The phrase ‘experiential travel’ is spreading like wildfire around the tourism industry today. Technology has created a world where we can watch others fulfilling their travel bucket lists at any time, anywhere. We are exposed to more travel opportunities and therefore expect more. In order for your hotel to be remembered and to stand out from the crowd, you need to market it as an experience rather than a product and, as obvious as it sounds, make your potential customers aware of this. Sentiment officially outweighs logic. This means that even if your hotel is a little more expensive or that bit further away than its competitors, it can still be a number one choice for guests. Attract guests with your added values, then use these values to ‘wow’ them.
Personalize to Encourage Social Advocacy
The first and easiest way to ensure that your hotel is remembered fondly by your guest is by adding personal touches to their stay. Think of services that are thoughtful, convenient, and won’t break your hotel’s bank. A great idea that the Urban House have introduced is the ‘Breakfast Bag’. Fill a little carrier bag with snacks along the lines of a fruit, pastry, cereal bar and a bottle of water to keep hunger pangs at bay for your guests on the go. If your guest returns to the area, these little perks that they experienced at their previous stay will encourage them to book with your hotel again. Furthermore, authentic, personalized perks get shared on social media. This will spread the word that your hotel goes the extra mile to potential guests.
Take Advantage of Your Location
More often than not, the inspiration for a trip starts with the destination. According to this post by Google Think, 82% of leisure travelers haven’t chosen the accommodation type when they first start thinking about a trip. Use this to your advantage and put your hotel’s local knowledge into use. If you don’t know of the good spots, your employees will! A local guide filled with recommendations of what to do and where to go is invaluable for tourists that are unfamiliar with the area.
Furthermore, many hotels are recognising the growing importance of experience, offering extravagant sunrise yoga and star gazing platforms to their guests. You can also jump on this bandwagon of boasting your location’s natural assets- without it costing you an arm and a leg. This is great idea by the Fancombe Estate. They have managed to take advantage of the UK’s rainy weather and turn it into a unique experience. Wellies and umbrellas are available for their guests to borrow while they take a mapped walk around the hotel grounds. Make sure to include these quirky, authentic experiences on your hotel’s website to stand out to potential guests.
Use Google Analytics to determine where the majority of your guests are visiting from. If they are from foreign countries, market to them and tempt them with being immersed into the culture of your country. Little events and occasions that will teach tourists of the traditions of your country will take your hotel the extra mile.
If the majority of your guests are those partaking in a ‘stay-cation’, highlight the unique assets of your specific location in your country. Display the food on your restaurant’s menu that is unique to your exact location. For example, if your hotel is in the West of Ireland you could host a taster evening of Galway oysters.
Create a hashtag to accompany these cultural events to get your hotel trending on social media sites. Read this article for more ideas on how to spread brand awareness and more importantly, the awareness that your hotel is fantastic value for money.
Attracting guests to your hotel is one thing, but convincing them to return is a whole other ball game. The expectation of travel is evolving to be more immersive, authentic and adventurous. Therefore, you must create experiences that your guests would never find in the traditional tourism industry. Ensure that your hotel provides today’s travelers with the personal, unforgettable experience that they are yearning for.