Over the past couple of months hoteliers have been battling over the disruption caused by Airbnb, bringing in an estimated revenue of $900 million in 2015. With the recent change in demographic of travelers it seems that the sharing economy has become the trendy option and millennials are attracted to the personal feel sites like Airbnb and Homeaway. However, many travelers are forgetting all that independent hotels have to offer. When creating marketing content, hotels should focus on these factors that differentiate their services from the home sharing options available.
People take their time in the planning process of a trip for a reason. They know what they want and will take the time to find the accommodation that meets their needs. This is what makes hotel booking a safe and reliable option for a traveler who doesn't want any surprises. When you book with a hotel, you have the luxury of knowing exactly what you get when you arrive; no fear of cancellation, and more importantly no fear of fraud. Reliability is an important factor in the minds of travelers and therefore site content should reflect the idea of a worry-free stay. One way to do this is to include positive guest reviews or even feature a picture of the room where your guest would stay.
Amenities & Service
When customers book with a hotel, they need to be aware that they aren’t just getting a place to sleep. Services such as housekeeping provides guaranteed cleaning and additional services to meet any guest needs. Front desk service is also available if something is not working or if your guest needs a personal wake up call . Aside from these services, there are additional facilities provided for the guest’s pleasure, such as fitness centers, pools, restaurants, and coffee shops. These however are only the basics; The JW Marriot Marquis in Miami includes an indoor golf school, a yoga studio, billiards, a bowling alley and a basketball court for its guests enjoyment. Paul Pebley, the director of marketing, talks about how it’s important for his guests to feel at home, stating “Because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to miss your yoga class” (nytimes.com). Hotel marketers should take note of this; entice your guests by offering unique amenities and services that are hard to pass up.
Hotels are often in close proximity to downtown areas or popular city attractions while 74% of Airbnb properties are outside the main hotel districts. Hotels take traveler’s convenience one step further by providing taxi and shuttle services right from the hotel to popular destinations or airports. Location also plays a large part in the price difference between the two. A study by Travel Pulse found that “hotels tend to have the edge in the South; with Austin, Texas, Nashville, New Orleans, San Diego and San Francisco all reporting cheaper average hotel rates”. (travelpulse) Appealing to the ease of transportation and the proximity to local events and attractions is important and extremely effective within the millennial segment of travelers.
A sure edge over other lodging services is the opportunity hotels create for frequent travelers through loyalty programs. What many may not realize is that loyalty programs are no longer confined to just points. For example, Hotel 1000 in Seattle offered its most frequent visitor a free massage after 25 stays and then after 60 offered a facial or spa pedicure. She comments that sometimes they even let her choose her reward, remarking “you could never get that kind of attention anywhere else” (nytimes.com). Hotels can be targeting business travelers who are able to quickly rack up points and offer loyal guests what they really want. Personalizing the guest experience results in more repeat customers.