Oct 10, 2018

What’s your hotel’s story?

How to discover your hotel’s story and share it with your guests

When people ask you about your hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast, what do you tell them? Do you talk about the quality of the rooms, the welcoming staff, the facilities? If you do, I bet you’ve noticed their eyes glazing over. They’ve heard it all before.

Or do you tell them what makes your accommodation special? Do you talk about how long it’s been in your family or why you opened it? Do you tell them about the people behind the business? Why you’re so passionate about what you do? Perhaps your business is heavily involved in community events or you’re committed to running eco-friendly accommodation. This is what people want to know about!

Every hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast has a story. That story will humanise your brand and help you connect with potential guests on a deeper level to attract more business.

What makes you unique

There are certain things guests expect from your place. Obviously, you’ll have bedrooms, bathrooms and perhaps a reception area. Perhaps you have extra facilities, such as a pool or gym, peaceful gardens or a children’s playground. Maybe you are famous for your tasty traditional Irish breakfast or you leave complimentary refreshments in each room.

Guess what? So do your competitors! They may well offer even more than you do.

If you want to entice guests away from your competition, you need to determine what makes you different and this is where your story comes in. This is what makes you unique and you need to share it with as many people as possible.

There are so many possible stories you could tell. You might own a family-run business, so you could talk about what it’s like to carry on the family tradition. Maybe there’s a particular service you offer that’s the main reason for people coming to you, such as a spa or yoga classes or guided walks. Perhaps there’s something about your hotel that makes it stand out, such as a rumoured haunting or special feature of the building, like turrets or an indoor garden.

Writing your story

Stories are universal. We’ve been telling each other stories since the dawn of time. A well-written narrative is a proven way of attracting the attention of potential customers, who’ll want to become part of it.

Get your story right, and people will want to tell it to others, winning you more attention by word-of-mouth. Nothing’s more powerful than personal testimony and recommendations.

However, not everyone’s a wordsmith and you may be reading this wondering how you can write your accommodation’s story when you’re tied up with the day-to-day running of the business. Once you get started, though, you’ll find it’s easier than you think.

Ask yourself:

  • Why? Why do you run this particular hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast in this particular location? Think back to when you first started out and remember what attracted you to your place. Were you wanting to give families a break? Give couples a romantic escape? Or maybe you’ve taken over a business that’s been in your family for years. How has it changed over time? Alternatively, how have you maintained the same priorities and attitudes? Even if your business doesn’t have a long history (yet), you can still talk about the steps you went through to get to where you are today
  • Who? Who is your target audience and what motivates them? Whether you’re reaching out to families, businesspeople, travellers or any other demographic, you’ll need to tailor your story to their interests. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Not only is it impossible, you’ll end up with bland, generic text that blends into the background. Niche down to your core audience and let them know who you’re talking to. This will help shape the tale you tell.
  • What? What is there about your hotel that makes people want to stay with you? Perhaps it’s as simple as the quality of the accommodation… but try to dig a little deeper. Is it the people? Your services? The history of your family, the building or area? Have you customised your services to meet the specific needs of your guests?
  • How? How do you feel about your hotel? What emotions do you want to inspire? What type of atmosphere do you want to create? Emotions are at the heart of a good story, so you’ll need to identify how people, including you, your staff and your guests, feel about your hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast.

Once you’ve identified your story, it’s time to start incorporating it into your marketing strategy. Everything you do, every social media post, blog, website content, etc. should link directly back to your story.

Remembering your story

What do you think someone’s more likely to remember? A dry list of facts and figures? Or a compelling story that incorporates those facts and presents them in a new way?

Stories are one of the most effective ways of committing something to memory. If you want people to know all about your place, a story will get the message across immediately. What’s more, people love sharing good stories, so get it right, and visitors will tell all their friends, family and colleagues.

Don’t be shy about talking about the lows as well as the highs. People love a good underdog story and learning how you managed to overcome challenges will make them warm to you.

Utilising your story

A story lends itself to visual illustrations. Perhaps you’d like to make a video of your hotel’s story. Your story tells the tale of how your B&B is based in a former church and the building still boasts many of the original features. You’ve taken that theme further and incorporated some of the artwork from your stained-glass windows in your stationary. The uniqueness of your building has attracted some famous visitors, who’ve signed the guest book.

Your video should showcase all of this before you post it on your website and across social media, where it’ll reach your target audience. Since your story is visual, it’s much easier for people to imagine what it will be like to stay with you long before they arrive.

Staying true to your voice

Modern consumers are savvy. They can immediately tell when you’re trying to sell something to them. But when you tell a story, while you’re still marketing, it’s in a manner people can respect. You’re appealing directly to an individual through the power of your tale.

Give people an insight into what it’s really like at your accommodation. Tell your story and stay faithful to who you are. You may even like to include actual guests in your story to add validity. They can tell their own stories about the effect your hotel had on them and how their stay has shaped their personal history.

The way you tell your story matters too and reveals something about your brand personality. All too often, businesses seem to confuse good writing with formality, but when you’re trying to humanise your brand, you need to write your story as if you’re talking to someone face-to-face. If you try to stay formal, you’ll end up sounding dull and dry – just like everyone else. Humour can be a great way to make a positive connection, as well as making your brand seem more relatable.

Or perhaps you might like to appeal to someone’s sense of nostalgia. Perhaps you have a themed accommodation that’s set in a particular era or you’re targeting more mature travellers. You could use music from a particular period to transport someone back in time and show them you understand where they’ve been and where they want to go.

Happy ever after…

Modern marketing is all about building relationships and a story is hands down the best way to do this.

Once you’ve written your hotel’s story, it will energise how you talk about your accommodation, helping you increase bookings. Use your story in every aspect of your marketing strategy and create content based on your story using a wide range of media. This will help you promote your hotel without actively selling it, while helping you stand out from your competition in a way they can’t match.

At MarketingPeach, we create effective, attractive websites that promote your story to help you generate more bookings. We can also provide everything you need to entice visitors to make a reservation, including compelling storytelling that makes an emotional connection.

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