As 2015 begins, it’s time for small hotels to start thinking hard about how they can increase occupancy in the coming year.

Here are just a handful of what Leonardo identifies as the top hotel trends to watch in 2015.

Visual first movement

Images are far better at selling your rooms than words are. Perhaps we have always known this, but the numbers are in to confirm it:

  • TripAdvisor found that after hotels added photos to their profile, they saw a 138% increase in engagement.
  • MIT reports that the human brain can process visual information in as little as 13 milliseconds, while it takes 3x as long to process a single word.

In 2015, how can you make your marketing more visual?

You could redesign your website, add more stunning high-resolution photos, refresh your social media profiles and listing images.

The top viewed images on travel websites were:

  • Guest rooms
  • Restaurants
  • Recreation
  • Lobby
  • Map
  • Business center
  • Pool
  • Amenity
  • Exterior
  • Bar/lounge

Here are a few examples of how our Little Hotelier customers have filled their websites with imagery:

Using image sliders on the home page: Avocado Sunset B&B, Waterfront Motor Inn, and Cocos Castaway.




You can also have the image as a background, like what Briars Cottage have done.


Another way to be visual every day is to make sure your social media posts and email send-outs are always filled with photos.


Hopefully these examples have given you a bit of inspiration.

Online travel shopping

It’s becoming increasingly popular for travellers to make all of their travel-related reservations online.

Thanks to room availability and pricing being accessible in real-time and from multiple sources, this allows for effortless comparison shopping.

Here’s an example from


In fact, Google reports that travellers:

  • Spend an average of 55 minutes to book a hotel and flights
  • Visit 17 websites
  • Click 4 different search ads per travel search

On these comparison websites, travellers can easily compare price, images, reviews, terms & conditions, room amenities, and property facilities.

The sites spend a lot of cash to make sure they are easily found through search engines, and have evolved to the point that they tell travellers how many others are looking at the room, creating a sense of urgency to book it now.


Making sure you are listed with the largest OTAs and meta search sites is a must for small accommodation providers looking to advance their online distribution in 2015.

Mobile devices

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are now intrinsically a part of a traveller’s online shopping journey. Interestingly enough Google reported that 90% of travellers conduct the booking process over multiple screens.

This means that over a couple of days, they jump back and forth from desktop to mobile device to do their research and make the reservation.

Small accommodation providers need to make sure their website is responsive so that it automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device using it.

Responsive websites don’t just look great on mobile, but they adapt to window sizes on desktops, too. Here’s an example:

mobile-hotel-website-example-1   mobile-hotel-website-2

TripAdvisor has recognised the importance of mobile and created mobile travel apps so they can capitalise on it.


Videos are probably the best way to showcase your small property.

YouTube revealed:

  • 88% of their travel searches focus on destinations, attractions or points of interest, and general travel ideas.
  • There was a year-on-year increase in consumption of branded travel videos, with views of view up 118%.
  • 2 out of 3 US consumers watch online travel video when they’re thinking about taking a trip.

Best practice dictates you create 2-3 videos that last anywhere from 12-45 seconds, showing off your property experiences like guest rooms and suites, restaurant and lounge facilities, and the location of the hotel with area attractions.

Put a video right on your home page, where you get the most traffic:


The video should showcase your business quickly and easily. Try doing a quick interview of your happy guests and put it up on your testimonials page. Videos truly humanise your business.


You’ve probably heard about millennials (aka Gen Y). Those aged 18-35 are a a driving force of revenue in travel.

Millennials are young, hip and they like to spend big when they travel:

  • The rise in youth spending “vastly outstripped” that of other international travelers (WYSE).
  • Young travelers now represent 20% of international tourism (WYSE)
  • One in four Millennials are planning more overnight leisure trips this year compared to last year (MMYG Global).

Millennials are tech-savvy and they know how to search high and low for a good hotel deal. They’re also very vocal and will not hesitate to share their honest thoughts on review sites and social media if your facilities and services fail to impress.

With that in mind, you want to make sure that you adapt to their high expectations and cater to their needs.

Before their stay, provide online convenience.

Allow them to learn about your property and book themselves in online, from any device. Millennials are “fluent and comfortable with booking plans online, as well as on mobile and tablet devices” (HVS). If your website is difficult to use across devices, and they can’t check availability or book with you immediately, you will immediately lose points and they will look for an alternative.

During their stay, delight them with your service.

Millennials are constantly connected to their social networks, and actively post to them while they travel. Give them free wifi (this is something they will expect at a bare minimum), and personal experiences that they will share online with their networks.

They seek authentic, novelty experiences, deviating from the norm. This is why they are perfect matches for small accommodation providers.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).