INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Independent hotel owners are increasingly faced with the decision of whether to join an international hotel chain. Some say joining a hotel chain means sacrificing the soul of their business or losing the flexibility to provide personalized guest experiences. It has also been said hotel chains don’t offer its owners easy access to decision makers, as they’re only focused on customers and they’re unaware of the surrounding people and culture in which its hotels operate. While these concerns might apply to some areas of the industry, it’s unfair to say they apply to all international hotel companies. Many hotel chains provide partners with the right tools to ensure their unique character, history and guest experiences are both preserved and elevated.
International hotel companies can help independent hotels create higher revenue streams and give owners access to a global network of resources to help sustain their business. For instance, Radisson Hotel Group can reduce costs for its hotels by training teams, providing the right technologies and offering heightened sales capabilities. Additionally, the company’s brands are able to stay true to the soul of their business and hone their authenticity by keeping their name, coordinating their own staff and incorporating unique character into their hotel’s design and services. Maintaining the history and culture of a hotel is important, just as it is to turn a profit. Independent hotel owners should know they can do both, even when joining a larger hotel chain.
Larger international brands also offer loyalty programs, which encourage guests to choose a specific brand by offering unique benefits. On top of that, they have a large sales and distribution network coordinating with travel management companies to assist guests in booking stays and events at your hotel. If you’re interested in marketing your property through advertising and strategic partnerships, international brands have the resources to increase brand visibility, which increases room bookings.
Additionally, technology is playing an increasingly important role in how hotels gather information to provide personalized guest service. For example, Radisson Hotel Group has invested in technology that gives guests the exceptional hospitality they expect. Through the company’s cloud-based system called EMMA (Every Moment Matters)—currently in its pilot phase — they aim to provide a smooth check-in and checkout process for both guests and hotel staff. After a guest’s first stay, a profile is created and updated with their stay preference data, allowing staff within the global portfolio to immediately know a guest’s likes and dislikes. Whether it’s extra pillows or a favorite snack, the hotel staff can use the information from the guest’s profile to have these special comforts waiting in their room when they arrive.
Lastly, the importance of knowing the ins and outs of a hotel’s culture cannot be overstated. Hotel brands must build a trusting relationship not only with owners, but also with the surrounding community comprised of potential hotel employees and guests. When independent hotels join the right international hotel chain, the hotel shouldn’t have to lose its identity or flexibility, but rather gain resources that will help enhance their property, guest experience and surrounding community. Having these tools and resources, coupled with a relationship based on trust and open communication, can lead to long-lasting success for any hotel around the world.