The rise of the small and mid-size independent hotel

A family vacation on a resort island in Maldives, a friend’s get-together in Ibiza, or even a team business trip to Singapore, travelling has always been something that everyone looks forward to. The last two decades or so have seen the global population rise, lifestyles have changed, an increase recorded in earning and spending power and youth as well have more access to funds, as they undertake part time work while studying.

More importantly, the hotel industry prospered over the years and international hotel chains established hotels like never before. According to Statista, as of January 2016, Marriott International group was on top of the list with the most number of hotel rooms, amassing 1.1 million rooms globally

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A large branded hotel has grown from the challenges that have confronted independent hotels in recent times. Without a big brand’s financial aid and scale, small hoteliers have no other option but to work harder to succeed. Moreover, independent hotels quite frequently lack an international sales force, a central reservation system or nation-wide popularity available to chain hotels, making them even more reliant on the pricey online travel agencies to drive bookings. Should you be the owner of a small hotel, and if you had thought of financing expansion or renovation for instance, you’d know exactly that pay back rates from lenders are no way close to affordable.

However, be frightened no more as traveler perception is changing. Vacationers are not quite looking for that chandelier above their dining table but would rather pay the premium for a memorable experience. Luxury is now shifting from having to being with consumers, transitioning from retaining a luxury item to experiencing luxury. Whilst travelers admired the consistency of a notable hotel chain, knowing that the next Marriott they stay at will always look like the last Marriott they stayed at, it is not quite the same now. They are looking for genuine, local experiences and want culture as part of their stay, which small, independent hotels like yours can offer.

Because of their global operations, quick changes within the hotel chain’s group are not possible and hence, small hotels now have an advantage. By integration with their local communities, independent hoteliers are able to provide these authentic experiences for their guests. There’s no complying with any other bigger brand, allowing such hotels to provide guests with the exclusive and one-of-a-kind travel experience they want.

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Wondering how you could adapt as well? Here are few ways. As Mendes Cavin (Founder & Managing Partner, Miners Hospitality) puts it across in his article on Hospitality Net, create experiences. Take the spa experience into their rooms, offering them a variety of gels and soaps. Go the extra mile and a new experience in luxury is crafted for your guests. Moreover, keep it exciting at all times. As a hotelier, keep on differentiating yourself to stay ahead of your competition – provide basic internet access at no additional charge or even offer a better deal or package, that incorporates an authentic native experience to the guest.

Additionally, innovation and tech has brought about numerous solutions to solve issues and ease daily operations, keeping the hospitality business lively at all times. Almost every other hotelier has had to give the slightest of attention to the cloud – capitalize on it. Earlier hotels had to spend piles of cash to get basic technology solution to run their business, but now with cloud there is no capex and smaller and mid-size hotels can get world class Cloud based PMS solution, this advantage levels the playing field for these properties and now they can be better connected and can better control guest experience. This business-building resource that was not anywhere close to accessible or affordable for an independent hotelier, is now obtainable with just a few clicks for set up.

Yes, to operate as an independent hotel is quite a challenge, but the future for hoteliers like yourself is bright. Embrace your individuality, it might be an awful time or the best time of the year, but for independent hotels, change is happening for the better.