Challenges Faced by New Age Independent Hoteliers and Winning Over Them
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As soon as you walk into a lavish lobby of an upscale hotel, you are greeted by a highly trained staff in the most professional manner. After a smooth check-in by the staff, you have a wonderful and comfortable stay with good service. But do you remember the hotel once you check out? Maybe not. For an upscale hotel chain or large hospitality group, this scenario might work just fine, as far as there are no negative incidents.
But for an independent hotel, it is extremely important that the guests leave with memories of a warm experience of their staycation. Independent hotel staycations have become popular and seeing an upward trend in the Asian region, the increasing demand comes with increasing expectations and pressure. Independent hoteliers who can benefit from it the most are those who quickly adapt to these emerging guest experience expectations in the most efficient manner.
There is an obvious mismatch in the sources that are at the disposal of a big hospitality chain and an independent hospitality player. Monetary resources which help them in undertaking extensive marketing activities, staff training, infrastructure building, expansion, inventory purchases, etc. While Independent hoteliers have the herculean task of sustaining in limited budgets. Nurturing a hotel while sharing space in the crowded hospitality industry with large hospitality chains poses a huge challenge for independent hoteliers. At the same time, being agile, creative, and free of the inflexible standards of large groups and hospitality chains, independent hoteliers have a higher scope to secure a preferred spot.
Maintaining the Personal Touch – Independent hoteliers have a very different experiential relationship with their guests. Under the guidance of the hotelier, the hotel needs to stay committed to the personal touch, warm hospitality and unique experiential flavours. These factors are what set an independent hotel apart from others. It is the hotelier’s responsibility to detail out every aspect and element that the guests experience during the stay. And that it should leave a lasting impression to top the list of preferred destinations.
Stand Out in the Crowd – Indian hospitality industry is extremely cluttered and equally competitive. It is crucial for an independent hotel to build a differentiated brand image and personality. Otherwise, one can easily get lost in the crowd and become just another hotel. Thinking innovatively and creating distinctive experience packages can assist one to gain an edge over others.
Memorable Yet Affordable Experiences- Independent hotels can set them apart by offering ultimate guest experiences immersed within the local flavours and world-class modern amenities. In your quest to make their stay memorable, the price point is one thing that you should not miss on. Unique concepts that are affordable and capable of giving tough competition to the ever-changing trends are your brownie points.
Attracting the Best Talent – Understandably the most qualified talent aspire to work with renowned international and branded hotels. With the rise of boutique independent hotels, there is a huge demand for professionally sound talent. Always remember that your staff is your brand identity. Hence the task becomes tougher in a challenging environment where already there is a skill shortage. Be the storyteller to attract talented aspirants from different parts of the country. Appeal them with key elements of progression, feeling valued, good training and a great working environment.
Digital Discount War – There is a huge pressure being created by websites and apps who constantly offer discounts to attract customers. This continuous rush to get more footfalls and clients by presenting the lowest tariffs, shifts focus from the actual efficiency in services and experience. The digital discount war is diluting the experiential quotient that really matters for the guests. Strategies, manage, evaluate and refurbish your digital presence, offer the most justified price points to customers but don’t fall into the trap of giving away discounts. Create sharp filters in your digital approach.
Guest Satisfaction is of Utmost Importance – The biggest challenge for a new age independent hotelier is to create excellence every day for the guests. Juggle all the balls together with impeccable service, attentive staff, upgraded modern amenities & comforts, great F&B services and entertainment & engagement activities.
Even while dealing with all these challenges, the role of an independent hotelier brings new excitement, learning, achievement and satisfaction every day.
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