by Robert Ambrozy
Even with daily rates and revenue per available room up in most business city centers, there is a certain amount of instability in the U.S. hotel marketplace. STR reported that occupancy was down in May, and corporate travel managers are increasingly more savvy about steering their travelers to preferred hotels.
Independent hoteliers face an uphill battle to market to the business travel influencers and TMCs that play an outsize role in generating corporate bookings in North America. The chain mentality still runs strong with time-challenged travel managers; With chains representing the majority of properties, it’s hard for indies to break through.
That said, there is plenty of good news for independent hoteliers when it comes to marketing to today’s business traveler. Just about every business traveler under the age of 40 has grown up with the Internet; they are exponentially more aware of the unique and different travel experiences available to them in virtually any large city. Increasingly, these travelers are seeking an alternative lodging scenario…not only for their own experience, but to share with friends, colleagues and others in their social networks.
Marketing tools for independent hotels have evolved as well when it comes to winning more business travelers. As more travelers and administrative assistants use self-booking tools to make travel plans, the inclusion of quality photos and vivid descriptions of the property helps drive bookings from this lucrative audience. Independent hoteliers can work with third parties to ensure they are included in both GDS and bookings pathways.