3 things boutique hotels/small hotels excel at . . . and your hotel can too

Tourists enjoy downtown Vail, Co which features a mix of both boutique hotels/small hotels.

Tourists enjoy downtown Vail, Colorado, which features a mix of both large and small boutique hotels.

Since Covid, we’ve noticed a renaissance in boutique hotels/small hotels use. To say that hotel stays have changed dramatically over the past few years is an understatement. Between battling Airbnb’s and Covid, hotels have been through the wringer. Of course, all aspects of travel have been affected over the past few years, but this blog post is specifically for hotels.

We see 3 things that successful boutique/smaller hotels offer (that can easily be replicated to all hotels regardless of size btw) that set them apart and make them very desirable right now.

Hire hotel employees who have the desire to serve

When you work for a hotel, you are in the hospitality business, and you better love what you do and show it. Your job is to make sure that your guests have a wonderful stay. Full stop. For those who do the hiring, it is your job to make that mission perfectly clear. Those of us who work in hospitality are here to provide our guests with the best service we can offer.

Recently Leslie was in New York City and arrived at her hotel during a storm, right at dinner time. She asked the front desk for some recommendations of places nearby to grab dinner. She was handed a badly photocopied sheet with approximately 50 random places to eat, with only names and phone numbers. Not being familiar with the part of Manhattan the hotel was located, this list was of no use to her. Boutique hotels often curate restaurants from guests’ recommendations. Those recommendations let you know not only what the restaurant features, but also the proximity to the hotel.

And you know, the desire to serve is not just for the “front of the house” staff.  Think about your website and what it offers your potential guests. Are you giving your guests everything they could possibly need to make an informed decision about staying with you?

We have worked with smaller properties to help them enhance their online marketing to cover exactly what their guest might need. ANY hotel can take the extra steps. It just takes the desire to serve the guest.

Little hotel touches

Yes, it’s great to have plenty of USB outlets in the room and everything else that goes with updated hotel rooms. It’s the little touches, though, that help especially boutique hotels/small hotels stand out and make people want to return.

For instance, the Tivoli Lodge at Vail, Colorado has unique “Do Not Disturb” cards as you can see in the photo below.

Couple that with locally sourced food items and in-room amenities from local vendors and that’s a winning combination. Many properties do use locally sourced food items but just don’t either know it, or forget to highlight it. If you’re wondering, check with your food vendor and find out.

Do Not Disturb hanger from Tivoli Lodge at Vail, Co.

Unique Do Not Disturb door hanger from Tivoli Lodge, Vail, CO.

Sheila had a recent hotel stay at The San Luis Resort in Galveston, Texas where the staff went above and beyond to provide a great touch for guests. Most rooms have a pool view, so look what they did with their pool chairs and towels!

Super easy, not time-consuming, but certainly memorable, as you can see in the photo below.

Creative beach towel display from the San Luis Resort at Galveston, TX.

Morning beach towel display at the San Luis Resort at Galveston, TX.

If you’ve stayed at a Hampton Inn, you know that the coffee cup holders have a few different “personal” themes to them. Always cute and memorable and goes to show that no matter what size of property you are, you can do some easy things to add little touches to make a stay memorable and a guest want to return to your property.

Reviews are the “make or break” for boutique/small hotels

Never let a review go to waste. Respond to both the good and the bad ones, as reviews are where your property can really shine.

Oh for sure, good reviews are fabulous to receive, but even bad ones can allow you to show off your property in a good, solid way. But you must respond to reviews to have them work for you. We wrote a post specifically about how to respond to hotel reviews and provide tips on what to say.

The bottom line is – ENGAGE with those who take the time to write reviews.

Say thank you to those who write good ones and also say thank you to those who write bad ones. Next, address the situation that caused the poor review. Sometimes bad situations are caused by personal preference (i.e., beds and pillows are too hard or soft). By responding you can address the complaint head-on. Many travelers are checking out reviews before they book.

Be sure your reviews and review responses show off your property and let potential guests see exactly how customer-oriented you are.

Do you have examples of boutique hotels/small hotels in your area that have employees who show the true meaning of hospitality on a daily basis?

How about examples of “little touches” that can enhance a guest’s stay?

Do you know of a property that is rocking reviews?  If so, please share, and let’s give our readers tips and ideas that can be used!

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