As an independent hotel, you may feel like it’s difficult to compete with large brands. Brands heavily invest in digital marketing campaigns and loyalty programs to try and build brand loyalty with travel shoppers. However, a 2018 study by Oracle found that 70% of leisure travelers do not have a preferred hotel brand that they book with.

Independent hotels can compete with larger brands by optimizing for all five stages of booking a hotel as outlined by Advance 360.

The Dreaming Phase

The Dreaming Phase is nearly continuous, we’re always thinking about our next possible vacation destination. This is the phase of the travel journey where people are deciding where to go and is a great opportunity for your hotel to entice them to travel to your area.

Millennials make up a large, and growing, portion of the travel market and they demand personalization, rich experiences, and opportunities to explore culture.

By 2020, 320 million international trips are expected to be made by youth travelers each year, a staggering 47% increase from 217 million in 2013.

David Chapman, Director of the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation

Your website is the best place to show your story and highlight unique elements of your hotel to entice millennial visitors.

Does your hotel have great amenities like a large pool or state of the art gym? Has someone famous visited your hotel? Do you have an exclusive offer from a local attraction? Provide travel shoppers with accurate, high-quality content on a Vizlly site.

Use our extensive photo galleries and customizable pages to demonstrate what sets your hotel apart from franchises in the area. Save time and money with our SEO services, where a search engine specialist will write your website copy targeting long tail keywords that are more likely to be found via search results.

The Planning Phase

The Planning Phase starts when a travel shopper decides on a destination. The key to converting them to a confirmed guest is using your website to provide all the information that they need in order to make a well-informed decision and avoid customer confusion.

In addition to the standard information to include on your hotel website such as room types, pricing, and contact details, make sure you highlight your special offers and personalization options. Once a travel shopper has a destination in mind, it’s the unique qualities of your hotel that will convert them from a prospect to a confirmed guest.

The Booking Phase

A 2017 study by Koddi found that 65% of travel shoppers prefer to book directly. Vizlly allows travel shoppers to easily book direct with clear calls to action on every page and integration with all the leading booking engines.

Moreover, our booking solutions are modern and forward-thinking. According to a 2015 study led by Ahmet Bulent Ozturk from the University of Central Florida, mobile hotel booking technology can provide hotels with a competitive advantage, leading to repeat bookings and referrals.

An easy-to-use responsive website can improve customer relationships, brand loyalty, and conversions. Leonardo’s responsive websites allow for your hotel to display its unique images, videos, and 3D tours on any device, providing the information travel shoppers need to complete the booking.

The Experience Phase

Your website and digital marketing is what converted travel shoppers into confirmed guests. Once the customer arrives, delivering on the promises outlined on your website is what will bring guests back to your hotel.

Through monitoring customer feedback, your hotel can ensure that guests have the best hotel experience. Independent hotels have the opportunity to engage with guests on a more personal level. Your hotel should leverage this relationship by asking your guests to leave you a review. According to a 2018 survey by Bright Local, 70% of guests who have been asked to leave a review will follow through. Displaying these reviews on your website will start a positive feedback loop and increase consumer trust.

The Sharing Phase

The personable nature of your hotel also extends to your online outside of your website. Take advantage of your unique brand personality and engage users on social media. Encourage guests to share their positive experiences via your online networks and interact with them after their stay. This will help more travel shoppers find your independent website and in turn increase your direct bookings

Want to start improving your online presence as an independent hotel? Contact us.

About the Author Florence Cao

Florence is a content writer and creator at Leonardo with a background in professional writing & communications. In her free time, Florence likes to read non-fiction, dance, and bake.