Hotels: how to stand out from the competition

Hotels: how to stand out from the competition

Differentiating yourself from the crowd is a task that demands the full attention of any hotelier, and the responsibility has become an even greater one in the post-Covid-19 era. Patrick Landman, CEO and founder of Xotels, an international boutique and independent management company, looks at how to attract attention for all the right reasons.

Countless marketing, sales and operational tools available in the market have allowed hoteliers to gain quick returns in the past, but unfortunately, a mediocre strategy and cookie-cutter approaches are not enough anymore.
This begs the question: which decisions will truly help hotel brands differentiate themselves in the post-pandemic market?

Personalization
Not providing a personalized service in this day and age will almost certainly have a direct negative impact on performance. Generic, uninspiring stays are the antitheses of what guests are looking for.
Although personalization can mean many things, it is important to first understand two nuances: technology and the human touch. Technology — mainly in the form of a good CRM/CRS/PMS system — will play an important role in both the execution and control of rolling out personalized offerings at your hotel. Without it, the success rate is likely to suffer, as your team can only follow a certain amount of things going on at the same time.

The human touch
Providing a great guest experience is what most hoteliers highlight as their hotel’s main selling point. Unfortunately, I believe that the market still has a long way to go and there’s plenty of room for improvement. In my opinion, hotels must fully embrace personalization by accommodating guests’ preferences from the outset and throughout their stays. I like to call this the “inclusive guest experience.” This relies heavily on the skills of the team to execute it. Think of that feeling you got after the concierge told you about the little romantic restaurant that served you some of the best food you’ve had. Now that’s an experience that will last a lifetime. Focus on scaling this with the help of your staff. Empower and train your employees to offer that extra level of service. That way any guest can experience the same feeling multiple times during their stay. Many hoteliers wonder about the financial feasibility of this initiative, but thinking differently is important here. If you’re on a tight budget, you can come up with creative ways that still provide guests with something personalized.

Marketing
Marketing can certainly help hotels shine, and there are a few developments to take into consideration.

SEO
There is no question that people will continue searching regardless of any crisis, and it is up to hoteliers to funnel as much traffic as possible by having websites that are fully optimized. Search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental, so using the right keywords is something that cannot be overestimated. Staying on top of these words requires constant evaluation of which are the most valuable and profitable, luring as many viewers as possible to your website.
Don´t forget to look beyond the obvious; consider the search intent of potential customers.
You can pull in a significant amount of website traffic by blogging, where visitors are inspired to visit your hotel and its surroundings. Not only will you get them to book, but you will have also inspired them with activities and other potential drivers of ancillary revenue.
Note that if you have a few successful blog articles that attract high traffic, these will gain authority on Google and help to push up your main product pages.

Website experience
Not familiar with Google´s page experience update yet? Don’t risk your positioning.
Google is stepping things up when it comes to page experience, which is essentially a good thing since it is based on improving search experience and reducing the likelihood of you losing conversions.
Also, be sure not to forget about the mobile phone experience. This is where most hotels still have a lot to gain.
All in all, there are plenty of opportunities for hotels to stand out, and it is up to hoteliers to make the right decisions to enjoy success.

Patrick Landman,
CEO and founder of Xotels,

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