Forget your accommodation. It’s all about emotions..

 “In the factory, we make cosmetics. In the store, we sell hope.” – Charles Revson, founder of Revlon Cosmetics.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in selling rooms each night.  Most often, hotel marketers are buried under a barrage of daily marketing tasks that take up most of their time. It’s little wonder then that some hoteliers may start seeing their hotel as a commodity – as a physical product rather than a “creator of emotion.”

But, the most successful marketers know that what you sell is probably NOT what you should market.

So, instead of focusing on your rooms, your restaurant, your spa or any of your travel awards, focus on the emotional benefit that a stay at your hotel can bring.

For example, Revlon sells makeup, but they market hope for women wanting to look their best. Disney sells tickets to an expansive theme park, but they market family togetherness and joy.

What feelings can come out of staying at your property? Is it precious time with friends and family? A peaceful place to remain productive and successful on the road? Is it a place to rekindle romance? Forget about your rational hotel features and emphasise how your guests will feel.

Here are two more timeless pearls of hotel marketing wisdom from powerhouse marketing mavericks.

“It’s not creative unless it sells.” – David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather

Talented marketing agencies around the world are accumulating awards for their innovation and boldness. However, whether or not those winning campaigns struck a chord with their target audience and drove sales is another question entirely.

Too many hotel and tourism marketers lose sight of their guests and instead craft self-indulgent campaigns that only serve to satiate their own creative egos or a hotel owner’s vanity.

A better motto to live by: addressing your customers’ desires and unmet needs takes priority.

 “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and BE what people are interested in.” – Craig Davis, former chief creative officer of J. Walter Thompson

On any given day, consumers are barraged by more than 1,200 marketing messages. And, while customers tend to like hotel brands, they can thoroughly dislike ads that are disruptive to their online experience or that flat-out suck. Interrupting consumers with self-serving marketing messages will only draw ire and annoyance.

The secret to building intimacy with potential guests is to entice them with entertaining, engaging and interesting content that also imparts a relevant message about your brand.

Instead of the standard auto commercials rampant in their industry, BMW produced a short film series starring celebrities, including Jason Statham and Madonna. Companies like Neiman Marcus and Patagonia create ‘magalogs’, glossy publications that showcase alluring editorial content and photography like a magazine, while nestling in their products in a seamless way.

Creating similarly compelling content doesn’t require a massive budget. Take simple and short videos of your concierge sharing her favourite off-the-beaten path restaurants or of your chef describing his favourite dishes on the menu.

Are you creating content that delights your potential guests? Or deploying ads that interrupt the content they enjoy?

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Peter Hook
Peter Hook
5 years ago

That’s a very interesting article. For so long brand marketers refused to allow having people appear in hotel photos, yet anyone knows that a photo with a human enjoying the environment is far more likely to engage a viewer than a stark room or lobby photo. A smiling couple or a joyous family says far more about a hotel experience than marble and minimalist furnishings.

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