In part one of this series, the focus was on going independent the smart way. I covered how pricing controls, fees, and OTA relationships play a big roll in considering this option for your business. You already know that it can be overwhelming to consider “pulling the flag” and moving from a brand hotel to being an independent property. We too know that making a big decision like this can seem too daunting. If you haven’t already, read part one of ‘De-flagging Demystified,’ you can view part one here.
This post focusses on the relationship between your platforms, data and your guests. It’s the peanut butter to the jelly that I shared about in part one. After reading this post, you’ll have the whole ‘PB&J sandwich’ of information to help you along your business journey.
Data—Own It Wisely
The key to thriving as an independent without the infrastructure of a big brand is data. If you can focus on leveraging insights from all sources, including bookings, preferences, stay and inquiry history, social media, review sites, and demographics, then you will have the tools to customize service for each of your guests.
Asset managers are seeing some key elements that should be considered when weighing the possibility of going independent. Here are just a few factors to examine:
Size and health of your database
Cost of current outbound marketing efforts
How your reservation sales team is utilizing your current data
Many hotels realize only just before the transition to independent status that they must deal with how they will manage their data differently. This includes everything from how to gather it and what to do with it. It can become even more tricky when considering how to handle brand-new privacy laws from the EU (GDPR), and upcoming privacy laws in states, such as California and Colorado.
The right technology builds all of these considerations into the process—ensuring good data in, good data out. I’d highly recommend every property be looking at these data health factors, especially when considering how and when to pull the flag. The ultimate gift of good guest data with the right technology = long-lasting, loyal guest relationships that are all yours!
It’s important to note that the guest data collected has real monetary value for future efforts. This data becomes a true asset to the organization for future direct marketing. One a company realizes how valuable this data can be, it becomes a priority to them to insist that their guest data will always belong exclusively to them.
Your Platforms - Messy to organized
You already heard in the last section how important it is to have data that you own and can control, but if your platforms for guest relationship management are not organized, how will you know where to focus your teams’ energy? In a recent post, I talk about the importance of finding and implementing the right CRM platform. You can read the blog here. But in short, what we see at NAVIS is that many hoteliers and vacation rental companies are bogged down by multiple marketing, data and reservation sales platforms--all of which claim to be a CRM--but that don’t live up to their claims when it comes to implementing the technology. If your team can operate on one platform that houses one single source of data, many of your issues with capacity, data-quality, and lead management will be resolved.
Above All, The Guests
HNN’s Chris Green has a great perspective on guest experience. He says, “I see de-flagging as a simple choice: prioritizing control, identity, and self-determination…Ultimately, that is where the real financial rubber meets the road: not in brand fees or in how operational expenses are deployed, but in a hotel’s ability to carve out a well-defined niche in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace” (HotelNewsNow). At the end of the day, it is all about the guests, right? That’s why we’re all in this business, and our job is to make them feel heard, feel cared for, and feel at home.
But creating the best guest experience is just as much about using the right technology as it is about lobby design and in-room amenities. What you need is a 360-degree view of your guest, with their preferences available at the click of a button. You also need the right technological support to make sure you are maximizing profitability and bringing in more lucrative guest bookings.
A complete CRM that can give you a unified view of reservations, revenue, and marketing--capitalizing on an independent’s freedom from bureaucracy as well as its total ownership of data. This is where independents can leverage their freedom! It’s in the ability to identify your target markets, pivot quickly and freely to develop relationships that are not hindered by pre-existing notions of brand-quality or other expectations.
In short, going independent means that you get to take back control of every booking and gain as much value from those bookings as you are investing.
That’s why our mission is to help clients consider all business options. This way you know, that if you choose to move to new and more supportive solutions and services after de-flagging, NAVIS be with you every step of the way.
“Our partnership with NAVIS has enabled us to increase lodging revenue and resort occupancy. We also have better data with which to base pricing and marketing decisions. NAVIS has improved our Call Center processes and provides consistency in training and coaching.” — Director of Sales & Marketing, at a Medium Enterprise Hospitality Company
Find out more from one of our hospitality experts. Contact the NAVIS team!