seasons. Lately, guests have become more open to the idea of a small, personal experience that is gained from staying in boutique hotels. Since guests are looking for a personal experience, it is important to look at what you are really trying to showcase, and work that into your marketing plan. Knowing that this is what guests are looking for, it is time to take advantage and put your best foot forward when it comes to marketing your property.
Stick to the Plan
It is important to identify a property’s unique selling point (USP) and leverage that throughout your marketing campaign. Here are some samples of various USPs and how to use them to market your property:
- Your location – Keep your website fresh with special events, activities and attractions happening within walking/close driving distance to your property.
- Your restaurant and bar – Keep foodies at your properties by organizing regular culinary events and packages such as gourmet weekends, cooking classes with your executive chef, whisky and wine tastings, etc. Create videos of your chef sharing some cooking secrets.
- Your spa – Promote wellness and healthy living through other areas of your hotel by creating wellness packages and specials. Become a source of fun health and wellness tips for spa lovers.
- Your architecture/design/art collection – Engage local artists and musicians; invite arts and culture bloggers and writers to your property; and promote your hotel as a photography and videography venue.
- Your exemplary staff – Ask your staff to leave travel tips and other local secrets on social media and to share with guests when they can. Become a thought leader in the industry and offer training and special classes for hospitality newcomers.
Once a marketing plan is created, it is important to stick to it throughout the year. There is no sense in starting a campaign and changing it up multiple times, as the true results will not be seen if the campaign is constantly changing. Make tweaks when necessary, stick to the course as best as possible, and market the right USPs to the right travelers.
Take Pride in your Internet Presence
A good chunk of our world takes place online, which makes it crucial for the independent property to have a strong internet presence. To draw in more guests, many properties will work with SEO optimization companies to strategize ways to increase visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). This could be as simple as reviewing the sitemap for your website, or publishing fresh, engaging content that will help extend your property’s reach.
When potential customers discover your property, your website should leave them nothing short of impressed. Having a content-rich website is extremely important for getting visitors to stay on-site longer and take further action, ultimately leading to a booking. It is extremely important to keep this content up to date as more and more travelers are now bypassing third party platforms and heading back to travel brand websites to research, plan, and book their vacations.
Having a content rich website does not mean overload it with poor, unrelated content. Content published on your property’s website should be set up in such a way that appeals to the guests 4your property is aiming to attract. When guests click around your website it should give them complete information about the room, property, and extras it may offer. This will make it easy for a guest to see that your property is in fact where they would like to have their next vacation, and they will be ready to book right away.
As we’ve learned, marketing strategies for independent properties vary from that of a traditional hotel. The core of the marketing strategy has to be the experience that you’re selling, or your USP. Once you’ve established your USP, you’ll need to give it some presence on the web. By combining a USP that excites potential guests with a strong SEO strategy, it becomes simple to create a strong marketing campaign. All of this leads to the independent property not having to fight an up-hill battle to gain customer attention, and if the strategy is executed properly, potential customers will book vacations.
To look further into what your property can do to market itself in the best way, we recommend taking a look at our collection of ebooks here.