It seems like a long time ago, but in a pre-COVID world the human race was becoming increasingly international with every passing day. Does anyone remember what it was like to be on a plane? Anyway, more curious than ever before and keen to reach each and every far flung corner of the planet, the days of the simple package holiday to a limited selection of destinations and hotels are just not cutting it for us any more.
Today, fewer people seek a standardised stay when they are on holiday and more people really want an experience in their destination to tantalise their senses. One of the biggest factors to consider when travelling is where you will stay. Accommodation costs can eat into a hefty chunk of your budget, whether you like to secure a room by booking in advance or prefer to follow your nose on the day and see where you end up, having a place to call home for the night is key to any trip.
One of the best ways to do exactly that is by staying in an independent hotel. A great way to inject some personality into your stay, an independent hotel can be that dose of all important destination character you seek on your trip. With the explosion in popularity of social accommodation apps such as AirBnB and Couchsurfing in recent years, it’s easy to see why people are feeling more confident stepping away from larger hotel brands.
Independent hotels work by establishing and maintaining excellent relationships with online travel agents and distributors. The online agents gain the hotel exposure across the world, building a global reach, while the independent hotel makes for a more personalised and unique experience for the customers going to the online agent.
Non-group-owned hotels have a vast array of benefits over large hotel chains, all of which you should carefully consider before making your next hotel booking. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why you should go independent.
An independent hotel will put more focus on what their guests want. They do not have the concern of meeting brand standards put forth by larger chains. Instead, these hotels have the freedom to decorate their hotel how they would like, with decor often fitting in to a more local location aesthetic than satisfying a brand image or color scheme.
With there being more opportunities for original designs, independent hotels have a broader scope when it comes to creativity and can easily create a more unique brand identity, to truly resonate with their guests.
Have you ever been a hotel chain in one part of the world and then stayed at the same hotel chain in a different country and realised just how similar they are? One Brand X hotel in Cancun, Mexico would be the same as a Brand X hotel in Rome, Italy and would be all but identical again to one in Phuket, Thailand. While the large hotel chains are popular as they provide guests with a guarantee of what to expect, independent hotels offer more ambient surroundings.
Often incorporating locally sourced products in their hotels and kitchens as they don’t have to answer to large supply chains, independent hotels can help local areas to be more sustainable, bringing money and resources to local businesses that would otherwise not be there. Further to this, if a product or item is locally sourced or made and a guest enquires about it, hotel staff can advise guests where they can get one of their very own, just a few streets away.
The devil is, as they say, in the detail and this can be where independent hotels really thrive. When it comes to spending money, guests want the best value they can get. You don’t walk away from a city break or beach holiday with an actual product – instead, you leave with memories and hopefully happy ones.
This is something independent hotels can really excel in. If perfectly executed, in that the hotel has effectively incorporated a number of local cultures and traditions and satisfied guest standards with a range of intricate details, you will leave the hotel feeling as though you were the most important guest staying in that accommodation and be excited to one day return.
Many independent hotels have a more affordable price per night than their big-chain counterparts. As overhead costs to run smaller hotels are generally less and their marketing fees, along with a number of other outgoings are also reduced, independent hotels can often pass this saving along to their guests. Other independent hotels, known as boutique hotels, can provide an exclusively tailored experience for guests. For this, you can pay a small premium for a more personalised stay in a considerably more characterful hotel, as it is often a service reserved for guests staying in the most luxurious, five star, chain hotels.
As customers increasingly want a more personalised experience on their travels, independent hotels can only be expected to continue to grow in popularity. When each of these aspects come together in an independent hotel, originality definitely counts. Unusual concepts can really make a hotel stay a more memorable experience. So next time you are in an independent hotel and you see something you really love, be sure to share it on your social media channels and leave the hotel a glowing review. Higher guest reviews bring greater customer curiosity which ultimately leads to more exposure for the hotel and helps them to grow and continue to support local communities.
Be sure to check out the independent hotels in the next town you visit, for a stay you’ll really remember!