Small & mid-size hotels: how to survive using a digital strategy

Do you feel your small or mid-size hotel can’t compete with big hotel chains, franchises or 5-star accommodation services? The first thing is to know what your targeted customers are and, second, take advantage of digital tools that shouldn’t create more costs, but should definitely help you stand out from the crowd:
hotel strategy

Make your hotel feel like home.

After a long business day or an exhausting tour through a new, exciting city nobody wants to spend the night in a cold, unwelcoming room. Your customers need a sense of belonging in your facilities—how can you create it or reinforce it? Establish a connection with them in a way others, especially those busy big hotel chains, are not able to do it:
    • Send a SMS to remind them a reservation, announce an event or deal or to confirm a spa booking in your hotel;
    • Ask their permission to take them a picture and ask some questions to then publish it in your online media;
    • Send customized information every once in a while to their email accounts to promote an offer specially tailored for them (but be careful with the frequency of these messages; you can start harassing them instead of creating loyalty towards your business).

Understand what is your competition and where are you placed.

It’s possible you have been so focused on increasing your sells that you haven’t thought about your competition. What are your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities if you compare yourself with other accommodation services in your area? Take a look at their websites, online bookings, TripAdvisor’s comments and possible critics’ reviews on local newspapers and magazines. After this quick benchmark, what would you say about your business? Is it well-positioned? Does it need more online presence? What sort of comments about your company did you find when googling your hotel’s name?

Create an online brand with style.

We have told you already that being unique is one of the main assets of a hotel, especially when there are too many competitors in your area and you need to differentiate. Do the same in the online environment:

    • Think about your  “corporate colors”: while yellow are orange are ideal for entertainment or food and drink industries (because it represents energy, youth, positiveness, dynamism), purple is better for businesses that offer “mind and soul” services such as massage, yoga, aromatherapy (because it represents mystery, spirituality, sensuality), and red can be also used -in the right amount- for food and drink, entertainment and hospitality businesses (because it represents exciting, evocative, romantic, warm and fast situations).
    • Choose your typography wisely. The fonts used in your website, presentation cards and merchandising material are another element that is not usually taken into consideration; however, they can make your hotel look very amateurish or unapproachable for the customers you are precisely trying to engage. Are you using a child-like typeface for your businessmen-oriented hotel? Are your fonts too high brow for your budget accommodation services?
    • Type of content created online: You don’t need to limit your contents to the services offered by your hotel–otherwise you would run out of things to say very quickly. Instead, create entries about touristic places to visit in your area, some festival or event that can attract customers, short interviews to local hospitality entrepreneurs, “success stories” of your own passengers, even a “know our staff” section telling people about their working experience, dreams, what they love about working there, etc.
    • Language and approach used with current and potential customers: Be careful with the tone of your content. Ask your relatives, friends and some customers their opinion about the things you say online–are you patronising too much or are you using too much technical language when talking to your communities? And beware: don’t neglect your family travelers: there are more online than you think.

Are you the owner of a small or mid-size hotel? What other online techniques have you used to increase your sells and create a community related to your business?