You've heard it before. Everyone has a story. Well, every place has a story too. And with summer travel season upon us, hotels can benefit from the amazing number of customer stories that are happening right this moment.
As the use of stories in marketing campaigns continues to gain popularity, some of the world's most innovative hotel brands are cashing in on their customer's experiences. Think about it. There is so much competition out there in the hotel business - what would convince a customer to book with you?
Two things. Experience - and story. If I decide to invest in a luxury hotel, I've decided to invest in a particular brand for the way it will make me FEEL. At the point when I click the mouse to book the room, I want to feel as if I'm booking an experience - not just a transaction. If I've done my research using social media, I also want to be convinced that my decision is the right one based on the majority of stories given to me by other customers. This is a group mentality decision, but an individual one as well. If there's a story the hotel can add to help convince me to book with them (ie. a cool historical fact or awesome location), then I'd be happy to hear it.
So how can hotel brands stand out to entice more customers? Use stories! Author and hotel consultant Daniel Edward Craig is a hotel industry veteran. He claims that hoteliers are natural storytellers, and that hotels are a rich and unlimited resource for stories. And what better way to bring in the customer than to engage them in story? Craig goes on to list storytelling examples used by some of the world's leading hotel brands. There's a hotel in Paris that tells its story through a crafty and engaging video. Sheraton and Fairmont have created online communities for guests and staff to share their stories. A hotel in Stockholm actually scans handwritten notes by guests and posts them to their website.
Travelling and adventure bring out a shared sense of time and place. Hotels that are able to capture this universal theme and incorporate it into their brand marketing will be able to tap into the imagination (and eventually pocketbooks) of their customers.
Here's a picture taken during our first trip to New Orleans. The photo was taken inside the lobby of the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Rather than describe the warmth and magnificence of this place (reminiscent of another place and time), I'll let the picture do the talking. What story does this photo have to tell - and what does it say about the Royal Sonesta brand?