The other night I was watching TV (yes, I know, TV…) and was suddenly struck by an ad I saw. My father was in advertising when I was growing up, so advertisers love me for the simple reason that I pay attention. My wife is another story…. I saw smiling faces, with names, hometowns, and a variety of charming buildings in the background. I quickly saw that the mood being generated was one of friendliness, personal contact, real people with real names, and interesting places to stay. I was shocked to see that it was an ad for Best Western Hotels.
Now, Best Western isn’t exactly known for this, so it was surpirisng. But it’s just another example of the hotel industry taking a page from bed & breakfasts and country inns who have had a lock on the "personal touch" in lodging for a long time. Whether Best Western will ever really make a dent or take business away is debatable based on the notion of being warm and fuzzy. But they’re trying!
Small, unique lodgings, I contend, will always be able to be more personal than a hotel chain, no matter what. But the lesson is clear: small and unique inns must not sit on their laurels. The competition wants your business. And they have more resources than you do!
Keep smiling and do what you do best; use the tools available to you; and you’ll quietly remind everyone why you’re there. To be the best there is!