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5 ways to use storytelling to increase hotel revenue

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

As consumers become more and more design savvy when checking in to a hotel, marketing expert Chloe Bennet from UK Services Reviews explores ways in which hotels can increase their profits with the perfect narrative… 

Storytelling is an invaluable component of any hotel marketing strategy. Sharing the right narrative is perfect for content marketing as well as creating a bio that allows hotels to connect with their audience. Here are six ways to use storytelling to increase hotel revenue.

People tell stories, and listen to stories, every day without even realising it. “Stories resonate with customers on a deep, human level. In order to succeed in this industry, your marketing efforts must go beyond simply selling hotel rooms at a certain price. You need to connect with your customer base on an emotional level, so that you can make yourself stand out in an overcrowded and competitive market,” suggests Jose Guenther, storyteller at Academized. The digital age has created a ton of opportunities for marketers to use storytelling, which is fortunate because many customers are wary of conventional marketing tactics.

“It’s all about weaving together the different strands to create an interesting and engaging narrative.”

1) Visual storytelling and hotel marketing online

So how do we go about using online storytelling to increase hotel revenue? It’s all about weaving together the different strands to create an interesting and engaging narrative. Guests checking in are a lot less concerned with basic elements such as amenities and information about the room. It’s not that these things aren’t important, it’s just that in the digital age, guests are looking for visuals of what a hotel has to offer. Whenever you can, tell your story through high resolution photographs, combined with riveting narratives. Hotels should focus on interactive storytelling whenever possible, using things like short videos that shows off the hotel’s best features. It’s hard to go wrong with video content, as long as you keep in mind how short attention spans are online.

2) Shaping your digital story

A hotel’s number one job when crafting its story is to create a connection with its audience. Consumers tend to make purchasing decisions based on how they feel, not how they think. If a hotel wants to connect with its audience in this way, it has to get to know its guests first. Target the right segments, learn what they’re looking for, and create content that appeals to them and their needs. Segments and groups will respond differently to different forms of content, so don’t take a shotgun approach that tries to market to everyone at once. A great story told through the wrong kind of content will not be as effective.

3) Make your stories authentic

A hotel’s stories should feel real and have a natural flow to them. If a hotel can include stories from its guests, then that is even better. There’s no reason for a hotel to make stories up, instead hotels should have a wealth of stories and experiences to draw from. Make the story align with the strongest aspects of the hotel, whatever that may be.

4) Storytelling methods

There are a ton of different ways to tell your story, and you’ll probably find there are multiple ones that work for your situation and audience. Will you take advantage of the two-way communication that using social media offers? Maybe you’ll even put the call out to your audience to create some original content. Each hotel’s methods will depend on its audience and its goals. It’s critical that hotels have a goal that can be measured, so they can determine how effective its storytelling is. Data collecting should work to steer the storytelling strategy back on course if it needs correcting or adjustments.

5) Tell better stories by improving your writing skills

To use storytelling to increase your hotel revenue, you’ll need to be writing at a decent level. A lot of people don’t even realise where their writing weaknesses lie. Thanks to the online age, though, there are a number of effective websites out their to help professionals start writing the first chapter:

  • ViaWriting and MyWritingWay – Use these grammar resources to check over your copy for grammatical errors. Don’t risk leaving in mistakes that can discredit you and make you look like an amateur.
  • Big Assignments and Assignment Help – Check out these editing tools, they’ve been reviewed positively by Revieweal and can make your life a lot easier.
  • WritingPopulist and LetsGoandLearn – Read through these writing blogs and improve your knowledge about the writing process. Even if you’re an experienced writer you can find some helpful suggestions and tips here.
  • OXEssays and AustralianReviewer – These online proofreading tools, recommended at BestBritishEssays, are the perfect solution to leaving typos in your copy. Why risk leaving an error in when there are tools that can help?
  • SimpleGrad and State Of Writing – Try out these online writing guides. If you’re struggling with storytelling, there’s a good chance it’s because you’re rushing out drafts without following the proper writing process.

Guests have a myriad of options when it comes to hotels, so it’s crucial to get creative. Good storytelling can differentiate a hotel from the crowd and allow it to form an emotional connection with your audience by sharing its unique personality.

