According to Smith Travel Research independent hotels left in 2015 their chain competitors far behind. Why are they riding a peak of prosperity now? Why are they so popular amongst owners and investors? Let’s find it out. Generally speaking, we are fed up with the uniformity served by chain hotels around the world. Regardless of the latitude, our impressions after a visit to a brand hotel are usually one and the same, no difference at all. That is why we more and more often choose individual brands over the well-known chain hotels. The independent ones attract tourists who care about extraordinary experiences. And where the tourists are, owners and investors are about to come, too. According to Patrick Goddard, President and COO of Trust Hospitality (American company with 25 years of experience in the independent hotels management) there are 5 factors deciding about the superiority of boutique hotels over the clone chains, namely: 1. Cost savings, less hurdles The chain hotels must follow strictly defined rules and patterns, identical for every single member of the group. In order to open a chain hotel, all you need to have is a minimal amount of money required by the management. Your actions are subject to strict framework included in the cooperation agreement. For an individual hotel, though, the space is open. No rules imposed from the top. Owners of such hotels can spend as much as they deem appropriate on sales, marketing or management Goddard says that independent hotels can be opened with less money and less hurdles, yet the costs differ from one hotel to another, depending on owner’s budget, target group of location. 2. Freedom and flexibility Independent hotels are free from restrictive agreement regulations. Such freedom means they can take advantage of creative solutions and test various tools of sales, which are forbidden for the chain hotels. Goddard says that boutique hotels give their owners a greater joy, they are cheaper and allow for larger flexibility of actions. Although it is easier to manage a chain hotel – for everything you have to do is following strict patterns – interesting solutions prove a much stronger tool. In case of individual hotels, complex actions are quite handy – searching for your own path makes the success much more probable. 3. Customized approach The strategy and management plan in the chain hotels are always the same, regardless of the location. Independent brands are different – that is why managing such a hotel requires much more discipline, indeed. A necessary factor here is an individual plan – a seaside resort, year-round lodgings in the mountains and a boutique city centre hotel will need customized strategies to proceed. Yet, travellers appreciate the effort invested in creating an original strategy. Originality wins over uniformity again and again. 4. Loyalty programmes versus originality Chain hotels attract Clients with loyalty programmes, meaning in the first place attractive discounts on the stay in a hotel belonging to a well-known brand. For an independent hotel, though, the task seems to prove a much harder obstacle to overcome. They must be different, they must be original. And to make it happen, the independent hotels need to stand their ground and create a brand of their own – unique and recognizable. Something that would fill the place with a style and a comfy atmosphere. Goddard says it’s a holistic process including: interior design, F&B, entertainment, music and integration of the society. When all of these elements are together in harmony, a coherent image of the hotel is born, and the Client wants to be back soon. So here comes some good news for the owners of independent hotels: when the chain brands spend fortunes on thee marketing, boutique hotels can adapt their strategy to the budget they have at their disposal. 5. How a product is perceived versus how much the hotel earns Scientists have proven it long ago that perception has a major influence on the assessment and decision-making. When hotels are concerned, it looks quite similar – how the hotel is perceived, so will it prosper. Goddard says the travellers of today highly value products they come across and they are quite willing to give out more money on a hotel accommodation which offers not only comfort, but also creativity. Such a hotel reaches a greater number of people and beats the competition right away. Independent hotels have an immense potential. Thus, their popularity amongst owners and investors is nearly obvious. Boutique hotels allow for adapting the marketing strategy to the individual case and not the other way around. Such hotels can express their spirit and reach for interesting solutions. Originality is like a decoy, attracting thousands of tourists from around the world and bringing profits by far greater than in case of the world-known chains. Here is the article this text was based on.