Breaking News for December 15, 2014
Is the boutique hotel industry in for a sea change? This is evidenced by today’s news that IHG is acquiring the Kimpton Hotel Group.
The boutique lifestyle hotel sector is possibly in for an overhaul of sorts. Is it possible small brands who have been successful at building an amazing consumer brand with multiple locations put themselves and their investors in a position of being unable to resist the scent of money?
How could you blame them? It’s happening everywhere. The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) is surveying its’ members to see what the sentiment is. Stay tuned. Send us your own comments to add to the results: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hear BLLA Founder, Frances Kiradjian, as Travel Talk Radio interviews her about the boutique & lifestyle lodging industry for consumers and link to: http://www.traveltalkmedia.com/archives_jun09_13.html
The Trendz Report – view it here: Document
June 25, 2013
Mount Vernon hotel to test limits of Baltimore’s high-end market.
Hoteliers are not the only ones with hope for Baltimore’s ultra-boutique market.
As the economy recovers, Greg Remeikis, BLLA Inner Circle club member and Advisory Board member, agrees there is room for more upscale boutique hotels in Baltimore. Remeikis, an audit partner at CohnReznick LLP and practice lead of the Baltimore firm’s hospitality division, has worked in the hospitality sector for 20 years. CLICK HERE to read the story.
Award-winning Beijing flagship extends in-vogue brand to Thailand, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Shenzhen & Suzhou by 2015
Hotels G, a hospitality management group headquartered in Hong Kong, has announced its major expansion and development plans of its trendy lifestyle brand, Hotel G. The award-winning hospitality concept, with Hotel G Beijing as its flagship, is adding two more properties to its portfolio in 2013, and another four in the next two years. The brand embarked on the first phase of its expansion last year in Thailand, taking Pullman Bangkok Hotel G and Pullman Pattaya Hotel G under its management. MORE
Social Media for Boutique Lifestyle Hotels
Social Media for Boutique Hotels (An Interview with Frances Kiradjian)
In this interview, Josiah Mackenzie of ReviewPro (RP) interviews Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) founder and president Frances Kiradjian (FK) on digital marketing for boutique hotels today.
RP: What benefits does the web bring for small hotels?
FK: The web makes it easier for small hotels to be found – if they’re utilizing the tools available to the fullest extent possible. Learning the details of any technology you use is crucial to ensure you are taking full advantage of opportunities that exist.
For our association, we select technology based on what we find via research as well as what we find is the most effective for the marketplace; not only the highest quality technology, but also the best for our segment of hotels in particular. We look through hundreds of marketing materials, and have a pretty good idea of what’s out there and what our hotels need to focus on.
Owners and managers of small hotels must be diligent in keeping up with things like digital marketing and promotion and distribution. The opportunities are there to attract the right customers–for business and leisure– to reach them directly, and encourage as many direct bookings as possible.
The web has definitely leveled the playing field, but there is a lot of work to be done. It’s not like we can just sit around – we have to work very hard. We still need to focus a bit on legacy channels, because they’re still there and providing revenue for hotels, but we really have to pay much more attention to online and digital channels now.
RP: What are the competitive advantages small properties have, and how can they leverage these?
FK: Service is an obvious competitive advantage for the category. Independent boutique & lifestyle hotels can stand out from other hotels if they constantly work to improve this. It’s about paying attention to what customers are saying, and making sure that you’re addressing suggestions they have suggested for improvement.
And not just making changes, but telling the world that you’re making changes. Communicate operational changes you make throughout your entire social media and online presence. Let your community know that you’re listening and that you’re taking action. Show examples of what you’ve done based on customer feedback; use images and video if possible.
Flexibility is difficult with many big branded hotel groups, but smaller hotels have unique advantage in this area.
Owners must focus on creating an amazing property with unique design, upscale services and enhanced amenities, and staff that are trained in very high end customer service. That’s a prerequisite.
Then implement a technology-driven marketing program. The hospitality industry has been a bit slow in innovation, but that’s not acceptable any more. Your booking technology can make or break you. And the way you manage feedback from online reviews can make or break you if you’re not paying attention.
RP: What are the biggest marketing challenges for small hotel owners/managers?
FK: It’s really knowing the full gamut of options that are available to them. That’s something that BLLA is doing. It’s really hard for a small property or a small brand to know all the marketing opportunities that are available, and finding something different that will get them noticed.
Hotels should also look at potential partners and alliances: they do not necessarily require a cash investment, but provide valuable marketing leverage.
Consistency can be a challenge with many owners and managers who run things sporadically. Consistency can be achieved by selecting the right technology that can do the work for you, so that you simply have to look at the reports. It’s the 80/20 rule. Pay attention to the top 20% – whether that’s clients, partners or something else.
Invest in technologies that can help you take advantage of opportunities effectively, efficiently, and at a very low cost.
RP: Best practices for the social web for small hotels?
FK: Pay attention to images. Use large ones and pay attention to quality. Hiring the best photographer is a must and will pay off. Images are the most important type of content you can publish, as a client can really dive into an image online, whether it’s on an iPad or iPhone or on a computer. You have to invest in producing the very best images to provide the ability to experience the property through the images, whether they are of the room or the bathroom or the restaurant or the area surrounding the hotel property.
Video is as important as images today. Create short videos that not only show off the property – everyone does that – but videos that share something unique. Tell the story of what’s going on in your property. This is one way to really stand out and be different. Tell more stories!
Look for ways to enhance your online footprint. Everyone is focused on Facebook and YouTube, but there are many other social media sites out there that deserve to be looked at, because there’s a ton of new potential clients lurking there. (Pinterest is an example of this).
Finally, pay attention to keyword optimization. Review them consistently to make sure you’re getting the strongest returns as possible from your search engine marketing program.
RP: In your experience, what role does social media monitoring and reputation management play in managing a small hotel?
FK: Reputation management is foundational for small hotels building their online strategy. Social listening tools like ReviewPro are crucial to be able to respond rapidly to both bad and good reviews.
It’s also a valuable sales channel. Staff can look at things like good reviews, and reach out to those guests and ask for referrals. I think a lot of people don’t think of doing that.
If someone’s really happy, they’re happy to refer their friends to you. If you can come up with a special promotion that is value-added, I’m sure that happy customer is going to be willing to pass that on as well.
RP: Some “quick wins” to achieve the fastest ROI?
FK: Focus on a few channels and put all of your effort into them. Don’t worry about everything else that’s surrounding you initially.
Make social media insights a part of your daily, weekly sales meetings. Many hotel managers are already doing this, picking out opportunities based on the leads they are getting from social channels. Make it a priority to do something with those opportunities.
The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association and ReviewPro have partnered to offer reputation management services to boutique hotels worldwide. ReviewPro enables hoteliers to increase guest satisfaction and online revenue by more effectively managing their online reputation and presence in leading social media sites. After rapid growth in the European market, the company has expanded internationally and quickly grown its client roster to thousands of hotels in nearly 70 countries.
For more information about ReviewPro, request a demo now.
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Press Coverage & Links
For media inquiries, please contact:
Frances Kiradjian, 818-883-4363, firstname.lastname@example.org
Israeli Calcalist Newspaper—March 15, 2012 (currently not translated)
Independent Thinking—Business Travel Magazine – February 2012
The Planner article—February 2012
2011 Boutique & Lifestyle Hospitality Awards
BLLA Collaborates with Top Hotel Projects
First-Ever Lodging Event on Food Trends – January 14, 2011
July 29, 2010 Press Release—Announcing the Boutique & Lifestyle Hospitality Awards, in partnership with Hospitality Design Magazine.