The majority of people looking to stay in independent hotels, rather than going via an OTA, are doing so because they want to have a unique, personable experience. With this in mind, there are several questions you will need to consider:
What makes you different? What is the benefit of staying with you, as opposed to a hotel chain? What are your values, and how do you put them into practice?
Once you have established the answer to these questions, you could explore the possibility of partnering with local businesses which share your values. For example, if you own a bed & breakfast in the countryside, you could promote local attractions and inform readers of current events; alternatively, you could partner with a nearby spa or restaurant. This enhances your brand identity and increases customers’ knowledge of your hotel.
While it’s tempting to focus on the goal of gaining immediate customers, you mustn’t underestimate the power of building long-term relationships. When creating content based on your values and brand personality, try to engage with those who may be interested in the future, as well as people who are currently looking for a hotel. Building these brand-consumer relationships will take time, but once established, they will be much more likely to think of you when searching for somewhere to stay in the future.
In the same way, it’s vital that you ensure you follow through and engage with your customers once they are with you; find out what they want from their stay and help them inside and outside the hotel. People tend to be loyal to brands they like and trust, so doing this will reinforce their positive opinion of you, create lasting memories, and make it much more likely that they will return.