Does Your hotel team sell great experiences, or does it sell rooms and beds?

A few years ago I started an interesting experiment.

I called several hotels (hotels of the same category and in the same neighborhood) and asked the following question:

“We visited your website and we have all the information we need. We know the location and your room offer, but we have one problem: there is so much choice in your area that it’s difficult to decide on a hotel. What would You say, what sets you apart from your competitors here in the surrounding area?”

A moment of silence and the person on the other end did exactly what we are all trained best to do in the hospitality industry: describing room categories, hotel amenities and listing the benefits of their location.

But that was information that I already had and so I repeated my question: I wanted to know what set them apart from the competition around the corner.

I could almost feel the strain on the other end of the line looking for a reasonable response, but it seemed that no one could give me a satisfactory answer … I talked to people in the reservation, at the front desk, with sales offices, concierges, and guest services.

(In one of the hotels I had to pose my question three (!) different times, because I was connected to three different departments, but again, I received no answer)

Since my question obviously led to no result, I tried differently and steered the conversation towards hospitality in order to detect a difference between the different hotels. I inquired how they expressed hospitality in their home and what they did differently than the other hotels to offer their guests a thoroughly enjoyable stay.

Following this question, things went downhill – confusion, frustration, and even a slight panic, where just some of the reactions I experienced.

In the end, it was the representative of a small 3-star boutique hotel that gave me my only answer. When she realized what I was looking for, she began to describe with enthusiasm the personal service of “her” hotel, giving examples of how the hotel delighted its guests with small, pleasant gestures and how many repeaters they had because of it.

She talked to me about the fun her guests had during the hotel’s daily cocktail hour in the Art Deco lobby, and it showed how much pride and passion she had for “her” hotel.

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How to make your hotel a brand and get yourself heard by the guests that are really important to you …

To this day, a few years later, I can still remember the name and location of this hotel, simply because this receptionist did not describe her “product” to me, but was able to paint a picture of what I would expect if I were visiting as a guest.

If your marketing message is about the magic of your hospitality, you’ll attract potential guests with the prospect of a great experience.

An experience guests are willing to pay for! And not simply a nice room that you can easily be had elsewhere.

When you talk about your hospitality, you STAND OUT