Independent hotels have seen significant growth since online travel agencies transformed the hospitality market place. Independents, for the most part, can exclusively rely on distribution channels to build up their brand, as unlike hotel chains, most independent properties do not have a large marketing budget to build up their brand in the general public’s eye.
Independents, however, are resourceful to the point that it has brought them the success of already established brands.
Origin by Demand
The uptick of large, luxurious properties not part of any particular chain wasn’t born out of anything. Independent hotels are the response to a growing demand for boutique hotels on the part of Millennial travellers.
Millennials are the most well-travelled demographic up to date and as such when they travel they want to be able to guarantee themselves the chance to have a hotel stay that is just as memorable as their destination.
The Need to be Different
In a way, independent hotels’ identity was handed to them by their most frequent visitors. Millennials invest their spending potential in guest experiences and encourage their peers to do the same, which has resulted in a reversal of roles: independent hotels now cater heavily to luxury travel, while established brand chains are investing in affordable accommodation.
Read more: Lessons in Building a Successful Hotel Brand
The public shift in attitude towards brands has meant that the brands themselves need to redesign in order to fit well into their new mould. Independent hotels have been put at the forefront of hospitality technology for no other reason than to effectively keep up with rising guest expectations without corporate backing.
Guests can be picky, that’s a given, but boutique independent properties have taken meeting guest demands to a new level. The secret is that in order to maintain the quality of the service they provide they have to automate it.
Hospitality property management systems (PMS) provide independent hotels with the same set of tools that large hotel chains use to manage their own properties. A hotel’s PMS is its core, it is the source of all operations and distribution, containing all relevant data to successfully manage the property.
These are not the old-school property management systems: installable content, linked to on-site servers. Modern PMS for hotels is cloud-based and fully integrated with a number of other hospitality solutions, allowing for a more seamless transition of data and consequent analytics.
PMS Manages Distribution for Independent Hotels
Distribution management can take up quite a bit of time and the strategy behind it will need to constantly evolve in order for rates to remain competitive, which is why an integrated distribution channel can pick up on the changes in the current property market and reflect them in its daily rate update.
If the hotel’s full inventory is listed for distribution then the channel manager will effectively register any changes made to inventory regardless of the distribution channel it came from, and update it across all others. The same goes with the reverse, late cancellations are automatically relisted, allowing the hotel to optimise its revenue potential.
By preventing overbookings, independent hospitality providers are allowing their establishments to seem more exclusive and in turn, increase their value on the hospitality market.
An Independent Hotel’s PMS Increases Upsell Potential
All hoteliers are looking for ways to increase the lifetime value of their guests, but an upsell is a fickle thing. Some Guests are averse to being approached with an offer even if it is one they will benefit from.
A hospitality solution such as a hotel self-service app would allow hoteliers to upsell their property in a more subtle and natural way. Guests initially install the app as a way to complete their early registration but are then given access to the hotel’s inventory. Everything from suites, to additional on-site services, is listed in the app and the guest can browse at their leisure.
This is a more natural way to upsell in the sense that guests feel more comfortable shopping online where they are not put on the spot with the expectation to purchase something. They can further track their spending through the same app, limiting conflict in case a purchase they do not recognise is added to their wallet.
A hotel self-service app allows guests to customise their own stay by leaving requests for the staff to receive and prepare for them upon their arrival. Independent hotels have positioned themselves as luxury accommodation precisely thanks to the use of tools such as the hotel app. They can easily accommodate requests and improve loyalty and ROI with the help of just this one tool.
PMS Improves Communication Between Hoteliers and Guests
Likely the most underrated value of a hotel’s property management system is its ability to open new channels of communication with your guests. For instance, handling your guests’ events can happen through an event management tool which allows both your event planner and your guest to keep track of how far along they are in preparations for the event, while also keeping track of the cost.
A hotel reservations system on the other hand will improve hotel customer support by allowing staff to browse your descriptive PMS inventory while trying to accommodate guest demands for a specific booking.
Such tools are of great help to staff and guests alike when a large scale event needs to be planned in the hotel. By offering the people involved intuitive and easy to use tools which smooth over communication as both sides are actively receiving the same information, independent hotels are further underlying the exclusive nature of the service they provide their guests.
While property management systems are constantly expanding to encompass an even larger range of skills independent hoteliers are not wasting any time in implementing them in order to secure their position of exclusivity before someone else beats them to it.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.