Storytelling for Hotels

Storytelling for Hotels – How to Improve Hotel Marketing

By: Frank DePino | May 22, 2024

Storytelling for hotels is critical to their success. You need to craft the reason your future guests must book with you and not a neighboring property.

Competition is fierce and potential guests have a plethora of options.

  • How are you going to connect with potential guests and tell them all the benefits and features of your property?
  • How are you going to determine what a future guest is looking for in a property?

The key to meeting these goals is using storytelling as a way to encourage bookings and sales.

Here are some ways to tell your story that will resonate with guests, help you drive sales with your core customers, and acquire new guests.

Know The Audience To Target

This is by far one of the most important things any business can do. If you were selling trucks, you wouldn’t market a full-size V8 truck that runs on diesel and has a tow hitch to someone living in a locale like Brooklyn. You would market compact smart cars to a person living in an area with small streets and limited parking: hotels are no different.

Before storytelling for a hotel can begin, you need to know who you are telling that story. Some properties are meant more for couples on vacation, some work best for families, others are better suited for solo business travelers. Figure out what type of visitor comes to your property and go from there. Once you know who your guest is, then you can devise an outreach strategy. 

If you aren’t sure who your core guest is, look at what’s around you.

  • Are you near amusement or water parks? Chances are families with kids will be your core guest.
  • Are you near a university or college? There is an excellent chance your core guest will be families with older children visiting the college/university in addition to academics who visit for presentations or other professional reasons.
  • Is your property near office buildings or complexes? There is an excellent chance, in that case, your main guest will be people who come into town to work or visit one of the offices. 

Once you know better who your core guest is, then you can truly take steps to make your business grow. Knowing who to tailor your message to can be used in outreach and social media marketing programs. Without it, you are as aimless as the person trying to sell a V8 pickup truck to a city dweller.

The marketers are teaming up to create a compelling story for their client owning a hotel

Storytelling for Hotels: Communicate Authentic And Meaningful Values

For many guests, the values of a company mean a lot to them and it determines where they will spend their money. 

An amazing example of this is the cosmetics company Lush.

They believe in clean, cruelty-free products and support many animal rights and social justice causes. These are causes that reflect their values as a company. In most cases, these causes also match issues that their customer base also holds dear. Because of this, Lush has a rabidly devoted fan base and many more casual fans who like how they passionately defend and showcase their values.

What can you learn about storytelling for hotels from a company like Lush? Your takeaway should be you need to decide what values to showcase and how to show those off.

  • Are you proud of how you provide for your valued workers?
  • Are you the proudest of your company’s values and mission statement and how you work to incorporate those into your daily activities?
  • Or are you proud of how you work to be a company that is focused on customers and puts them first in all things?

Communication tips

Whatever your company is the proudest of this is a time to put those things front and center. Without fail, something in there will resonate with your customer base. And those things will make those individuals stay with your properties time and time again.

Here are some suggestions: 

  • Add a personal touch to your stories– people by and large love to make personal connections to places. Tell stories about your property, your team, your guests that resonate on a deeper level with prospective customers. They will love this, and this deeper connection could lead to a future booking with your property.
  • Sustainability– customers today are very savvy on topics concerning the environment. For many, the steps your property takes to be a better corporate citizen could be the deciding factor on if they book with you or not. Make sure your website and social media channels show all the ways your property is working to be sustainable. Do you allow guests to decide if they want all of the towels and linens in their room washed every day? How are you with using green energy methods? How do you recycle waste from the building? These are just a few items you can showcase that will help you increase your bookings with environmentally conscious guests.
  • History of your hotel and local area– another way to form a connection with potential guests is by sharing fun facts about the hotel building itself, the property & grounds, and the local area that you are a part of. Before this building became a hotel for your brand did it serve another purpose? Was it a historical site of some kind? Did it have any historical significance? Did any major events happen there? Do you have something unique to the area or that is one-of-a-kind on your grounds? Do you have amenities that no one in your area has? All these things matter to many of your guests. Showcase these details to form a connection with these guests and to increase your bookings.

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Storytelling for Hotels: Share Stories of Your Customers, Employees, and Partners

As we discussed above, guests and potential guests love having something to connect to. Customers also like hearing from real people when making their decisions. 

