Today’s hospitality market is saturated with choice, leaving hotels faced with the challenge of how to make their property stand out. Increasingly, travellers are seeking out accommodation that goes beyond a place to take refuge or escape. Whereas in the past, guests appreciated the predictability of cookie-cutter chains, now they have shifted to wanting a local and authentic experience in every detail of their stay. Herein lies an opportunity to draw in potential customers through compelling storytelling and creative marketing strategies.
A Local Experience
Encapsulating a local feel in addition to meeting all the guest’s varied needs, is a significant task. Reflecting the history and culture of the area in a property involves time and extensive research, prior to the design stage even starting. Hotel industry visionary Adrian Zecha opened his first Aman resort in Phuket, Thailand, in 1988 and the brand has since become synonymous with elite and discrete luxury. A testament to traditional Thai architecture with steeply arched roofs and naga details, local traditions are echoed in every material and interior design element, finished off with the signature, minimalist feel of Aman. Blending each property seamlessly and elegantly into the surrounding landscape and culture was a founding and enduring principle of the acclaimed global boutique chain.
A Storytelling Opportunity
Instead of diverting guests away from your website for travel advice, they can now turn to hotels as their personal guide. Before arriving at the property, visitors can engage with creative storytelling that entices them into the appeal of the locale. What points of interest are near your property? What annual events are worth seeing? What food is recommended? What makes the location so special? Guests need to be guided and what better way than through custom-made content that reinforces your brand. The more intimate and specific, the better. Hotel websites sometimes even offer custom-made planning services. Think of it as the modern-day concierge.
Localizing Social Media
Whether it’s Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, the social media plan has to be in line with the local market. Chinese tourists are taking the travel industry by storm, and a serious marketing opportunity could be missed with poor strategic planning. Many mainstream social media services are blocked in China so if the Chinese are your main demographic, alternative avenues would have to be implemented to target them effectively. Whatever the approach, Chinese clientele is increasingly sophisticated with a shift towards cultural sensitivity, and a desire for authenticity. Keeping up with this trend could result in a significant boost in business when managed professionally.