Thursday, June 20, 2024

Captivate your Guests and Get More Direct Bookings in 2017

(Without a Marketing Budget)

Time to adjust a few things in your hotel marketing to stand out in 2017!

Want to attract new business and get more direct bookings? Make sure the online presentation of your hotel supports this goal.

Take for example, your website. Does it truly communicate the essence of your hotel brand?

There is a strong possibility it doesn’t, because most hotel websites lack a crucial ingredient:

Personality – the magic element that connects you with your target audience and differentiates you in a unique way from your competitors.

Hotel ImageWhy is that important? Let’s have a look at the purchasing behavior of your guests. We already know that about 73% of all consumers go online to research a product and offer before they consider a purchase. What about travelers?

According to the 2015 report of Swiss Hospitality Solutions (SHS) travelers check an average of 18 (!) travel portals before they shortlist their favorite hotels. Following that, they’ll visit on average 10 hotel websites before they make their final decision.

This is a lot of information to remember and process.

But this is also the big branding opportunity in your hotel marketing…

Being memorable is key in attracting more direct bookings

No one hotel product is the same.

We are not talking about interior design or service offers here.

We are talking about the component that makes a hotel truly unique: The way your team translates your vision and philosophy into an exclusive guest experience – something that cannot be copied by anyone else.

So how do you communicate that to your guests?

By being authentic and using the language and words that appeal to your target audience.

Let potential guests feel the fun, the excitement and the warm hospitality you offer. Point out the little things that make the big difference. Trigger emotions; make your readers smile and have them eager to find out more about your hotel. Once you’ve established a strong connection with your guests-to-be you’ve also motivated them to book with you directly.

Don’t sell hotel rooms, but instead sell character, personality and spirit – the traits of great hospitality

Check out these examples. Kimpton hotels are doing a fabulous job with their hotel websites (and their blogs!). Check out the tone and voice of this one, their New York hotel. Reading the short paragraph on the homepage alone already creates the perception that this hotel is some place special.

Or Virgin Hotels, chatting you up like a good old friend. You immediately feel pulled in. Check out the “policies” small print on their booking page. You have the sense of someone smiling sheepishly and whispering an apology into your ear.

Or have a look at this small, charming vacation property. Somehow you are immediately transported back to a different time and place.

Why do these websites stand out? They use emotional language to influence their readers

And that hotel marketing strategy has everything to do with peoples’ decision making process.

Neuroscience studies have shown that emotions play an important role in the way consumers make purchase decisions.

As much as we’d like to believe it, we do not make decisions based purely on rational and analytical weighting of factors and options.

It’s complex, and for the most part it’s our emotions that drive our buying behaviors. They help the image of a product stick in our minds and make future recognition stronger and easier.

How does that relate to direct bookings?

When potential guests have completed their research and seen loads of images and room descriptions, you want your hotel website to stand out in their minds.

A site with personality helps you create a lasting impression.

Creating this effect does not necessarily call for a huge and costly branding campaign. But it requires you to know your target audience very well and to speak to them authentically.

If you are doing it right, you are able to make them loyal followers of your unique hotel product. You can form strong relationships, and start to develop your own brand.

One size fits all does not work. Focus on your “ideal” customers, the ones that truly value your service offer, and plant yourself in their hearts and minds.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a large or small property, up market or budget – even as a chain hotel you can stand out as an individual brand within the brand.

Bärbel Pfeiffer
Bärbel Pfeiffer
Bärbel Pfeiffer is the founder of Text Spot On - creative hotel marketing that engages guests, generates leads and drives business.

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