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How hotel chains can compete with the USPs of boutique hotels using digital techniques

Though it may appear as though renowned hotel chains have obvious advantages over independent and boutique accommodation due to the fact they are globally recognised brands, when it comes to choosing a place to stay many individuals take a hotel’s USPs into consideration and may be swayed by the experience they feel an independent business can offer, as opposed to opting for a chain. And when it comes to choosing an experiential stay, the online presence of a hotel can play a big part in the decision making process.

So, as a hotel chain, how can you compete with the unique offering of independent businesses demonstrated through their digital presence?

Tailored identity

Whilst it’s understandable that you would want to create a brand identity that shapes the image and approach of all of the hotels under your umbrella, creating a tailored identity for each establishment, taking into account elements such as location and local demographics could help with the online success of individual hotels within the chain.

Just as boutique and independent hotels put a big push on their USPs, there’s nothing to suggest why a hotel chain shouldn’t look for unique features that separate all the establishments under their umbrella and make this the central strategy for each individual place.

For example, Hilton Hotels & Resorts operate over 500 resorts worldwide. Though each of these hotels are easily identifiable as Hilton properties based on the branding and design set out by the chain, they are all unique buildings that sit across a wide variety of locations. It’s these unique offerings that can help formulate a tailored online identity to work towards convincing potential customers that this is the establishment they would want to visit over local competitors.

Let’s take a look at Hilton Sheffield. For those so inclined to look for the experience offered by independent and boutique hotels, the initial instinct may be to avoid the Hilton. However, if the unique features the Hilton offers, such as its quayside central location, the stylish exposed brickwork in the lobby, the option to have a balcony, and the views over the city skyline were showcased via their digital channels, then potential customers may become more conscious of the fact the Hilton can offer a unique experience, which enhances the chance they will be considered alongside, or even above competitors.

Social media in particular offers the opportunity to showcase such features. The implementation of storytelling techniques through social media can explore particular features of a hotel, helping to showcase the unique offering of a particular premise. Quality imagery and a consistent tone of voice works to establish a unique brand identity for each establishment, which should be tailored for the target audience of the area (find out more about reaching your audience in our blog post on 'targeting the right users').

So, whereas it may seem as though boutique and independent hotels have a lot to learn from larger hotel chains, when it comes to crafting an online identity, it may actually be the case that hotel chains should be looking to follow the example of smaller scale hoteliers and identifying the features that make each of their establishments unique from one another.

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