When you run a mom-and-pop hotel, you have to compete with all the big name corporations and franchises. That takes a bit of ingenuity, but it isn’t impossible. In fact, many travellers prefer to stay at small independent hotels.
To get more business, first, you need to find your crowd. Typically, that refers to people who want a local, off-the-beaten path experience. To reach them, consider advertising in boutique travel magazines or websites geared toward that type of traveller.
Also, consider focusing on improving your services or offering something unique. For instance, the big franchises may be able to offer predictability around the world, but you may be able to provide an experience that’s only available in your hometown. Perhaps all your rooms have fun themes or furniture made by local artisans. Alternatively, maybe your breakfasts feature foods from local farmers or you offer free tours of your city. Extra touches like that can help to set you apart from the competition.
That said, extra-special amenities are only useful if people know about them. When travellers search for hotels in your area online, are they likely to see your location or just the big names? If your website doesn’t come up in internet searches, you may want to amp up your digital marketing efforts. You can do a bit yourself by asking customers to post positive reviews online and by writing blogs or adding site content full of keywords that travellers tend to search. But, you may also want to hire a digital marketing agency to help.
Your hotel doesn’t have to be a Ritz-Carlton, a Four Seasons, a Hilton, or any other big name to draw business. However, you need to make sure that people know about your hotel and, most importantly, that they know what sets you apart from these big names.