This post is perfect for you if:
- You’re working with hospitality marketing
- You’re the owner of a hotel who has a great story to tell!
- You’re interested in marketing trends and branding
- You’d like to get to know the concept of ‘storytelling’ better
Storytelling as a branding tool
With the massive amount of content being published across digital media every single day, it can be a daunting task for any marketing manager to make a hotel or hospitality brand stand out from the crowds. So how can you approach it? The quick answer: learn and master the fine art of storytelling (or outsource it to someone who’s good at it!)
Storytelling is the buzzword of our time, but let’s be honest; it’s a tale as old as time itself. Still, only few know how to do it really well. At its core, storytelling is the art of crafting an experience around a particular focus, intention and desired outcome, but as with most good things in life, it takes time to develop and bring to life. The good news: we have more tools than ever to tell and disseminate stories. The bad news: storytelling has, per definition, become so common that it’s hard to navigate through the masses, not to mention the quality. And let me make it clear; there’s a big difference between good storytelling and great storytelling.
I’m often asked why I decided to run a business evolving around content creation (which is the read thread of storytelling) for hotels and hospitality brands. If it needs an answer apart from me loving to help service-based brands tell their stories (whether it’s through photos, written content or video), it’s simply because I noticed a big need of quality content in the hospitality industry. Hotels are the perfect benchmarks for telling stories; they have a clear purpose, different characters, they deal with human emotions and they trigger our longings and desires. Or at least, that’s what they should do. And with the new emerging trend of transforming hotels into “institutions”, where ALL needs are basically met (long gone are the days where a hotel was just a hotel; guest crave real experiences!), two more aspects of great storytelling comes into play; the surprising and unexpected elements. Basically, this deals with the fact that our perceptions of “what’s normal” are being challenged. Do your clients expect your hotel to offer 24-hour butler service, a famous spa experience, perhaps even a small cinema – or simply just homemade snacks in the room?! Let them know! It’s all part of your story.
Great storytelling is a tool for hotels to build a powerful personal brand – which a hotel always should be! It enables the hotel to connect with its target customers through emotional bonds, without having to break the budget. And it certainly has the power to transform the reality of any hotel, whether it’s big or small, luxurious or budget-friendly. Personal branding and storytelling are two sides of the same coin.
So are you still wondering WHY storytelling should be a part of your hotel marketing? Let me break it down for you.
4 reasons to use storytelling in your hotel marketing strategy:
- Stories inspire people to travel spontaneously. Create that “I-need-to-get-away”-feelings from your website and through your words and pictures. Perhaps even videos.
- If you provide relevant information to your customers (not only details about your hotel, but also about the surroundings etc.), you’re more likely to get bookings! Did you know that close on 70% of travelers are more likely to book with hotels that give relevant information about the destination itself? You should always be providing value, not only through your own services.
- Stories make it easier for potential customers to place themselves in your hotel. People want to know what it’s really like, how it feels, how it will make them feel. Yes, there’s a whole lot of feelings involved in telling a great story!
- Any hotel will stand stronger and gain more trust from both future customers and employees if their brand message and storytelling is in place. A hotel can provide a lot of travel content, but it should always be the integral part of the experience á la “the adventure can only happen with/through us”.
While I’ll always be an advocate of the written word, it’s important to stress the fact that storytelling isn’t just in written form. Photos and video aka visual storytelling is easier for us to digest and process. A picture literally speaks a thousand words – and then add a thousand more when talking videos! In visual storytelling, no language is needed, which means you can potentially reach a far bigger (global) audience, if that’s what you wish for. In my opinion, a mix of words and visuals works best. Balance is key, as they say.
Next week, I’ll be diving into the topic of clichés in storytelling – and how to avoid them! 🙂