In a world where big hotel chains are continually trying to one-up each other to make more money and fill more rooms, it can feel almost impossible for smaller hotels to compete. But while the bigger chains may offer more space and amenities than the smaller hotels, boutique hotels can offer greater intimacy and charm. You have an advantage, but you may not know how to make your voice heard. If you’re ready to show your value and get ahead of the competition, check out these powerful boutique hotel marketing ideas. It’s time to take on the big dogs.
Emphasize Your Unique Experience
The main reason families go on vacation is to spend time together away from the hum-drum routine of everyday life. Although they want a safe, clean and comfortable place to stay, most only go home to their friends and family raving about the “above-and-beyond” moments that made their vacation so memorable. Big hotels sometimes have too many guests or too many hoops to jump through to make everyone feel valued and important. The experience can often feel the same no matter what big chain you go to, and it’s easy for vacationers to feel like a room number instead of a valued guest.
Smaller hotels have the upper hand in this department. With fewer rooms and guests to worry about, you can focus on personalizing the experience. When brainstorming marketing ideas, consider highlighting your guest experience—especially those areas where you do things differently than a big chain might. Maybe you offer a complimentary bottle of champagne in the room for an unsuspecting couple on their honeymoon… Or maybe you’ve had a quick-thinking staff member make last minute reservations for a birthday party. Whatever it is that creates that “wow moment” for guests is the best way to gain loyal customers. Get with your team and collect your best stories and experiences to present in your marketing materials—and start creating more.
Improve Your Review Game
The best compliment a guest can give is referring you to their friends and family. These days that’s more likely to come in the form of an online review. In this way, your guests can be your biggest marketing asset when competing with larger hotels. The more positive reviews you can get online, the more potential guests may be willing to take a chance with you. And the more positive reviews you achieve, the less a negative review will impact your reputation.
When it comes to getting reviews, however, offering a great guest experience isn’t enough. You have to be proactive if you want to outperform the big chains. Send polite requests for reviews, and consider offering incentives like a discount off another stay. A review software tool like SignPost can make this process easy for you while offering you deep insights!
Go Beyond Overnight Accommodations
You have a unique, intimate space. Why not show it off? Consider making your hotel available for small events and parties! Renting out your venue for weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, dinners and other events gives you a chance to show off your hospitality skills and your stunning location.
This boutique hotel marketing idea is all about establishing yourself as an essential part of the local community and generating buzz around your space. When guests post pictures of the events on social media and tag you in it—voila! Free advertising! Hosting an unforgettable event is sure to get your name out there, and it can be a great revenue source outside of overnight bookings.
Cozy Up To The Community
Another advantage of being a smaller hotel is that it’s easier for you to connect and partner with the local community. Immersing guests in the local culture is a great way to personalize their experience. After all, people love feeling like they’re part of a community—they literally say, “I want to hang out where the locals go”—even when they’re on vacation. Consider selling goodies from the bakery down the street at the front desk—or leave them in the room for a special surprise. Serve local craft beers at the bar, or showcase local art. As you establish yourself as a hub for local businesses, your local partners will love to spread the word about you as well. And be sure to feature your unique localized offerings in your marketing materials, too!
Blog About It
Most travelers analyze a hotel’s website before even making a reservation. Make sure your website features a great blog covering local events and attractions that guests would find interesting. Mix it up by featuring staff spotlights, restaurant reviews, and lists of ideas for a specific demographic—i.e. X Local Activities That Seniors Will Love or X Local Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free.
The key to having a successful blog is to be consistent. If you can’t keep up with it or don’t have the time or talent to keep it current, skip it. An outdated or poorly written blog can be worse than no blog at all. Big chains have blogs, but they can be general and impersonal. Use your knowledge of the area to make it personal. And if you need some ideas, try these!
Like, Comment + Share—Oh My!
By now, many hotel owners and managers are more than savvy when it comes to social media. After all, you probably use it daily for business and your personal life. You know how important it is to engage your target market with comments, videos, photos and other quality content. So instead of offering you the generic advice to “get social,” here’s a fun social media marketing idea you can try for your hotel… Create an exclusive membership group!
Major hotel chains often have membership deals and clubs. Why not create one for your hotel, too? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Try creating an exclusive Facebook group to generate buzz and excitement while creating an opportunity to treat and further engage your guests. You can make the group available to guests who have booked with you more than three times—or whatever you’d like to set as the requirement. Make the barrier entry something that’s a healthy balance between ambitious and accessible. Then, as your group grows, you can offer exclusive deals or giveaways. Bam! You’ve just created your own Gold Level Membership Club that will have guests excited to keep coming back.
All of this may sound like a lot of work. That’s because it is. But that doesn’t mean you have to get overwhelmed. There are innovative tools available to help you take your boutique hotel marketing ideas and implement them with ease—not to mention making all of your other management duties a snap.
Take Bookfull, for instance. We offer FREE vacation rental property management software with plenty of features that are great for boutique hotel managers, too. From calendar syncing and payment processing to client relationship management, marketing, reporting and more—everything is in one place. Get organized, achieve more bookings, and make more money.