Can you hear that? Listen closely… That’s the sound of a guest telling your hotel’s story online.
Everyday thousands of hotel reviews, photos, and conversations are posted on sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and hundreds of other social media sites, where guests share the story of their experience with the online community. Yet, one of the most common comments we hear from hoteliers is “My hotel doesn’t have a story”. Your unique tale is being told for you through these guest experiences and the conversations they are initiating with you and other consumers. So, what are they saying about you?
After researching plenty of reviews from various hotels, it’s fair to say that guests often know more about a hotel’s story than the hotel itself. Who better to identify what stands out about your property than someone who experienced it firsthand? Take note of when guests praise your unforgettable scrambled eggs or share an image of your manager’s reception – those are your stories! And they’re potentially being shared unbeknownst to you.
Hotel review sites and visual-fuelled social media sites are some of the endless ways for hotel stories to get amplified. In the midst of a sea of options, the properties that stand out online are the ones who amplify a message that travel shoppers are drawn to, engage with and share on multiple channels. Stories are not exclusive to luxury resorts, every property has one. While hotel marketers focus on crafting the perfect tale, guests are already telling stories on your behalf online, through both text and visual reviews.
Instead of crafting a forced or elaborate message to gain the travel shoppers’ attention, try tuning in to what travel shoppers themselves are saying and sharing. You may gain insight and authenticity from their point of view that you wouldn’t have arrived at on your own.
Take a look at these hotel reviews from TripAdvisor that stand out:
Classic Guest House – “Best scrambled eggs ever, quaint room”
When reviewing the Classic Guest House in Edinburgh, this guest shares their story by praising the phenomenal Scottish breakfast and the quaint guest rooms. This review, along with others, calls out staff members by name to thank them for going above and beyond, but their “amazing” breakfast is what sets them apart. Hopefully, the Classic Guest House taps into, and amplifies, this message when crafting their own story.
Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa – “Great room, incredible shower!”
This reviewer, along with many others, has pointed out a subtle, but exciting feature of the Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa in Riverside, the incredible showers. This property is missing a great opportunity to make the showers part of their story, even though the majority of reviewers are raving about it. By looking online and reading these reviews, the Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa would see that their guests are telling their story for them, they just need to listen.
With the prevalence of smartphones and social sharing, reviews are no longer limited to blocks of text. Visual reviews on sites like TripTease display a dynamic, snackable review that transcends text. Check out these guest photos that are telling Hotel Indigo’s story for them:
We are social beings drawn to interesting stories, and we instinctively want to share them. Take a look at the beautifully laid out breakfast or the cup of sunshine at the bar that travel shoppers were drawn to take photos of and share online. Photos like these convey a much stronger message than a text description ever could, and they are amplifying Hotel Indigo’s story to anyone who stumbles upon them.
Even a simple card from Hotel Indigo’s management was inspiring enough for this guest to take a photo and share it. No additional description is required, as the story of this guest’s experience is summed up beautifully by this photo review. The photos being shared online will form your hotel’s story, so give your guests something worthy enough to snap a picture of, and let them tell your story for you.
Fresh Scottish breakfast, a fantastic shower, and inspiring photos, these are the authentic stories being amplified about hotels online, and they have the potential to resonate more than a typical cookie cutter marketing plan. Reviews, photos, videos, tweets and posts can reveal information that you may have overlooked, so use them to your advantage and discover your hotel’s stories through the eyes of your guests.
Remember that reviews are important to travel shoppers as 81% of travelers said they find user reviews important, be sure to use them to leverage and enhance your hotel’s story.