Everyone loves a story.
Stories evoke emotion … they inspire. And they also drive traffic to your website and send travelers to your hotel. Stories, in fact, get heads on pillows.
Stories are authentic and personal, and good stories capture attention. You can read, see, watch, and hear, and when you tell your hotel’s story, especially when you use multi-media, you beckon to prospective guests. They imagine themselves right there – at your hotel – swimming in your pool, dining in your restaurants, and working out in your gym.
While storytelling is only one of your marketing strategies, it is probably the most powerful tool that you have at your disposal to draw attention to your hotel, using different media to communicate with your future, present, and former guests.
As well as your own story, your guest’s story is vitally important to the reputation of your hotel, for she has at her disposal many different channels. For the most part, she will use Social Media to share with her friends, and you trust that her stories are good ones, telling of enjoyable times. But you know that there are also occasional stories of negative incidents.
As of April 2013, Facebook has 1.06 billion monthly active users of which 680 million use mobile. 50% of members visit the site daily, so it is inevitable that your guests’ stories spread. When Amsterdam writes, Australia reads. So it is important that their stories are positive, and it is your job to ensure that they are. That is why you need to have a solid storytelling strategy.
Your central story shows off characteristics of your hotel, and demonstrates the features that are most important to your guests; it is posted throughout your website and on your social media channels. So, when you write, make sure to sound unique and make your copy stand out from others. Try to stay away from the usual descriptive clichés that you see everywhere else, such as “Come, indulge your senses… “, for example. Be original and be different.
Instead, create stories about your special programs for children and their families; feature your indoor parking, which your guests will appreciate if you are situated in a snowy or rainy destination. You might talk about your business centre and gym for prospective business travelers, or special events for romantic weekends. When you discover what your guests want, provide it if you can, and then tell them all about it in a story. You also want to feature local highlights, such as special ethnic restaurants in the vicinity, and concerts at the nearby theatre.
Don’t only tell, show them as well! You will enhance all of this descriptive information with images that pop, and videos that sing.
Talking of videos, did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google? Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month, and there are over 4 billion videos viewed every single day! Wouldn’t it make sense to snag a share in that growth, by posting videos of your hotel?
Once you have your story about your hotel’s physical features, now you need to evoke the feeling. Your guests will benefit at a deep level from the emotional connection that you build for them. It is vital that you involve all your staff in the development of your extended story. Invite their participation to build a storyboard of what you collectively want your brand to be – now you are working on the part that reaches your guests’ emotions.
With staff participation you will gradually build your brand and achieve that goal. When staff from every department – from management to maintenance – are engaged and involved, they will each identify with their own parts in your hotel’s story. You will confer pride, and they will feel valued, and soon they will be inspired to create magic moments for your guests by continually looking out for opportunities to delight them.
A rose on a breakfast tray, for example, will enchant that couple who are staying with you for their 27th wedding Anniversary – it will show them that you care.
Even while they still with you, your guests will share their experiences and images with their friends via social media sites such as Facebook. They will post delightful photos of that comical little dog fashioned from towels, and lounging on their bed. They might also tell about the funny little conversation with the elderly porter who had never ever seen snow in his life, and how he was fascinated with their pictures. That engagement definitely made the porter’s day, encouraging him towards more communication, and it also provided a special memory for your guest to share with her friends.
And she will certainly tell everyone about the server in your restaurant, who suddenly opened his mouth and began to sing Opera arias for the diners. She might even post a short video of the performance … just think about how that could benefit your hotel.
Such is the powerful effect of social media and why you should be using it to enhance your storytelling about your hotel.
Next time, we will discuss ideas on how to use social media to tell your stories.