The future of hotels: be quiet, but not in your marketing
We all like to search through pictures and illustrations to find a suitable hotel for a weekend or a short holiday. Next to price and location, visuals are among the most important criteria to influence our choice. But what exactly do we mean by location? And how can we use pictures to make a choice, when they give very little information about things like hygiene or, even more important, the quietness of a room which will determine how well you sleep in that hotel?
A close correlation between what hotels promise online and actually offer offline is becoming increasingly important for a good customer experience and for receiving positive reviews.
Power to the consumer
There is an ever increasing number of apps and tools, let’s call them consumer initiatives, to measure specific selection criteria. Look at the hotel wifi test app with which you can test the hotel’s WiFi quality. Why? Because promises like ‘good WiFi’ still tell us very little about the actual quality of the WiFi. Also, online video marketing tools offer opportunities to hotels, e.g. to show the location by means of picture taken from drones or 360-views from the air. This shows the public not just the hotel but what they can find next door and whether it will be really quiet at night. Power to the consumer.
Hotels have to let go of the past and of their fears
All the above requires discipline, a different approach, a change. New technology will continue to come up with these kind of tools, and if hotels do not address the changing expectations of their customers, others will definitely do so. Not the day-to-day management of your hotel should be leading in your marketing, but the desires of your customers. Most important for hotels is to be aware of the customer journey of the consumer. Because the customer’s experience starts online, then switches to offline ( the experience itself) and then back to online. In other words: as consumers we search and book online, experience that which we were promised offline and then review these experiences online. Hospitality consultant Kim van Velzen has developed the search-impact-influencers model to visualise this continuous change of online, offline and online from the hotel’s point of view.
The first contact is through search, where technology is a tool to aid your findability, status and reputation. This means you need to be distinctive and determine your unique values and make sure you can be found for these. Facebook and Twitter can help you realise this.
As soon as your customer enters the hotel, you must deliver what you promised online. It’s either make an impact or fail miserably.
The reviewing of your hotel, by guests on their social networks, takes place online. Will they become ambassadors, brand advocates or have they already forgotten everything you have done offline? It’s obvious that your hotels’ USPs are vital for your marketing and that you need to choose unique features that fit today’s search words and desires. Always keeping in mind the online-offline-online customer journey.
Example of a USP: Quiet Rooms
If we have to believe start-up Quiet Room Label, there’s a great demand for quiet hotel rooms; the sort of room you will find when you search for quiet hotel room; a room which really is quiet when you visit the hotel offline and which you give a positive review because you know you have slept well in it; online-offline-online. QR-label has looked for and found a gap in the market that hardly existed, by looking at irritations that show up in customer’s reviews. A gap which one might have expected to show up, because noise is still the No.1 complaint among hotel guests. Which prompted Quiet Rooms to create an online label. When you book a hotel with this label, you can be sure it will keep its online promise offline. Like the WiFi test, the QR-label is an third party, which will add to the credibility of your online promises. After all, there is no better marketing than with a tool, app or website with certificate which promises your USP online and which you follow up with your offline reality.