February 20, 2020 · Stuart Butler

Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 134 – How Can Small Hotels Compete Today?

Today’s small hotelier has more to deal with than ever before.  OTAs are a must… but eat into the ever-shrinking margin. The flags are getting more aggressive in creating a unique experience. The technology is getting more complicated.  However the future is not bleak for the smaller innkeeper who is managing a property under 100 units, be it a hotel, B&B, campground, or quaint retreat.
In this episode, we share five things that every hotelier can do right now to complete against the 800lb gorillas of the hospitality world.
You can also enjoy the full article at fueltravel.com/blog/5-things-every-small-hotelier-needs-to-be-doing-to-compete-today/.

Come see us at:
San Antonio, TX
Mar 2-4

#1: Embrace The Cloud-based PMS

The very first thing you need to know as a small hotelier is you can’t, and I repeat, you can’t manage any size property with a paper guest book, Excel file, or crappy old PMS.  Everything you do revolves around your inventory and as a result, you have to invest in a property management system that can set you up for success. Sure, a PMS won’t directly make you successful but you can be sure it can destroy you. What do you need to look for in a PMS for a small hotel?

  • Mobile Usability
  • Easy Rate Management
  • Channel Management Solutions
  • Easy Accounting Integrations
  • An Amazing Booking Engine


#2: Own Your Social Voice

At Fuel, we talk about the importance of “owning your owned media.” That means taking proactive control of, and engaging your customers directly whenever possible.   Email is a critical part of that, which we will cover a bit farther down, however, your social channels also fall into owned media. Engaging your social fans and followers is an excellent way to expand your reach, build a relationship, and drive direct bookings.

  • Choose Your Platforms
  • Be Authentic
  • Consistency is Key

We have created tons of helpful tools and tips for properties large and small.  Learn why social media is important to your hotel’s marketing here, as well as listen to episode 13 of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast here.  If you’re not sure what to post or share, we’ve got you taken care of as well with our article on 80 social media posts ideas for hotels.

#3: Get Direct With Your Guest Relationship Through Email

Email is not the sexy new marketing tool, but it is the single most effective tool in the small hotelier’s toolbox.  Not only is it incredibly cost-effective, it is also one of the only ways to proactively get your message in front of your past and potential guests.
Don’t have an email strategy in place yet, you can start by listening to episode 109 of the podcast, Hotel 101: Sending An Amazing Marketing Email. If you do have your email platform setup, make sure you’re following these tips:

  • Personalize, personalize, personalize
  • Show your personality & be authentic
  • Always offer value
  • Always give your subscribers a chance to book
  • Emails are consumed on mobile devices, are yours?


#4: Maximize Your Free Exposure

Building your small hotel’s brand and exposure can get pretty expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are plenty of free tools your property can use to drive awareness and bookings. Each market is unique, and we suggest you find the free tools in your market, but these opportunities are sure to help you drive more guests for no out-of-pocket investment.

  • Optimize your business listings
  • Stay engaged locally
  • Maximize your social reach


#5: Pay Attention To The Competition

Small hotels have the disadvantage of not having big testing budgets and large staffs.  That means you need to use your competition where it makes sense to grow your business.

  • Understand the competition’s rate strategies, and make yours better
  • Look at what the OTA and Flags are doing, and emulate
  • Take a trip, and see what others are doing well
  • Don’t follow blindly, but adapt what makes sense to your plans.


In The Newsaroos:     

Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @_travelboom or info@travelboommarketing.com.

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