Thursday, February 29, 2024

The 5 P’s of Storytelling for Hotel & Lodging Properties

As travelers scroll through endless hotel and lodging options online, there are a handful of critical questions running through their head: Is this the right property for me? Does it align with my identity & personality? How is this experience going to make me feel? Will it make me look good when I share it on social?

In less than a minute, these questions are answered by the story a property is telling on their listing, social media, and website. And while storytelling has become the hot buzzword for marketers over the last few years, the majority of hotels and lodges are still missing the mark.

Your story is about more than stringing together a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. And when you start looking at your marketing as more of a story and less of a billboard, you’re naturally doing 4 things:

Positioning your property favorably in the marketplace
Offering your brand’s unique Perspective
Taking on a magnetic Personality
And making a strong Promise to guests

And when these are strategically aligned, you get the 5th P: Profit!

You have likely had these marketing words thrown around in meetings before, but it’s time to look at them with fresh eyes in the context of your brand story. I have included an important reflection prompt with each P so you can start to explore how to create a more compelling story for your property.


Your brand story is a natural positioning tool because when you really get down to the heart of your story, you realize there is no other brand exactly like yours. When this is communicated correctly, it creates a clear, distinctive, and desirable place (relative to the competition) in the minds of your ideal guests. This is done without stating the obvious in overtly salesy and repelling copy such as “Pick us! We’re the best because we’re the most iconic/luxurious/insert-boasting-adjectives-here”

Reflect: What is 100% unique to our experience that none of our competitors can claim, and is it creatively expressed throughout our online experience?


When you do express your thoughtful story, you’re automatically expressing your point of view, a unique perspective that tells prospective guests where you stand. Your brand is always making a statement one way or another – so make it powerful and make it resonate! When you express a strong belief or idea that your ideal guests share or aspire to, you create an enthusiastic emotional bond with them.

Reflect: What is the powerful statement our experience is making?


This is where the 3rd P comes in: personality. Every single little detail from your website to your in-person experience is expressing characteristics that build up into one overarching personality. Just like you wouldn’t want to hang out with someone boring and vanilla, people don’t opt for experiences that are mundane or highly lacking in the personality department. When your brand’s charismatic personality shines through, it paints a picture for your prospective guests of what the experience would be like if they were there. It sets the stage and gives them a taste of what’s to come.

Reflect: If our brand was a person, how would we describe them? (we find that archetypical personality types are a great tool for diving deeper into the psychological profiles of hospitality brands)


This naturally segues into your experience promise: what expectations is your story setting? Your story and your marketing are making promises whether you realize it or not. This happens so quickly and often subconsciously. Your guests are internalizing hundreds of details in less than a minute so they can come to a conclusion as to whether or not your experience could potentially satisfy their desires.

Reflect: What signals are we sending to prospective guests with our choice of words, images, colors, shapes, styles, etc.?

In the commoditized world of travel, in a world where people’s demands, desires, and expectations are rising, blending in is the last thing hotels can afford to do. And a standout story ensures that you’re attracting your ideal guests online, setting proper expectations for your on-site experience, and giving guests a great story to tell their friends and family about.

Your brand story is the only way to give prospective guests a taste of what your experience is really like. Your experience IS your story come to life.

Turn your guests into your best storytellers with a storied experience worth talking about!

Hotel Speak Community
Hotel Speak Community
Posted by the Hotel Speak Community, made up from a wide range of talented hospitality professionals.

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