.

.

In the last decade, when it’s been time to book a vacation, your potential guests have become researchers.

In the past, it might have been normal for them to call on a travel agent to book the perfect getaway. Today, holiday researchers are their own travel agents.

What does that mean for you?

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

.

.

With a wide selection of property websites and booking platforms to choose from, hospitality properties need to be extra savoir-faire when it comes to getting the attention of potential new customers. One sure way to accomplish this, using customer-focused storytelling. 

.

Today, your customers want more. They don’t usually choose a property because of the food, the decor or the pool deck chairs. They choose a property because of the possible experiences they will get when they stay at a bed and breakfast, hotel or resort.

.

They want to feel the experiences. They want to be transported to another world, at least the duration of their trip.

.

So, your job as a hospitality property owner or manager is to share the stories about the experiences your guests will have. Through your stories, help them to imagine as they click through your website what it will feel like at your property and make it almost impossible for them not to book you.

.

You might think this is a difficult task, but this could not be further from the truth.

.

Good hospitality property storytellers online are moving away from the boring, standardised text and descriptions of amenities, instead of using big, beautiful, bold images with appealing narratives and captivating short videos, fitting to today’s multi-device, multi-channel universe.

.

.

.

.

1. Target your key customer

You can’t be everything to everyone so you have to decide who your target audience is and build your strategy around that. You can do that by asking yourself:

  • What types of travellers who come through my doors?

.

  • What are some of their most common requests?

.

  • What do they enjoy doing, and how does that tie into my property?

.

.

2. Determine your brand’s voice

How do you want to communicate with guests? Truly professional? Fun and quirky? Relaxed and conversational? Think about the tone of voice that best suits your brand and stick with it.

.

Start with your brand and think about what makes your property unique. Your brand is not your logo or your tag line, it is the reason to do business with you and usually, it’s a combination of ingredients that set you apart. These have to be based on reality, not aspirations.

.

And this is important because if you can’t determine what sets you apart, you may have a bigger problem; one that has nothing to do with and cannot be solved by your website.

.

.

3. Think about your story

List all the benefits your property has to offer, and what values you share with your target customer.

.

What interesting stories does your property have to share? Is your property steeped in history, or are you a leader in eco-awareness and green practices.

.

What about your region and how do you fit into that narrative. Do you get involved in your local community, does your area have any interesting attractions?

.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it and how it makes them feel, and the measured results of visual storytelling are to respond to these two reality checks.

.

.

.

.

4. Create a content plan

Once you’ve given some thought to the information above, schedule a monthly content plan. Determine how often you should post the content ideas you’ve outlined and stick to it. Long gone are the days of having your posts or social media platforms gather dust between annual updates.

.

.

5. Tell your story in an engaging way

Be a storyteller.

Many hospitality properties fall into the trap of describing the features rather than the emotions of their property. Use stories to help make your website look, feel and sound as closely as possible to the actual guest experience.

.

Images and video always trump text.

.Photos are just as powerful as words – equally for your website and your social media. Just as your words shouldn’t focus on features, neither should your photos. Make your website come to life by showcasing images of what your guests will experience – hiking through breathtaking locations, splashing each other in the pool, reading on a balcony with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, laughing over a delicious dinner. Your photos are living beings and great art-forms to bring your guest experiences to life. 

.

Video is arguably the most powerful storytelling tool at your disposal. It can evoke a mood and capture the spirit of your property that sparks the imaginations of your guests.

.

These days, savvy travel marketers understand that video is most effective when it taps into the deeper, emotional reasons that people choose to take a trip.

.

.

6. Differentiate your story with a tone of voice

A tone of voice is not what you say, but how you say it — for example, by adopting a conversational, formal, witty or quirky tone.

.

OTAs list thousands of properties and need to market them to an incredibly wide and diverse audience. For this reason, they use a specific tone of voice and format for every property listed.

.

Adopting a neutral tone as part of a uniform template serves this purpose, but inevitably makes every property listing seem the same.

.

That’s why crafting a distinct tone of voice for your property website is vital — it allows you to stand out from the crowd by showcasing your property’s personality and building an all-important emotional connection with your audience. In fact, research shows that people buy on emotion and then justify with logic.

.

Your tone should also accurately reflect the experience you offer and the feeling of what it’s like to stay with you. When you get this combination right and tap into the mindset of your audience, you’ll build a rapport with them that’s far stronger than using a generic tone to appeal to everyone.

.

.

7. Keep your website and social media content current and interesting. 

Once you have created your new image – don’t rest on your laurels. Your website is a living thing and should reflect all the new things your property has to offer. So make changes often with new stories, new packages, new photos and videos. 

.

When drafting your stories, be sure to include keywords your target customers will be searching for in their research. However, remember your customers are not robots so, don’t be too heavy on adjectives and resist the temptation to go overboard with your SEO keywords. Your first responsibility is to your reader and their user experience. 

.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Listen to their feedback, what they love and what they appreciate most about your property. Fill your website and social media content with storytelling that will transport your prospects and customers to the getaway they are dreaming about. It’s easier than you think.

.

.

 Is this making sense so far? Let me know by leaving a comment below

.

.

.

8. Accentuate your story with colours

The impact of colour on your audience should not be overlooked. Specific colours have been found to alter brand perceptions, and research has shown that 85% of shoppers say that colour was a primary reason for their purchase decision.

.

The choice of colour gives a snapshot of your hospitality properties persona, subconsciously communicating a feeling that goes beyond words.

.

.

9. Elicit user-generated content from your guests

For a hospitality property owner, nothing is quite as satisfying as seeing guests getting involved with the properties narrative in a positive way. It creates great social proof and turns people into vocal ambassadors for your brand.

.

Take the lead and create a hashtag relevant to your brand and encourage people to submit their favourite photographs from their stay with you, or adventures in your region.

.

.

In conclusion

It’s time to tell your story.

.

While Online Travel Agencies are focused on communicating practical information, your properties website can tell an engaging and unique story that inspires your customers.

.

By featuring a unique design and original content, you can spark a sense of wanderlust among your audience and build an emotional connection that incentives them to book directly with you.

.

.

TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY CONSULTING:

https://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/KHDC139

.

.

And don’t forget to join the “6 Day Challenge” here:

.

.

RESOURCES & LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

.

Storyteller Authority Checklistdownload

http://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/storytelling-tips

.

The Keystone HDC Training Tutorials

https://courses.keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/

.

.

Join our community in “The Hospitality Property School Group” –Check it Out for One Full Week for Only $1

http://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/membership-site

.

__________

TWEET THIS VIDEO:

“Storytelling Tips to Showcase Your Hospitality Property” Video @KeystoneHDC

 https://youtu.be/MJjf_9KJNQo

__________

.

Say hi on social:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeystoneHDC

.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeystoneHDC

.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/keystone-hospitality-development

.

.

Listen to The Hospitality Property School Podcast here:

https://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/itunes-podcast

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/hospitality-property-school

.

.

YouTube

“Storytelling Tips to Showcase Your Hospitality Property” Video