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The Art Of a Life Well Lived …

Thinking like a small hotel

In this article written by the Founder of the Orient & Occident Company, Christopher Stafford explains how small independent hotels can compete with larger hotels by combining traditional practices with digital marketing. By focusing on building relationships with loyal guests and on training their small but agile teams, small hotels can maintain their unique identity while remaining competitive and profitable.

Small independent hotels are carving out a growing niche in the digital age. By applying the time-honored practices of researching customers’ needs and communicating effectively, these hotels can compete favorably with the very best in all segments of the market.

While larger hotels may have the resources to invest in complex systems and operations, small hotels can thrive and maintain a unique identity by combining their age-old skills with digital marketing education. In fact, small hoteliers can become leaders and trendsetters in their own right by obsessing over quality and service, two skills that have been passed down through generations.

As the founder of The Orient & Occident Company, I’ve seen firsthand how small hotels can maintain a hospitable atmosphere while expanding their reach. For example, we’ve successfully applied the principles of small hotels to larger properties, such as the Anantara in Hua Hin, Koh Samui, the Golden Triangle, and the Maldives, and the 137 Pillars Hotel Chiang Mai.

At the heart of this approach is a commitment to education, which is readily available and applicable to creating profitable hotels and improving direct, offline, and online business channels. While larger hotel chains may grapple with ever-more advanced AI and digital platforms, small hoteliers can focus on building relationships with loyal guests and training their small but agile teams, and paying it forward by supporting vocational hospitality education. 
Small hotels may need some form of representation in the luxury segment, but this can be achieved at a much lower cost than what larger brands would extract in multiple fee streams. By thinking like a small hotel and embracing digital marketing, independent hotels can remain competitive and profitable, maintaining their unique identity and offering a hospitality experience that will resonate with guests for generations to come.
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