By Kacey Bradley

People at the head of hospitality management know that work never seems to slow down. There are always things happening during the day to day activities, plus events to plan for and business decisions to be made.

No one can do everything at one time, which is why sometimes management may forget to watch the market. Keeping an eye on the market is crucial. It dictates how a hotel is doing, who their guests are and how they should market themselves.

In order to place your independent hotel in a more advantageous position, try these four useful positioning strategies. They’ll help your business compete with other hotels and be the first choice for guests.

1. Meet Your Guests’ Needs

Hospitality is all about the people who are served by the business. If their voices aren’t being heard, they won’t respond well to their stay and opt to go elsewhere in the future.

Meeting your guests’ needs results directly to brand loyalty, which is much harder for independent hotels to get. When guests book with a chain brand, they know there’s a standard they can expect during their stay. They take a potential gamble on quality by branching out to an independent hotel.

Fulfill your guests’ needs, build that brand loyalty and the hotel will receive positive reviews online. That turns into an increased number of future guests, which puts any independent hotel on track for future success.

2. Send Feedback Surveys

Another aspect of listening to what guests say is asking them what they thought of their experience. An easy way to do this is to create and send feedback surveys automatically after guests check out. Ask questions about how the staff treated them, what the quality of their room was like and if they’d want anything done differently during a future stay.

Surveys are only useful if management reads through the answers and turns them into actionable plans. Poor staff interactions can be fixed with regular training sessions. Issues with cleanliness should be taken up with the cleaning staff right away. Never waste a survey answer, or the positioning of your hotel will never change.

3. Stick With Breakaway Positioning

If you haven’t heard of breakaway positioning before, now’s the time to learn. It’s defined as being a marketing technique where customers recognize the brand by its features, which are inherently unique compared to what’s offered by competitors.

Think of what stands out about your hotel, besides the fact that it’s independent. If nothing comes to mind, consider new construction or renovations that will redefine your hotel. Plan to build onto to change something about your hotel that makes it more desirable to guests, while still adhering to building codes and regulations.

4. Focus on Your Commitment

What is your hotel committed to? There should never be just one focus. Hotels have many people who help run it and standards that make the hotel function every day. Review a few key features of your hotel to renew your commitment to them as a hotel positioning strategy.

Consider the values and standards of your hotel. These may be to consistently put guests’ needs first, always offer organic menu options or partner with a green cleaning service to minimize your carbon footprint.

Then think about your staff, both in the front and back of the house. When was the last time their voices were heard? Have they been given any employment incentives or rewards recently?

Hotels should also weigh the importance of their stakeholder groups, if you have any. They need to be considered before marketing or business policy changes are made.

List your hotel’s commitments and make them clear to guests on your website. The goal is to have commitments that are different than your competitors. Guests want to know that they respect the values of the hotel they book with, which is why renewing or re-envisioning your commitments is a positioning strategy.

Track Positioning Strategy Results

Make careful notes on what you change in order to benefit your hotel’s positioning. Track any progress or damages caused by the changes to refocus as needed. The efforts will pay off in better or higher standings than your competitors, including both independent and chain brand hotels in your area.