Opinion Article29 June 2021It is clear that the world is on the verge of a huge travel boom as travel slowly returns to normal. One of the most promising trends in travel is that travelers are leaving hotel chains.In 2021, travelers will not want to travel the same way as their neighbors and friends. They desire a customized vacation that is tailored to their needs. They are shifting away from big-chain resorts to smaller, independently owned hotels. Travel planning has changed to include the trend of seeking out unique experiences and avoiding cookie-cutter trips.Continue reading to find out about The Future of Independent Hotels. Why Some Travelers Will Go the Extra Mile to Have a Unique Experience in a Hotel & Avoid Chains at All Cost.What is an independent hotel?Independent hotels now make up almost 40% of the market, but they are increasingly in fashion. It is evident that independent hotels offer more unique experiences.Independent hotels are small businesses built on passion and service. Many independent hotels were the result of one person's hard work and passion. This is evident in the quality and reputation of these properties. Even though larger chains of hotels may try to duplicate authentic passion, they will not be able.Who books independent hotels?Many people assume that the latest trends in travel and other industries are being led by younger generations, who, according to studies, value experiences more than anything else.Although it might be true that the younger generation is more interested in travel than material possessions, it is also true to say that travel spending is on the rise. Travel spending rose across all generations in 2019. On average, millennials spend $4,400 while Boomers spend $6,600 and Gen-Xers spend $5,400.These statistics show that there are no one type or demographic of traveler who book independent hotels. Instead, they all seem to be tired of the hotel chains and willing to do whatever it takes to avoid them.Why do travelers book independent hotels?Independent hotels are a unique experience that is worth writing about. These hotels are more intimate than large chains and offer first-class service.The pride that these hoteliers take in their small businesses is what fuels this passion for providing excellent service. Each guest's experience is unique, and each one is valuable. It is important for travelers to choose hotels that offer lasting memories and not cookie-cutter travel experiences.The emphasis on experiential travel seems to be a growing trend. Boutique hotels and independent hotels are able to create unique, authentic experiences that surpass those of their larger counterparts. Even larger chains are changing the branding of individual properties to avoid association with brands.How can independent hotels compete against large chains?Small businesses are not able to compete with large hotel chains that have seemingly unlimited resources. Many hotels are not able to afford multi-department corporate staffing. Only hotel chains have this luxury. Independent hotels have the option of outsourcing their call center. It is crucial to have a call center or reservation department that provides that level of service for every call. This will ensure that travelers are able to enjoy a personalized experience that is not available on digital booking platforms.John Smallwood, President and CEO of Travel Outlook says independent hotels are greatly benefited by outsourcing their reservations department."Outsourcing to a call centre with highly trained agents allows hotel staff to concentrate on their guests and create unique travel experiences.Although not all call centers work the same, hoteliers can be assured that call center agents trained by Kennedy Training Network (KTN), are highly skilled and trained in their respective areas.Kennedy Training Network has rediscovered the art of engaging potential guests with genuine conversation and has streamlined communication. There are many options to book online but guests still prefer the convenience of calling. KTN President Doug Kennedy says that the longer they stay, the higher the rate and, most importantly, the more connected they feel to the experience of travel, the more they will call rather than book online. Trust is essential now more than ever.Travel is booming and we are welcoming summer 2021. This year, travelers will be looking for unique hotel experiences. These experiences are not created in large hotel chains but in local and independent properties. Independent hotels have turned to highly trained call centers to help them outsource their reservations department in order to handle the upcoming travel boom and compete with larger corporations.