I have written a lot about hotel marketing in the past. And I have received good traction on all of them.
However, lately, I have realized that there’s one aspect of it that needs a little more attention — educating guests (both existing and potential).
Wondering what exactly are we going to cover?
Well, you can take this blog as your one-stop guide to building GENUINE connections with your existing and potential guests.
Not exaggerating, but they are going to love your hotel and your hospitality even more if you incorporate the ideas from this blog.
Important note before we start: The language of this blog is going to be casual and from my POV.
Let’s jump to the topic at hand.
Hotel Marketing from Real-World Perspective
The marketing domain is supremely dynamic.
Any strategy that is working today might not even be relevant in a few months or years. Not just that. It also varies from business to business.
For example, maybe you’re using Facebook ads to drive bookings to your hotel. But that doesn’t mean it will work for your friend’s hotel in the hills. Maybe he’s getting better results organically.
Furthermore, marketing today is becoming more and more people-centric.
This is what I mean by that:
“There was a time when marketing was about manipulation (which is still there to a good extent though), but today, this young generation seeks something meaningful. Just because someone from Bollywood is endorsing your beachside resort, doesn’t mean it is going to be successful.”
“People are receptive towards hotels that can deliver value, has built a purpose-driven brand, and walks the talk. Meaning, if I say my resort is eco-friendly, then it ABSOLUTELY is; or, if I say my property can outmaneuver a 5-star hotel in terms of comfort, then it ABSOLUTELY can.”
The elephant in the room
Speaking of hotel marketing and marketing in general, educating the audience (the existing or potential guests in our case) holds a superior spot.
Meaning, hotels now need to go from talking about themselves to creating content that their guests need and want.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a tiny motel or a branded chain, you must start educating and providing information that helps your audience learn, grow and improve in some way.
Let’s talk about this in more detail in the next point.
Why Educating Guests Should Matter to Your Hotel?
Let me share a scenario that clearly shows the importance of educating guests.
Spain is one of those countries that I want to visit. It’s on top of my bucket list. And there’s this property in the Balearic Islands that is intriguing me to fly to Spain soon.
The hotel publishes some of the fun blogs. Once I start reading, I keep on going — one blog after another. Be it about the famous rocky beach of Cala Llentia or the almond blossoms of Ibiza, I know it all.
Recently, my friend visited Ibiza. And guess what? I convinced him to stay in that hotel. And yes, he did!
While writing this article, I was actually recalling this entire event and was wondering how amazingly that hotel managed to hook me with their content. I could realize the value of informative content.
Now, it is not just me who’s being so receptive, but there are thousands of other readers that are going to play a pivotal role in driving revenue to that hotel.
To put it simply, educating your guests (or you can also take it as guest empowerment) is all about delivering value, genuinely.
Offer them what they want to learn about, and you’ll build a relationship that is going to work out for you.
Let me list down the benefits explicitly:
- Educating your guests improves their experience.
- Offering more knowledge boosts engagement.
- It also makes your guests loyal to your hotel brand.
- You get to better understand your guests’ behaviors.
The Fail-Safe Ways to Educate Guests
I remember coming across gazillion generic points on how to educate your guests while researching this topic. But I decided to list the ones that I have experienced first-hand and have helped various other hotels achieve great results.
1. Unbiased content is going to be your friend
Whenever we talk about guest education, content plays a prime role.
But what type of content do I mean?
The ones copied and pasted? Or the ones talking about one side of the story?
Not sure? Never mind, let me help you understand.
I am talking about content that doesn’t show unreasonable preference or dislike towards a topic. Rather, it is eminently fair and conveys a legitimate message.
For example, if you feel the weather isn’t suitable for kayaking in the river near your hotel, then say it. Readers are going to love you for your honesty.
Now, as a hotelier or hotel marketer, you can leverage two types of content. Here are they:
1.1 Written Content
Whenever we talk about ways to educate guests through content, written form certainly holds the baton. It could be blogs, newsletters, bite-sized pieces of content, eBook, etc.
In all of these forms, you can write and provide helpful and important information that’s available for your guests even when you are not.
Further, tell your blog readers or newsletter subscribers openly that your goal is to educate them.
When you make tall statements in public, it will drive you to stay consistent and make good on that commitment.
