We have great views, contemporary rooms, great food, heavenly cocktails, cool staff and did we mention great views? We are a much better hotel because we are the cheapest as well. It all sounds nice, right? Does it sound familiar? Yeah, I think so. If you visit 50 hotel websites you will probably see that 40 of them have the same text or pictures from different angles. We can all agree, that as much as you and I might want, there are two things that you simply can’t buy; trust and loyalty. There is no special offer on loyalty or trust. So how do you differentiate your hotel and build loyalty? That’s where brand storytelling comes in. Your hotel’s storytelling is fundamental to your success because of the connection-building power it contains.
Great stories make us care and people do respond to them. Every single hotel is different and has a unique story. This is the reason why you need a great story that will inspire and connect with guests in order to build trust and loyalty. What do I mean by create a story for your hotel?
Your brand’s story is more than what you tell people you are. It’s what they believe about you based on all your communication. Starting from in-house designs, to your website, offline ads, exhibitions booths, posts, tweets, snaps, videos and your business cards. A story is a full picture in the guests’ mind of the facts, feelings and interpretations which are shared about your hotel by you, your guests and potential customers.
Smaller lifestyle hotel groups are no longer disruptors in hospitality, so they need to evolve beyond the oversimplified “boutique is better” message.
I will give you an example with myself; I could believe that I’m a great sushi chef and tell everybody that I’m an amazing chef and that I can make the best sushi on Planet Earth. If I’m a great chef I need to communicate that and differentiate myself from other chefs. If my communication is average or simply poorly executed, then people will assume that I’m not a great chef. They will assume that I’m an average chef. That’s why I need to make sure that all aspects of my communication are spot on and have a deep message (a great story). There might be some people that have tried my sushi and refer me to some of their friends because they like me. Their friends though, will check my Instagram, website and so on. If the execution is poor some might not believe their friends while some might still do. The problem is when you are a good chef you need to show it with great marketing. In case you are wondering if I’m a great sushi chef; I’m not. I’m a great club sandwich and microwave chef.
What a story will do is create an emotional connection with your team members, current guests and potential guests. And that’s how you build loyalty. A story is definitely NOT something that you just use on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/ Video or website. It’s something that you implement everywhere, starting from your property. The key is supporting that story with your visuals so you can show that it’s what you believe and that you are for real.
You might ask where does content marketing, social media and website come in, right? Well, with content marketing emerging and becoming a buzz word you need a great story so you can create content based on your story. Social media gives us a great way to storytell and websites give us an opportunity to show guests and potential guests what is our story. Your pictures, photoshoot concepts and everything about your hotel should be based on your story. For example, you might have a great swimming pool shape that has a deep meaning but people who visit your website can’t see it because it’s not articulated, it’s not executed correctly. By the way, I published a great infographic about 100 Years Of Brand Storytelling that you can view here.
I really hope that this article helped you get a better understanding about your hotel’s storytelling and how important it is. At the end of the day branding is about feelings. We can’t describe why we buy certain products or book the same hotel year after year, but we know that we have a certain feeling towards a hotel or a brand. People are emotional human beings. Remember that.