The ever-growing hospitality industry is crowded with competition. The fight is on to get your guests’ attention. These five steps can help you gain an advantage over your competition.
One of the quickest ways to gain a competitive advantage is to answer customers’ queries as fast as you can. Answering quickly sets the bar and engages the guests before customers forget that they want to book with you or find somewhere else to stay. Give your potential guests the information they want when they want it.
Keeping them waiting for your answers gives them time to explore your competitors. Real-time feedback also signals to your target audience that they are special to you, that you take time to immediately address their concerns.
This pre-booking experience is an indicator of how well they’ll be treated when they book with you. A quick reply is equated to quick customer service. A personalized welcome is as if they’ll get specialized treatment.
Hotel Storytelling Sells
Everyone loves a good story.
Creating a story can instantly transform your resort’s marketing significantly. Using a narrative helps connect your resort to your target audience. Have your potential guests relate to your brand by promoting values that you and your customer have in common.
One of the best storytelling techniques is making your guest a hero and you’re there to help them achieve their happily ever after.
Here’s a wonderful example by Antara Resorts:
“Go where others don’t go. See what others don’t see. Let Anantara take you on journeys of adventure and discovery in the world’s most captivating destinations. Dive deep with mantas in Maldivian waters. Walk among elephants in northern Thailand. Soar above a tapestry of tea fields in Sri Lanka.
From journeys of discovery to journeys of serenity, Anantara invites you to immerse yourself in each of our destinations with our Signature Experiences. ”
Creating an experience over benefits & features
Always remember that you aren’t renting out your rooms and amenities to guests. You’re selling them an experience.
Experiences are much more memorable and powerful. Increase your conversions by leveling up how you make your guests feel before booking, during the stay, and after the experience.
Most of your competitors will most likely have similar benefits and features as your resort does. But what makes you unique is how your guests feel.
Little Palm Island Resort and Spa does this by describing one of their common areas as “The Great Room” with the following description:
“The perfect place to relax on the second floor of our Great House. Tucked in the palms and surrounded by stunning ocean views, this living area is the perfect place for reading, playing a game, or relaxing on the decks. And our secret… it houses the only television on the island…for those must-see events.”
Be present everywhere
Out of sight, out of mind.
Creating a strong online presence for your brand builds your reputation and credibility. It reinforces what your brand offers to your guests, regardless of your size or niche.
Get your resort into the many online travel reviews and booking sites like Booking.com Traveloka, TravelAdvisory, and Agoda.
Your resort guests trust these online sites. You’ll also be able to add details about facilities like free breakfast, suites, tennis/golf, beach/pool access, fitness center, internet access, and so on, allowing travelers to learn more about what to expect at your resort.
If you’re looking for something free, social media is your answer. Be present on all the social media platforms you can. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, even Google my business are just a few that you should have a presence with.
Never let your target audience forget you.
Relevance by personalization
Personalized brand marketing is the next big thing in the travel industry.
Personalized marketing is the application of a strategy through which the brand provides individualized content to guests through data collection.
There’s a lot of touchpoints you can bespoke for your guests. Ultimately, guests want to be treated as people, not a faceless audience.
From pre-booking, offers are sent to them that match their needs such as free champagne for couples celebrating their anniversary and honeymoons, or unlimited coffee for business travelers. Use the data you have to curate and upgrade offers for your guests.
Personalizing sales follow-ups and ease any apprehension they have before booking by reaching out to them. Engaging in social media by replying to their messages and comments is also another touchpoint.
After booking, send them a personalized Thank You email and ask for their preferences should they have any. This is also a great opportunity to ask for a review to one of the many review sites.
Reviews will always make a difference in future bookings so it is important to respond to both positive and negative reviews in a professional and personal matter.
During their stay, make your customers feel special by having your staff address them by name and have their preferences set. You can also assign a staff member to specifically go around the resort and ask guests how they are enjoying their stay thus far.
While gaining a competitive advantage in the hospitality industry won’t happen overnight, implementing the ideas above will help your bookings grow.