Rooms or a great hotel experience? The hotel marketing experiment.

Does YOUR hotel marketing attract guests?

“We’ve visited your website and have all the information we need. We have looked at your location and know the range of rooms, but we have a problem: there is so much to choose from in your area that we have difficulty picking a hotel. What would you say, what distinguishes you from your competitors in the surrounding area?”

How would YOUR staff respond?

But one after another.

What makes brands desirable products? In their marketing, brands convey certain feelings and values, they create trust and show their customers that they understand them.
In short, they connect with their target audience.

Customers feel attracted, start sharing content,
the attention and the level of awareness increase and the brand slowly anchors itself in the memory of its target audience.

Red Bull “gives you wings”, Nike shows you that anything is possible and urges you to “never stop winning” , or IKEA that makes you feel, you and your friend are having an amicable chat about the pleasurable things in life..

But what about hotels?

Is hotel marketing effective?

Are hotel rooms still the focus of the sales talk, or does the unique hotel experience come to the fore?
How do hotel employees see their hotel and how do they market it?

Does a hotel team sell great experiences

or does it sell rooms and beds?

I wanted to know more and decided to make some calls …

After compiling several hotels in the same category and in the same area, I started my hotel marketing experiment.
I explained that we were a small group, were looking for a nice hotel but couldn’t make up our minds.
I asked the question, you’ve already seen above:

“We have visited your website and have all the information we need. We have looked at your location and know the range of rooms, but we have a problem: there is so much to choose from in your area that we have difficulty picking a hotel. What would you say, what distinguishes you from your competitors in the surrounding area? “

A moment of silence and my contact person on the other end did exactly what we are all well trained in in
the hotel industry:

What followed was a description of the room categories, the hotel facilities and the convenient location of the hotel.

But that was information I already had, so I repeated my question:

I wanted to know what differentiates them from the competition around the corner.

On the other side of the phone line, they made an effort to find an appropriate answer, but apart from new
references to the facilities and amenities came – NOTHING.

No answer from the next hotel on my list, and none from the one after that …

I tried my luck in over 30 hotels, spoke to people in reservations, at reception, and in sales offices,
with concierges and guest services – and always with the same outcome.

In one hotel, in the desperate effort to come up with an answer, they connected me from reception to guest services to reservation and finally to the sales department. They gave it a good try, but still couldn’t come up with a result.

As nobody could figure out what to do with my question, I shifted the conversation specifically towards hospitality.

I asked what guests said about their stay at that particular hotel and how the hotel defined and implemented hospitality. How did they make their guests happy? What made their hotel different from the others?

It led to nowhere. The hotel people reacted with incomprehension, frustration and even slight panic.

It was the representative of a small 3-star boutique hotel that gave me my only (!) answer. When she understood what I was looking for, she enthusiastically described the personal service of “her” hotel. She told me how the hotel pleasantly surprised their guests with small attentive gestures and how many regular guests they had because of it.

She talked about the fun of her guests during the daily cocktail hour in the art deco lobby, and I could feel how proud and passionate she was at her hotel. She described a brilliant hotel experience.

To this day, I can still remember the name and location of this hotel.

Because a receptionist painted me the picture of a lovely hotel experience …
This is what hotel marketing for more guests looks like.

In a hotel, the focus is on people and
that’s how it should be in your hotel marketing.

Emotional copy attracts more business to your hotel, because it connects you with your favorite guests.

People tend to remember products (and hotels!) that trigger feelings.

You can bring about these emotions when you focus with your marketing on your hotel experience.

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You want to attract more of your dream guests and book directly, at the prices that your great service deserves?

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