Main image credit: Pexels

Marketing for the modern age: Conversion Rate Optimisation – the new ‘SEO’

Hamish Kilburn

For four weeks, Hotel Designs is working with author and CEO of DHM, Adam Hamadache, in order to explore the minefield of marketing. In his second article in the series of four, Hamadache explores a new acronym that should be on every hotel group’s radar, CRO… 

For years, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has dominated the rhetoric, and discussion around digital marketing in the boutique hotel sector. SEO of course being the process of optimising your website in such a way that moves its listing further up the rankings on search engines like Google for search terms that fit the product best. In short, SEO is about more relevant traffic to your website.

However, a new acronym has popped up in recent years, and it’s worth taking note. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) is the process of analysing website data in a bid to improve the amount of transactions achieved, relative to the volume of traffic received. Or in plain English: trying to squeeze as much business out of your website as possible.

The reason CRO – rather than SEO – should be on your radar, is best explained by the “leaky bucket” analogy. The basic premise being that your website is very much like a water bucket with lots of tiny holes in it. SEO is akin to pouring more water in at the top, whereas CRO is identifying where those holes are, and plugging them. The argument here being; CRO is the far wiser pursuit, in an attempt to keep more water in the bucket.

“The general rule of thumb is that if you keep browsers on your website for longer, the chances of them turning from ‘looker’ to ‘booker’ increases.”

An example of one of these ‘holes’ might be the image gallery page on your website, where perhaps 20 per cent of your traffic is leaving your website because the page is too slow to load. The ‘plugging’ of this ‘hole’ would be to speed up the loading time of this page, reducing the amount of people who get frustrated and leave. Simple, but effective.

Whilst this one small change is unlikely to rocket your conversion stats, the general rule of thumb is that if you keep browsers on your website for longer, the chances of them turning from ‘looker’ to ‘booker’ increases.

An advanced CRO strategy goes beyond just speeding up the load time and can involve things like split-testing landing pages – the process of serving 50% of your website’s traffic to version A of the website, and the other half to version B to determine which version converts best.

Put into practice, this might also involve the use of geo-targeted landing pages, using a sophisticated IP address tracking tool to determine the location of the web-browser, and using that information to present them a homepage most likely to serve them best. Whilst the technicalities of this can be complex, the premise of serving food and beverage imagery and copy to web-browsers within close proximity of the hotel, and accommodation-themed content to those a little further afield makes logical sense and can vastly improve conversion rates.

“And therein lies the other big problem with SEO – it’s more difficult than ever to work your way up the ranks.”

Yes, the technology of websites has moved on, but why should a CRO budget be replacing your SEO budget, you might wonder? Chances are, your hotel website doesn’t need more traffic, it just needs to convert more of it. It’s not uncommon for a 30-bedroom property to receive over 5,000 unique users to its website each month, but average one booking a day through its direct channel.

In the above website example, 5,000 unique users are needed to achieve 30 bookings each month: a conversion rate of 0.6 per cent. To achieve one extra booking per day, an SEO strategy would need to deliver an extra 5,000 unique users each month, whereas a CRO strategy would need to find just an extra 30 customers out of the original 5,000. Needless to say, it’s a great deal easier and cheaper to double your website’s conversion rate, than it is to double your traffic.

And therein lies the other big problem with SEO – it’s more difficult than ever to work your way up the ranks, let alone double the volume of traffic. Google’s become incredibly smart, to the point where the strategies that guaranteed higher traffic just 3 years ago, actively work against your website today. And who’s to say that the things your SEO agency are doing today, won’t change next year and undo all their good work?

Whilst this is unlikely, Google’s algorithms are almost certain to continue to adapt and become smarter, leaving a “traffic plateau effect” for businesses like boutique hotels, unable to rank high for the most lucrative search terms, but served a healthy and well-proportioned dose of traffic for their needs.

The point is, and has always been this: it’s not important how much traffic your website gets, rather how much of that traffic goes onto convert into a booking. CRO – the intelligent use of data and technology to convert more sales – should be prioritised over SEO based on both logical and economical grounds.

About the author

Adam Hamadache is the author of Amazon No.1 best-selling hotel book The Direct Method and the CEO of hotel marketing agency DHM. Having worked with hotels (including his own) for more than 10 years, Hamadache has created a proven marketing strategy to reduce over-reliance on expensive third party bookings. 

The first article in this serires by Hamadache explored why hotels should be ‘remarketing’ themselves

Main image credit: Pixabay