Whether you are part of non-hotel managers who have been working with passion for years to offer tourists an alternative to hotels, whether you’ve just recently decided to invest in the non-hotel sector, these 5 tips will help you make sure you’re doing well or to change your business.
The war that for years the hotels have been fighting against Booking.com and the other OTAs active on the travel and hospitality market, gives us 5 precious lessons that you should not ignore either.
1. Invest in technology
While hotels were content to fill rooms by selling at ever lower prices, until they realized that this business strategy was not sustainable in the long run, the Online Travel Agencies invested in the Internet and technology to learn more about tourists, understand how to involve them and attract them to their sites.
You too should trust and rely on technology for non-hotel facilities, from channel managers to digital concierges. Analysis tools allow you to get to know your customers better and therefore offer them a better stay experience. The automation tools, on the other hand, allow you to save work time, because they make part of the daily tasks of every hotel manager, even the most boring ones, for you! The marketing ones optimize the promotional campaigns giving your property more visibility and generating more contacts.
Certainly investing in technology in the non-hotel sector is more complex than in the hotel sector. Both because the extra-receptive pay the price of having arrived later and therefore it is often forced to settle for technological tools born for hotels, despite different needs and criticalities. Both because non-hotel managers often have less budget to invest.
However, there are always exceptions. For example, Edgar, our digital concierge, is specifically designed for non-hotel facilities and small hotels. In fact, even its cost is proportional to the number of rooms or apartments managed, starting from 5 euros per month.
How technological are you? Take our test to find out your digitization level: What kind of extra-hotel property manager are you?
2. Collect as much data as possible
We live in the information age. Customer data is the real treasure of every company. The OTAs immediately understood this. Much later hotels. That if they had invested in collecting data on guests even analogously, at the reception and at the time of check-in, they would now have unique information about their customers, to be appreciated by Booking.
That’s why you need to store as much data as possible on your guests, always respecting privacy, using every technological tool you use. Through the insights available on Edgar, learn how your guests use your app. Furthermore, you no longer have to worry about GDPR, because your customers give consent to data processing as soon as they access the personalized app of your extra-receptive property. In addition, Edgar retains the consent details, so that you are perfectly in compliance with the new European privacy regulation.
3. Transform the property into a brand
Some international research on short-term rentals shows that for tourists there is not much difference between a hotel and a non-hotel accommodation business. And that, without prejudice to price as a determining factor of choice, the final decision depends on several variables, even very subjective ones.
Therefore, competition in the hospitality sector is truly enormous. Because as a non-hotel manager, not only will you have to compete with other property managers, b&bs, holiday homes, room rentals. But also with small hotels and even hotel chains. The only way to survive in the hospitality industry is:
- attracting a niche of customers rather than trying to get bookings from each target and then collecting only crumbs
- give the managed lodgings a defined identity that distinguishes them from the pile
- create a unique proposal
To understand how to do it, also read: How to use brand identity to get more bookings.
In this context, online reviews still play an important role. TripAdvisor seems to have lost its importance. But on the other hand it increases the weight of reviews on Google. For non-hotel managers, urging customers to write a review is more difficult than for hotel managers, despite the excellent service offered. In fact, the check-out at the reception is an excellent opportunity to ask for a review. While extra-receptive professionals often rely on third parties for key collection or even use smart access systems. And they do very well because they are very popular with tourists and simplify their work!
What should Airbnb hosts and non-hotel managers do then? They can use push notifications for smartphones or emails to remind the customer to leave a review. Thanks to Edgar you can automate the sending and solicit the guest to write a review on the site you prefer, without being intrusive!
4. Offer customized services
The Online Travel Agencies have invested time and money to find an effective method to be chosen by tourists, and they never cease to innovate. On their sites up until a few years ago, travelers could only compare hotels and read reviews. Today OTAs offer a personalized travel experience. Airbnb has long launched Airbnb Experiences and other market players have imitated it with similar strategies.
Even non-hotel managers must personalize the guests’ stay. When possible they must sell their services directly, otherwise use external providers. The fundamental condition is that the proposals are really tailored. The customer nowadays appreciates the hosts that suggest useful services such as airport transfers and give advice from real locals, such as experiences to do at the destination.
Furthermore, the customization of services is an opportunity to up-sell and increase earnings. In fact, even if you can’t sell services directly, if you use Edgar you can still earn a commission for every purchase in the app. Through Edgar, you create a personalized app for each managed non-hotel accommodation business. Your guests will see all available services and travel experiences on the app, which can be purchased directly from smartphones.
5. Don’t stop
Unfortunately you have no alternative. You must never stop innovating. Now the non-hotel sector is experiencing a phase of growth, but braking is inevitable.
You can do as many hotels, which for years have only considered themselves victims of OTAs (the issue is controversial for discussion in this article). But all too often they have been watching without doing anything to adapt to changes in the way global tourists travel.
Or you can study its customer data, customize their stay, update on the latest trends in the travel & hospitality market. But above all invest in technology. Be careful how you share the budget at your disposal, in order to focus on technological tools, marketing initiatives, distribution channels that guarantee you the best result compared to the investment made.
To not forget these 5 tips for non-hotel managers and be successful in the sector, download and print the infographic.