How To Manage a Boutique Hotel: Hotelier Tips and Resources

Published on:
January 17, 2024
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When guests seek out boutique hotels, they're typically looking for a more intimate stay. Boutique hotels are smaller in size, and while this can be a competitive advantage, boutique hotel managers must prioritize one-of-a-kind amenities and services to truly find success.

It's all about delivering a unique experience, a memorable stay, and boutique hotel management efforts that go above and beyond. 

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So, how do you identify and develop your unique selling point? How do you take your boutique to the next level so that guests flock to it? We explore these topics and more below!

To continue your learning, check out our comprehensive Hotel Operations Management Guide.

What Is a Boutique Hotel? 

A boutique hotel differs from a standard hotel in that it is a smaller, upscale hotel that typically offers luxury, personalized service for a reasonable price. These hotels will have less than 100 rooms, offering standout services like app-based customer service or customized welcome treats. 

Boutique Hotels vs Chain Hotels
Boutique Hotels vs Chain Hotels

If you research some of the top boutique hotels, you'll see that they all have one primary thing in common — they provide guests with a one-of-a-kind getaway experience. Boutique hotels operate much like Airbnb in many ways, but with added benefits. For example, guests might get 24/7communication, hotel-quality linens, various room types, professional cleaning services, etc. 

In most cases, boutique hotels are located in urban areas or city centers, showcasing the area's local culture. However, there are boutique hotels that celebrate all kinds of different themes, including Giraffe Manor.

Here, you could start your day seeing giraffes stick their head in the window, looking for a morning snack. Many boutique hotels are pet-friendly, but this takes an animal lover's experience to the next level. 

Elements of a Successful Boutique Hotel

Want to learn how to manage a boutique hotel so that guests rave from near and far? The type of hotel that constantly receives 5-star reviews and even awards? If so, there are a few things to consider. For your boutique hotel to thrive, it needs to stand out in the crowd. 

For that, you need to create a brand. 

What makes your boutique hotel special? Why should guests care? The first step is to identify your unique selling proposition. Is it your location? Is it the level of personalized service you provide? Do you offer a "themed" experience that is unmatched anywhere else? Once you identify what makes you unique, you can incorporate it into your brand story. 

Boutique Hotel Unique Selling Proposition Examples
Boutique Hotel Unique Selling Proposition Examples

Whether you highlight the great service you provide or your hotel's location, incorporate these selling points into your marketing plan. Focus on social media, but also your website. Taking this step is imperative for effective customer communication — it is the foundation of your bookings. Whether a guest hears about you on Instagram or a travel blog, the first place they'll go is your website. If prospective guests don't like what they see, they'll leave your site. Make website design and functionality a top priority, as 42% of people will leave a site if it isn't easy to use and navigate. Use our free Brand Reputation Management Checklist below to keep your property on track!

Best Practices for Boutique Hotel Management

There is no one-size-fits-all manual for managing boutique hotels because they're all a bit different, and that's their appeal. That said, there are best practices that will help ensure your success. 

It's important to focus on your goals and objectives. However, you also need to constantly remain mindful of the following. 

  • Your distinct identity and brand 
  • How you'll reach more guests and understand their needs 
  • Ways to keep your guests happy and satisfied 

With the above list in mind, here are some best practices to follow when enhancing boutique hotel management. 

🎨 Focus on décor and experience

When staying in a standard hotel, all the décor is identical and rather bland. This is your opportunity to showcase some flair and creativity. Be bold and stylish so that your guests feel the distinctive difference between your property and a chain hotel.

😊 Learn and adapt to consumer needs

As a hotel manager, how can you improve? How can you expand your knowledge and experience? Are there training courses you can take? Are there new skills you should develop? As consumer needs continue to evolve, owners must be aware of industry trends and how to incorporate them into your evolving business model. Be open to new opportunities that will make you a better manager to provide the best possible experience for guests.

🏨 Offer variety within brand

To appeal to a wider audience, offer a range of room type sand services. Remember, the goal is to provide guests with a personalized experience. If guests request something specific within reason, make it happen. Amazing customer service combined with a great stay goes a long way. 

📱 Invest in professional management software

If you're self-managing your boutique hotel, this is a must. Professional management software will help you save time and reduce the risk of error to grow your business with ease. The goal is to streamline operations using one platform to deliver an incredible guest experience every time. 

Challenges for Boutique Hotel Operations

The hospitality industry can be tough, and managing a boutique hotel is no different — especially if you continuously strive to go above and beyond. Communication is one major challenge, as guests expect customer service 24/7. Then there are the daily operations required to run and manage a hotel, not to mention everything else, ranging from team communication and employee accountability to hotel maintenance. With so many moving parts, hotels need to make and effort to standardize processes across staff. Xenias template library makes it easy for boutiques to start off on the right foot.

It only takes one bad guest experience to tarnish your reputation, particularly if that guest is highly vocal online. Hotels must protect their brand diligently both online and offline to ensure long term success. Owners must continuously invest in your hotel, improving must-have features whenever possible. Whether it's your food and beverage options, the check-inexperience, or the hotel's décor, listen to all guest feedback and use it to your advantage. Use negative comments as fuel to improve and leverage positive comments to advertise your unique selling points. 

Benefits of Tracking Tasks With Boutique Hotel Operations Software

To optimize your boutique hotel management tasks, it's time to retire the pen and paper approach to digitize paper workflows. 

There is now software available that can help you take daily operations to the next level, including connecting your teams in real-time, which could make all the difference between an "okay" experience and a "flawless" stay for guests. 

Xenia Boutique Hotel App
Xenia Boutique Hotel Operations App

For example, Xenia offers a simple and flexible app that helps you get things done. Long gone are the days of feeling like you're disorganized — which could lead to more significant issues than rising stress levels. If your operations are disorganized, you may be hearing about guest issues that were 100% preventable, and at this point, it may be too late to save that guest's experience. Thanks to digital checklists, more effective communication, and advanced task and work order management, you can build a more productive, agile boutique hotel. 

Benefits of Centralizing Communication for Boutique Hotels

Much like the importance of optimizing business operations, you also need to prioritize communication when it comes to top-notch boutique hotel management. Think of your boutique hotel as a well-oiled machine when your team can work together as one empowered unit. 

If you're tired of not being able to get ahold of team members when you need them most, you need to invest in communication tools that will enhance connectivity in real-time. The goal is to take action before a guest is affected, and if you're responding to a complaint, you'll want to resolve issues as quickly as possible. With the right technology, you can send 1-to-1 direct and group messages for team-specific tasks and follow-ups. 

Learn more about team communication tools.

If you're wondering how to manage a boutique hotel that continues to impress your guests and supports your team, Xenia is the solution. Book a free demo to learn more about how streamlining operations will help you achieve a more connected, productive hotel. Everyone wins. 

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