ProTip: Blogs are one of the best forms of content marketing and provide you with a lot of areas to play around with. Not to mention, it doesn’t even require a weighty investment.
1.2 Video Content
When it comes to video, you can create oodles of pieces of content around anything that is informative.
Now, you don’t always have to go – “lights, camera, action”, you can use other creative ways to create videos such as explainers, how-to’s, promos, webinars, etc.
But what’s next?
You want your videos to be watched and appreciated by a greater audience. And that can happen when you leverage the power of content distribution.
Here’s what you can do:
- Publish the videos on your YouTube channel or Vimeo.
- Share it on all the relevant social media platforms.
- Maybe have a video section on your website itself.
- You can host a live webinar or record and share it later.
Further, how about some micro-content?
Instagram reels and stories, YouTube shorts, TikTok, etc. are some of the great ways to tell a lot of things in a minute’s video.
(Let me tell you a secret. Short-form video or micro-content is the future. The sooner you leverage it; the better results you’ll see.)
2. A conversation in person
Content is king, but it cannot replace a human’s capability of touching another human’s emotions.
When a guest is looking for some advice from your end, don’t let that opportunity slip through the cracks. Make the best out of it and relay the information or knowledge in the best possible way.
But, hold on.
You just cannot walk up to your guests and say, “Hey there, want some info on the exciting things you can do in Casablanca?”
Usually, you have to wait for the guest to come and ask you.
BUT what if you don’t want to wait and shower all the knowledge like a god?
(Don’t mind the exaggeration)
In that case, we got some ideas.
- You can host mini-events with a theme. Maybe a session on the “basics of trekking” or “what to do when in Budapest” or “the off-beat places of Hungary”. Your guest can join the event and have a good time.
- Or, how about setting up multiple knowledge desks in the lobby? People can walk up to you and get the information they seek.
Voila! You’re now officially a knowledge-showering hotelier.
How to Make It Impactful?
It is one thing to create content but making it worthy of your efforts and the readers’ time requires a different approach.
So how do you make your guests (readers and audience) fall in love with your knowledge-sharing efforts?
1. Be empathetic
“You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.”
– John Steinbeck
I have emphasized this point a lot in my previous blogs. To give you the idea again, being empathetic is all about putting yourself in your guests’ shoes and hearing their side of the story.
So whenever you’re creating content or any knowledge-based piece, keep in mind that the consumers aren’t looking to be “sold”; rather, they are looking for a solution to their query. And if you can do that genuinely, you can develop trust.
To put all of it in a simple manner; deliver value without expecting anything in return and make your content materials authentic.
2. Share a story and humanize your content
“Once upon a time……”
I am not asking you to go like that.
Rather, share real-life experiences that people can relate to.
For example, you’re writing about how can guests easily book a hotel online. And suddenly you recall an incident related to the topic. Then why not add that to the content? If the incident was a blunder from your side, you can say that you’ve learned from it and things are in line now.
All in all, you have to understand that you’re talking to humans. Therefore, try to humanize your content and not sound like a robot.
We have an in-depth blog on storytelling. You can give it a read to take some ques.
Word to the Wise
While I have mentioned all the ways how to educate your audience, there’s one more thing you can integrate to reap more benefits.
Make your audience (the guests in our case) familiar with your services. Give them a complete overview of your hotel and all the services that are on offer.
Simply put, this is mostly about educating guests on your services.
Guests are usually intrigued by the service, or personal service, that they receive from a hotel above everything else. And when you put efforts into letting your guests know about the extra miles you can take for them, it makes them more receptive.
The marketing segment, irrespective of the industry, is extremely dynamic. What worked yesterday might not work today or tomorrow. As marketers, you have to constantly keep a finger on the pulse.
Now, what’s interesting is the fact that consumers are also becoming smart. They know who is faking it through marketing and who is genuine.
And to be the latter one, you actually have to practice creating content for humans and not for not customers or prospects. If you successfully crack this code, you’re going to make it big.
I have tried to explain the nuts and bolts of this significant element, and I hope you try them out.
Do let me know if you found the information helpful. I will be happy to create more such content for you.
Also, here’s something not related to the blog (just for fun).
What did the concierge say to the guest coming for the Twitter conference?