In a travel industry that is constantly undergoing some sort of change or improvement, it is important for companies to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. There was a time when having a common brand flag was a necessity to keep your reservation books full. Now, it is the independent and boutique hotels that are in their best position in years.
Search engines and third-part distribution partners are leveling the sales-and-marketing playing field. Independent hotels now have the tools to get just as much exposure and recognition as brands, while targeting the right mix of customers.
The up-and-coming generation of travelers – those traveling today, not years from now – are far more brand agnostic than former generations according to a study by travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt. His study showed that even consumers considered “elite” loyalty members will not remain blindly loyal, and often times these guests will choose a hotel based on the promotions as opposed to loyalty.
Protean Strategies also conducted a recent study showing that hotel brands are not making it clear enough to consumers what segment they are playing in and what kind of experience guests should expect for that price point.
So, what can individuals brands do differently to stand out amongst an increasingly crowded landscape?
To capture most travelers’ attention, just be at the top of the list when they do a Google search for “hotels in the Poconos”, have a comparative price and good guest reviews. Today’s consumers simply don’t care about the “feel good factor”.
Brands should focus more resources toward optimizing those technological necessities and further assist property managers in key areas including online reputation management, search engine marketing and dynamic pricing. Do not waste your time commissioning studies that reveal mind blowing facts like contemporary travelers are looking for WiFi internet access in their hotel rooms.