Storytelling for hospitality brands: Why it’s crucial (and how to succeed with it)
Why does your hospitality business need storytelling?
Since the beginning of time, humans have been using storytelling to entertain, educate and pass on important information as a vital tool to thrive and survive. Although storytelling as a concept has not changed for thousands of years, we have developed better tools and outlets for telling them.
Of course, storytelling plays a role in any company’s communication and marketing plan, but for hospitality brands specifically, it has significant importance as the industry is literally built around stories. Storytelling helps e.g., hotels strengthen their brands and generate more bookings. And, if done well, it’s literally the reason why some hotels, resorts, and restaurants get all the bookings and positive feedback while others simply don’t.
Give your guests a reason to be intrigued by your property – and equally, give them a reason to remember their stay for the rest of their days. This is the power that brand storytelling has. Use it wisely.
Finding your unique brand voice
If you haven’t already, it’s time to uncover the unique brand voice of your hospitality business. All brands in the world have one, but many don’t pay attention to it before they start creating content. This will only lead to great confusion and a loss of revenue in the end.
By finding your unique brand voice, you will open the door to creating consistent communication and attracting more guests in the long run.
One of the ways to discover this, is by looking at your business as if it was a human being. Yes, you heard me. What characterizes it? Note down everything that comes to mind, and by the time you’re done, you should have a very specific type in mind.
Now, how would a person with these traits and this “personality” behave in real life? What would he or she say?
A well-defined brand voice creates a certain mood, which differentiates your business from all the rest. Not to people are the same, so why should hospitality businesses be?
Also, take a good long look at your audience. Who are they? What do they crave? What can you provide them? The more your business tries to appeal to everyone, the less its voice will be heard.
Summary: when a (hospitality) business knows its unique voice, values and appeal, creating stories on e.g., social media will be so much easier – simply because there’s something unique to share. Something that not everyone can share because they aren’t you.
Finding the good stories
I bet your business is full of little details and characteristics that make up for wonderful stories!
As a start, try looking into the details and the everyday life of your business. It’s a good idea using an emotional narrative when telling your stories.
For a hotel, it can be beneficial injecting emotions such as happiness and love (romantic getaway), trust and hope (green practices and eco-initiatives), confidence (wellness/health stay) etc. into them to further strengthen the connection to your audience.
An emotional narrative will make people feel that they are part of your story, which is basically the essence of what you are trying to achieve with the storytelling of your business.
Whether you’re running a hotel or a restaurant, investigate your different departments and the people working in them. What stories can they share about your business?
Dive into the history of your business (if it has one), its traditions, or its values.
If you can take all this, boil it down, and communicate it at eye level and in a tone that fits your specific property, you’re well on your way in crafting engaging storytelling.
Where to tell your stories
Storytelling these days isn’t just about creating good content; it’s also about choosing the right outlets to tell them.
Generally speaking, it’s better to choose a few social media channels and master them well, instead of being on all kinds of platforms. This only confuses your customers and yourself.
Instagram is still a safe winner for many hospitality businesses, as it’s very visual and an ideal way to showcase location, interior, food etc. Pinterest is another visual platform (the second largest search engine in the world after Google!), but both outlets demand a certain knowledge and, not least, consistency. The latter is crucial to gaining success.
If your company puts focus on e.g., business and conference travel, using LinkedIn is also a great idea! After all, LinkedIn has reached more than 260 million active users by now.
Last but not least, I have to stretch the importance and value of newsletters. Email marketing should always, regardless of what you sell and offer, be a key component in your company’s marketing strategy. Why? Because storytelling isn’t just about selling something in a smooth or inspiring way; it’s first and foremost about creating engagement and connections. For this, a monthly or weekly newsletter is worth gold.
Business storytelling focuses on the human side of work. Basically, it means telling compelling stories instead of just listing facts.
Excerpt from Storytelling for Hotels by Regitse Cecillie Rosenvinge. The hertelier community receives a 10% discount by using the code hertelier at check-out.
A passionate hotel advisor, content creator consultant, and author, Regitse has a decade of experience working with - and creating value for - international hotels and hospitality brands. With a dedicated focus on content marketing, social media, branding, and storytelling, Regitse facilitates both online and offline coaching and workshops for hospitality clients. She was recently named ‘Top 50 Global Hospitality Influencer’ by International Hospitality Institute.