Four ways independent hotels will adapt to changing consumer demand

Customer service lies at the heart of the hospitality industry, and customer expectation is changing. They continue to demand value, but they also want an experience to remember.

Independent hotel owners have the freedom to be innovative that other hotels just don’t have. Even Airbnb – that can offer all the comforts of home – lacks some of the advantages that independent hoteliers have.

By using the latest technology, independent hotel owners can create experiences that keep guests coming back for more.

The power of personalisation

Comarch’s research into retail habits has highlighted the power of offering a personalized service. While services like Airbnb have the advantage of offering a home environment, this environment is tailored to the occupant, not the guest.

Using data analytics, independent hotels can provide guests with a service tailored to their individual tastes.

Data provides insight into people’s tastes, passions and pursuits. It lets hoteliers know things like what complementary drink to offer and how to stock their mini-bar.

It’s easier to give people what they want when you know what that is.

Create loyalty schemes that inspire

Create a loyalty scheme that doesn’t restrict the guest or mimic big chains.

How would the customer prefer to earn and spend loyalty rewards? Some prefer discounted rates, while others might want a room with fixed broadband or access the latest games console.

Loyalty programme members should get the best price, not people who buy via a deal site. What’s the benefit of being a member, if you pay less on another site? Showcase these deals on your site.

Take the drudgery out of their stay

Use technology to make guests’ lives easier during their stay.

Airlines like Delta are already running facial recognition trials; hotels could use it for late night check-ins. Hilton Honors lets guests select rooms and check-in via its app.

Employees can also use text-based apps to communicate with guests instantly; some hotels are replacing room phones with tablets to facilitate this.

Become part of the sharing economy

Turn that lobby or lounge into a community space. Use it to bring the local community to the hotel and hold unique events for guests.

Independent hotels have the advantage over services like Airbnb – they are permanent community spaces and they can create a unique and memorable brand that inspires loyalty.

Natalia Kalinowska, Company Director, Comarch