Boutique hotels are independent properties that offer an unparalleled level of luxury and intimacy to guests. Boutique hotels focus more on the comfort of the guest above all else. While these hotels are trying to offer a unique experience to guests, they face unique challenges.
Boutique hotels have to compete with large scale chains that have disposable revenue and worldwide brand power, but they are not at a complete disadvantage. They can be more personal with guests through comments on social media and online travel agency reviews. This level of intimacy is both a blessing and curse for boutique hotels. While it is something they have an edge over large chain hotels, it is a lot of demanding work that often requires an entire position dedicated to the task.
The top three challenges boutique hotels face:
- Financing. Financers are much more likely to back a branded hotel because they are easier to underwrite. It is also difficult for boutique hotels to gain financing for a property that doesn’t have comparable properties at the price point because there is no baseline – making it harder for boutiques to create a market and break on to the scene.
- Global distribution systems. Facing major chains and their global branding is difficult for small boutique properties. Although the segment is growing, boutiques don’t have as much accesses to GDS. If hoteliers can’t find the right channel mix, they won’t be able to get the bookings necessary to survive in the industry.
- Staffing. Because intimacy is a selling point for boutiques, it’s vital to have each and every staff member well trained to cater to the guest’s individual needs. The attention to detail in boutique hotels is even more important and that starts and ends with the staff. Hoteliers should know each staff member individually and be able to offer assistance or additional training to attain the right level of customer service.
These small, independent hotels though have the advantage of being able to switch tracks quickly if something isn’t working, unlike large chains that must abide by the rules of the corporation. With all the advantages a boutique hotel can offer to a customer, they face some unique challenges. There has been a rise in Boutique Properties showing a growing trend towards more intimate and concept destination holidays.