Industry Update
Opinion Article20 February 2020

Hotel Marketing Is A Matter Of Trust, Not Strategy

By Bärbel Pfeiffer, Text•Spot•On

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Pfeiffer

When you promote your hotel, be honest. "Nobody is perfect" and admitting small weaknesses makes you instantly "human" and likeable.

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And that coming from a marketing professional! Crazy, I know.

Of course, you want to make sure your hotel appears in the best light. Just like any other product for sale.

But hotel marketing that uses embellished and overstated hotel presentations creates a problem: your website might attract more prospects, but once these guests arrive at the hotel, trouble is inevitable …

Now they've checked in, your guests are discovering that things are a little different from how they appeared on your website.

How do I know? During my hotel time, I experienced firsthand how disappointed guests react:

Business travelers complained about the size of their hotel rooms, which because of clever angle shots, optically appeared much larger than they actually were in photos.

Holidaymakers saw six restaurants advertised on the hotel's website, but then they noticed that actually only three of the six were open daily.

Or the upset caused, when renovation works were kept quiet or downplayed.

Guests felt taken advantage of and, understandably, there was a lot of disgruntlement. They shared their displeasure with other hotel guests and later on, through negative online reviews, with the entire world.

Not to mention the effort and additional work needed to turn the situation around - which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't …

In contrast, how much easier and more pleasant! is it to make people happy. Having a good product, truthfully describing it and when your guests arrive at the hotel, to exceed their expectations. There's no big investment needed. The only requirements are attention to detail and small pleasant gestures throughout the stay.

As above, the same thing will happen - your guests will share their awesome experience with others and later on, share their feedback online - only this time, the outcome will be a very different one…

Today's customers and guests are well informed and have fine "antennas". They quickly notice, what's going on and detect B.S. from miles away, that's why authenticity and sincerity are in high demand.

Marketing and sales are a matter of trust, not strategy.

People want to know you understand and value them, and they prefer to buy from someone they trust and like.

In the age of automation, this is a huge opportunity, especially for hotels. There are so many ways a hotel can shape and transform a guest experience. Simply by

Small gestures that have big impact - before, during and after a guest stay.

Like honestly admitting on your hotel website: "Our rooms may not be the most spacious, but when it comes to being hosts to our wonderful guests, we are the greatest!"

Or, at the hotel, when the restaurant employee who hears a random comment. Perhaps Mr. B. is telling the person sitting next to him how much he likes Mousse au Chocolat. Although it is not on the menu (and he does not ask for it), when it's time for dessert, the mousse is been put in front of him - with a huge, inviting smile.

Or a handwritten greeting card sent from the hotel manager to the young couple, who, during a cocktail party, enthusiastically told him about the upcoming purchase of their first house.

Small gestures that show your guests you really care.

Of course, there'll also be guests who are critical and don't appreciate any of this.

Well, in that case there's only one thing you can do. Use your hotel marketing in such a way that it repels the "wrong" people and attract more of your ideal guests.

Your "ideal guests" are also the ones who will understand when there is a problem, because they know that you will do everything possible to solve it as quick as possible.

Products are interchangeable - sincere and authentic hospitality is not.

Your hotel marketing should reflect that.

Bärbel Pfeiffer

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