The modern traveler is looking for a unique experience when it comes to hotels. The Millennials even more than any generation before is demanding an authentic, original and social environment.
But what is the WOW factor of your hotel?
When talking to hoteliers around the globe, they are all talking about how important social media has become, and how it will continue to grow in significance. The other hyped phrase we hear is that hotels want to target Millennials, the upcoming generation …
Ok great. But what now … ?
That Review Websites have become an integral part of the travel buying process by consumers, is almost a given to everyone. More interesting is the fact that Facebook and TripAdvisor are also intertwined, and your are now being served a customized set of favorite places based on the likes of your friends and network. ‘Big Data’ is here , even though still in very initial stages, it is slowly becoming reality. And baby take Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s word for it, You Aint Seen Nothing Yet!
Another trend is that of online bragging on communities like Facebook, FourSquare. People are all showing off to their ‘friends’ where they are, what they are doing, eating, drinking, looking at … Yes social media is turning our world into one big status competition for the collector minded individual (myself included).
Image platforms like Pinterest allow you to become a creative persona, build online poster boards of the most beautiful and original imagery. Without having to ever leave your sofa you can redesign your home (in your mind) , or plan / experience your dream vacation. It’s all like a virtual simulation exercise, giving you the sense of being a fully fledged artist.
Reading these first few paragraphs again, we can draw a very simple conclusion:
To be successful on online marketing and social media, your product needs to be sharable.
Sharable, means, it needs to be modern, funky, cool, authentic, traditional , basic, real, luxury, or just simply different. Your hotel needs to be unique in ambiance, style, design, guest service, technology, environmental awareness, social responsibility, and a very long list of many more things.
You need to make a difference to the guest in terms of experience. You need to have a story worth sharing. Your property needs to be worth taking images of to be posted on the web and when seen by others to be re-shared.
Consumers nowadays are graving for a special and authentic experience when travelling that they can share with their online friends. They want to show off, and score likes.
Hotels need to play more into this change of consumer behavior. We see too many hoteliers falling for the add buying, we will expand your Facebook fan base, approach and type of strategies. This game is not about (paid for) quantity. But about quality that leads organically to an increased reach.
Over the last year we have been working together with some amazing creative hotel companies. Their concepts all geared around the guest experience, creating a one of a kind vibe and ambiance.
Their product permits for the user (aka hotel guests) to take their own beautiful pictures (because let’s face it, not many will be posting your picture perfect images on FaceBook). The design and style of some of these hotels is so captivating that bloggers passionate about design are writing posts about it, and images get shared and re-shared on Pinterest boards. Some even get lucky and hit the jack pot worth major press exposure.
Their guest service is original, sparking people to write about their experiences on Twitter and Facebook.
The lesson here is that they did not need to push to get fans, likes or shares. Their product provided the natural opportunity for consumers to share and show off to their online network of friends.
For example, a project I am currently working on, www.ibizarocks.com. I already hear our servers trembling because many are thinking, yes of course they get a large social media following. They do live concerts and DJ pool parties at their hotel in the summer. Youngsters love sharing pics of their party vacation.
And hell, they pulled it off. They looked at the resort / vacafion market, and invented a new concept. They played into the desire of a niche consumer market for an unique and authentic experience. They created their own market, with a huge viral power, creating a very impressive footprint on social media.
Take www.thestudenthotel.com for exmpale, their innovative concept got them exposure with many design blogs and magazines (including Wallpaper). They even won some awards. Their core target market is the young students and travelers, (aka millennials) whom by nature are shoot, selfie and share minded.
The press coverage and their connection with millennials again get them a huge online following. Via this natural fan base they have built an incredible reach and online footprint. And yes, they started small … and built everything up step by step.
Other examples, going to a hotel concept that perhaps you better related too, are www.townhousehotels.nl and www.hotel-design-secret-de-paris.com. Original hotel concepts with a unique guest service. The ambiance and decor allows for a creative photos and selfies to share. Their guest service is authentic and one of a kind, prompting their guests to write stories on their guest walls.
Need I say more?
Lets put the days of the cookie cutter, copy paste, dime in a dozen, standard looking hotel rooms and lobbies behind us. Come on admit it, nothing is worse than waking up in a hotel room and not knowing in which city you are, because the room looks just like all the others.
Hotels should cater to this graving of sharing of consumers. We need to provide a hotel experience that blows people away.
We should be asking ourselves, what is the WOW factor of my hotel …
Lets give the Selfie Shooting Sheriffs what they want!