Your hotel might provide a superior service, competitive packages, desired convenience, or even a niche travel experience. While you might provide the type of stay guests are searching for, you certainly aren’t the only one. So how do you differentiate your property? It’s an age-old question, and one that many brands still get wrong. While your in-depth knowledge of your business may prompt you to focus on what you do best, making an emotional connection is what drives most purchasing decisions.
Most Customers See No Difference Between You and Your Competition
While you may feel passionately about the quality and service you have to provide, studies show that 86% of consumers see no real difference between most brands, therefore they don’t see the need to pay for the difference. For example, a consumer might pay more for Nike, but why pay more for your hotel package? Especially if a competitor is offering something similar, or the exact same thing, for less? These types of questions are the ones that keep hoteliers up at night.
Making an Emotional Connection Will Help to Differentiate Your Property
Emotions help us connect with one another, and inspire us to act. When we come across a story that’s exciting or cool, we want to share it with our friends immediately. When we come across a story that is motivational or touching, it stays with us. There is a story of a doorman at a luxury hotel many years ago who was assisting a family with their bags leaving the property via a cab to head to the airport. As the cab left the driveway, he noticed that the little girl had dropped her stuffed bear on the ground. Without hesitation, the doorman informed his colleagues that he was hailing the next cab to go after them, stuffed toy in hand. He met them at the airport and delivered the toy to the little girl. This emotional connection with the brand via the doorman is worth paying more, because you “get” your guest and you are willing to do whatever is necessary to create that emotional bond.
Focusing on Demographics Within Your Demographic
You are sure to invest handsomely in defining your key demographics. Once identified, it is time to leverage technology to drill in a bit deeper, so that you can market to the demographics within your demographic. For example, Millennials searching for a weekend getaway may be one of your key demographics—but which percentage are searching for a luxury vacay, budget vacay, last-minute trip, or a trip with at least one months’ notice? These are just a small handful of additional data points, which you can leverage to create personalized, engaging, and emotional marketing campaign.
Personalized Marketing Creates Emotional Connections
If you are still struggling with the concept of emotional marketing, think of it more in terms of personalized marketing. The idea is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and determine what solutions they need to be solved, how you can improve their stay in your hotel, how much faster and easier your travel app will make their travels. However, you must do this without stating the obvious, but instead by showing what it looks like in action. Turn your marketing into a story, so they can see themselves playing the lead. For example, a commercial that shows a business traveler hungry at the end of a long day of meetings. Instead of roaming around for a local restaurant, she can log in to her hotel travel app, review the menu, and have room service waiting in her by the time she gets back to her hotel. You could show her lounging in her plush robe, watching a movie, and eating her delicious meal—finally relaxing in your hotel.
Visually Engaging Creative
One of the fantastic things about marketing your hotel property is the many ways you can promote it. From in-app marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, video ads, and written content—you can reach and engage your audience-base in more ways now than ever. While a lot of thought must be put into the text or script, you must not underestimate the conversion value of your visuals. Whether booking a car, hotel, flight, tour, or travel package—conversion rates rise when consumers can see how fun, cool, convenient, or better their travels will be if they download your app, or book directly with you.
The best way to succeed with emotional marketing, is to test different campaigns. If possible, find a way to feed your guest data into a marketing funnel for the “demographic within the demographic”, as mentioned above. Then create a variety of stories and online content for each of your marketing funnels. While the more expensive marketing segments may need to be a bit more generic, such as your commercials, still tell a visual emotionally-engaging story. Continue to track ROI and conversions of which plans convert. This will help give you insights into the emotional engagement your consumers connect with and help you maximize results.
Are you using emotional marketing as part of your hotel marketing strategy? If so, please share what’s working and what isn’t @AlanEYoung.