The fresh salmon for today’s VIP lunch is yet to arrive, the lady in suite 501 has an emotional meltdown and no-one is quite sure what it is all about; turns out you have an overbooking that effects one of your best repeat guests and the main AC in one of the banquet rooms stopped working.
What happens inside the walls of a hotel within one day, some people don’t experience in a lifetime. It’s part of what makes working in a hotel so attractive and special (and admittedly sometimes also pretty stressful).
And it provides you with a unique marketing advantage – a rich source for storytelling, right at your fingertips.
In the age of information overload and an ever-shrinking attention span (it’s now reached a stage where a human’s attention span is supposedly less than that of a goldfish), story telling still stops people in their tracks.
Think about it. You hear a great tale or anecdote and suddenly, you get pulled in. Your imagination starts to engage your feelings and emotions and you are literally living the experience. And if it’s a real good story, it’ll not only linger in your mind, but you’ll be eager to share it with others.
Stories matter, and experiencing dozens of them each day first hand provides you with a huge advantage. Most brands have to carefully craft their stories – a hotel generates some of the most unusual and creative ones on a daily basis – a goldmine for marketers!
The majority of hotels, for example, use their homepages to summarize information about their features and location. This provides your audience with a great first overview of what you have to offer, but it is not a good differentiator. Your prospective guests have read those same sounding descriptions probably a hundred times before.
If you however slip into the personality of your hotel and share your information by packaging it in an intriguing way, you create an immediate and meaningful connection.
British author Carol Birch sums it up nicely: “Storytelling strengthens the imagination. To imagine is to envision, to see with the inward eye. This ability to imagine is the basis of all creativity. Creativity is being able to see beyond what is readily apparent.”
What about your room inventory? Have you ever thought about letting your hotel room do the talking? About it’s unique features, it’s pros and cons and the kind of guests it has hosted? Give it a voice and personality, infuse humor, pride, quirk and let it amicably chat with the reader. It makes you unique and it makes you stand out, and it might even help you get rooms booked that are difficult to sell.
Storytelling works for all areas of your hotel. From meeting rooms to restaurants, to front of the house and behind the scenes – invite your audience to look at your offer and perceive it in a very different way, and go from being just another hotel to being a unique brand.
About the author
Bärbel Pfeiffer is a former hotel executive turned marketer who helps hotels create a distinct online presence that will make them stand out. She is the founder of Text Spot On, a communications agency that assists hoteliers with creative marketing concepts that engage, generate leads and drive business.
During her 20-year career in the industry, Bärbel worked for Hilton International, boutique hotels in Germany and Switzerland and hotel resorts in the Caribbean. You can reach her at [email protected].