Make it a point to seek out feedback from people like your customers, employees, and other business partners. These individuals will know you and your business better than even you do. Once you have this feedback, showcase it to future guests, employees, and partners. Maybe a member of your team went above and beyond to get a guest what they needed? Maybe someone who partnered with you on an event had every single need met (and a few they didn’t even know they had been taken care of as well)? Not only can you use this feedback and these stories as a way to increase your bookings, but you can also use this information as a chance to learn and grow your business. There may be areas you can improve that you would have never known about without this feedback. You can also use this information and recognize members of your team who provide the highest quality service to your guests.

Use Professional Storytellers

Professional storyteller is a very fancy-sounding term. To put this into layman’s terms, this means you should hire a professional marketer. Yes, leave the storytelling for the hotel to the pros. This sounds a little ridiculous in today’s day and age when so many tools are free and can be used by anyone. However, just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you know what you should be doing with them. Do you know how to do market research? Do you know how to use digital marketing tools? A person who works in sales is very gifted at selling and analyzing the data they are being given in that department to make corrections to meet their goals. A marketer can do the same thing with any data they obtain from their marketing plans.

You can choose to only outsource things like website building or the creation of campaign collateral and hire a person in-house who can do social media and email marketing. Or you can opt to hire an out-of-house firm that will handle all your needs from their office. It will all depend on your needs and the volume of work you will have. Regardless of what you choose, a marketer is a person who is trained and current on all the best strategies. Let them do their job so your staff can focus on what they do best; which is take care of guests.

Mediaboom shows how to use social media to create compelling storytelling

Utilize Your Social Media Channels

Social media is such a dominant force in our everyday lives. For many of us, it’s the first thing we check as soon as we get up in the morning and it’s the last thing we see before we fall asleep. Many individuals belong to organizations that communicate with their many members via Facebook groups, pages, or its messenger feature. Social media has also become a powerful tool for conducting research. Many of us will use not only Google searches and reviews but also social media channels to see what people are saying about a business we are thinking of using. Some will use your social media to see what your property looks like and what kinds of activities and amenities you have for your guests. Storytelling for hotels can be highly impactful when a property uses social media. 

Hotels must harness this power and tell their own stories on this giant place called the internet. If you don’t take the chance to tell your story on the internet someone else will. You can use this as a way to showcase your property the way you want to and use it as a way to interact with guests and get ahead of any feedback. 

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Social media strategies

Let’s take a look at some ways you can do this:

  • Create a sequence of stories– think about a story you want to tell. Is it the story of someone who needed to find the perfect place to stay for a vacation, who had specific needs, had a crisis during their stay that was solved by your staff, and then finished their trip happy? Maybe you want to tell the story of how features on your property can’t be found anywhere else in the city? No matter what that story is, social media can help you tell it. Take the time to write out the story from beginning to end, and then divide it again into smaller pieces. Then roll out each piece of the story in predetermined intervals. You can use many different mediums to help you tell the story but just make sure you 1) finish what you start and 2) that each piece leaves your viewers wanting more and that they will come back for the next installment.
  • Collaborate with influencers– social media influencers are the newest way for a brand or company to get additional customers. This person showcases your product or brand on their channels. Typically, you provide some type of incentive to those who connect with you through this influencer. Influencers don’t have to have the reach of someone like Kylie Jenner; you can use local influencers with a smaller audience to tailor your outreach.
  • Interact with current, past, and potential guests– social media is a terrific way to get information out there about your brand and your property. Conversely, it is also a way for customers to ask questions and deliver feedback-both positive and negative. Use your channels as a way to interact with guests and control the narrative. If you don’t use active listening techniques online, you will be behind the game when it comes to dealing with guests. You want to respond quickly to less than glowing feedback. You will also want to respond just as quickly to positive feedback. Thank anyone who takes the time to communicate with you about your property and look at all of it as a chance to learn

Storytelling for Hotels: Additional Tips

These are just a few of the great ideas you can use to showcase your property in the future. Based on the information you glean about your core guests here are some other things you may want to highlight as well:

  • safety protocols (Covid and otherwise)
  • leisure activities
  • local partnerships
  • showcase loyalty programs
  • reward guests who leave reviews

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Final Thoughts  

Storytelling for hotels is often an overlooked way to market a property, form bonds with future guests, and deepen bonds with existing loyal customers. When a property lays out the story they want to tell and leverage channels such as social media to do so, there is no limit to how much it can increase their digital footprint and their bookings. Incorporate the strategies above and your property will be well on its way to increasing sales, attracting new customers, and deepening bonds with existing ones.     

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.


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