Trying to put a figure on the number of hotels operating on our planet is something of a fool’s errand; conservative estimates suggest it falls anywhere between 180,000 and 500,000. Whatever the exact figure may be, one thing is for sure: there are a lot of hotels and thus, there is a lot of hotel content.
Within this sea of content, repetition is inevitable and great ideas quickly fall from grace, becoming staler with every rehash. The holy grail of hotel content marketing is a never-before-covered blog post or a fresh new approach.
So how do you find a novel angle and an innovative new content plan? Like all creative endeavours, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to coming up with exciting new ideas for your hotel content, but there are things you can do to make it more likely.
Use your team
Even if you are the only staff member responsible for your hotel’s content marketing, you shouldn’t bear sole responsibility for content brainstorming. You should always be looking to your co-workers, even – nay especially – those not involved in the marketing field, as well as friends and clients for their insight and input. The trick here is to keep talking. Chat with colleagues and customers about their plans, their expectations and experiences, the highlights and let-downs. The more people you look to for ideas, the better. That way, your chances of finding a nugget of newness multiplies.
Be open and adventurous
You can’t stumble upon an undiscovered idea unless you are open to stumbling. You need to be willing to try new things. Perhaps you are looking for new events or hidden-away attractions to write about on your hotel blog or in your hotel magazine. If so, don’t blindly follow the tried-and-tested itineraries; try to find things that have yet to feature in your competitors’ content. You can’t seek serendipity, but you can be receptive to it. Wander aimlessly, strike up conversations and follow your whims. Say yes far more often than you say no.
Granted, hotel blogs aren’t always the right place to reinvent the wheel, but you can look for new takes on tired subjects. Allow some personality to creep in. If you value your own inner voice and place stock in your own observations, you may find the guidebooks and other hotel blogs in the area are painting a picture that doesn’t line up with your experiences. Share your own view and your guests will appreciate it.
And while you are out investigating the area attractions, always take along a notebook and a pen. The best ideas usually strike not when you’re sitting at a desk pouring over pitches but when you are experiencing something disconnected from work.
Get into research mode
Even when you aren’t actively exploring, the opportunities to unearth new ideas and angles abound. Read lots of local newspapers, websites and publications; talk to travellers who stay at the hotel and trawl social media to see what the travel community are talking about. Take part in travel- and hospitality-related Twitter chats and listen to what participants are saying; their thoughts may be the catalyst for your next pitch or blog series. The more you observe and immerse yourself in the world of travel and hospitality, the more new ideas you’re likely to have (and the more authority you’ll be able to bring to your hotel’s content).
Consider outside help
Expecting to come up with great original idea after great original idea is asking a lot. Sometimes, you just have to harness the experience of outsiders. Employing the services of freelance writers and local area experts can broaden the scope, ensuring your output encompasses a far wider range of experiences. If you want fresh commentary on old favourites, suggestions for potential new hotspots or tips on hard-to-find gems, there’s nothing for it but to enlist the help of outside experts.