Points, Privileges, Honors, Rewards, Club, Preferred Guest, World Of … Whatever it was named most hotels have, or have had, a loyalty scheme. According to recent consumer research from Kantar, 71% of consumers now claim that loyalty incentive programs don’t make them loyal at all. Instead, in this era of digital-based competition and customer control, people are increasingly buying because of a brand’s relevance to their needs at that moment.
Marketing objectives in 2019 need to be focussed on building emotional connections and not loyalty databases. Personalisation doesn’t resonate and doesn’t cut through anymore. Use data insights to understand the consumer's emotional drivers and reasons for consideration, combined with marketing activity at the right time, in the right channels, will resonate and drive results. Feeling an emotional connection to a brand outweighs rational considerations such as price, location or facilities next time they choose to book a stay.
Emotional triggers are a tried and tested way to influence decision making in all media. Online and social media are even more effective channels because of the limited attention span of audiences and cost efficiencies of the media. Storytelling is the trump card. By making marketing messages more memorable, content more exciting and emotional, storytelling is what drives more business.
Integrate stories into your hotel marketing ideas, focus on the benefits rather than your property’s features and show the experiences and emotions provided by property features. For example, a pool isn’t just a pool. It’s a place where children can play, families can connect, and adults can relax.
Focus on the key stories and start telling these ‘stories’ in as many ways and places as possible. Language can turn a typical hotel website page into an emotional story. For example, ‘Destination Guide’ with helpful information about nearby sights and attractions for guests ahead of their stay is factual. But ‘Prepare for Your Adventure’ creates the emotion of discovery and a sense of the experience they will have.
People are typically absent from hotel image libraries. Introducing people into at least some of your images instantly tells a story, illustrates an experience, heightens emotion and will stand out from the rest. Allow customers to tell their own story with user-generated content (UGC), both written and visual. This can be the ultimate source of storytelling. From the reviews that guests leave, to the videos they post on social media - UGC speak volumes in authentic, emotional, experiential ways.
Seeking out the emotional connection with a fresh look and a new approach in 2019 will deliver much better results. Make sure the content is ‘evergreen’ and suitable for year round use for maximum success and return on investment.
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