Let’s be frank. Every hotel on the block is offering clean, comfortable rooms. Every destination promises lifelong memories and unforgettable moments.
How then can hotels and destinations set themselves apart?
From ancient hieroglyphs to Snapchat selfies, the human race has been sharing stories with one another since the dawn of mankind. It’s in our nature to share our experiences with one another.
Think about the last time you traveled. What stands out to you? What did you tell your friends about? The fluffy pillows and spotless floor, or the fact that the concierge went out of her way to make you feel like a member of the family? Do you remember that your hotel offered daily turn down service, or that you walked down the block to the local favorite watering hole where you made new friends from a country you can’t pronounce? Do you cherish that time you had a coffee maker in your room, or the time your seventeen-year-old daughter actually laughed with you and smiled and had the time of her life?
Stories are what move people.
So, what makes a good story?
1. Evoke Feeling.
Would people be arguing about being Team Captain or Team Ironman in the newest Marvel movie if the writers and directors hadn’t made us feel something for them? While it’s true that facts are important (I’m happy to know that there’s an in-room coffee pot), it’s not what is really going to set you apart. Emotions go much farther to make your property appealing. Know your audience. Know what kind of experience they’re seeking, and frame your message to reflect that.
2. Engage Memorable Characters.
Every good story has characters, and a good travel story is no different. It’s just that the characters in your story are your visitors. And just like in any other story, they’re going to interact with one another. In fact, they’re going to take advice from one another. Just look at the wild popularity of sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp. Don’t take your reviews lightly, whether they’re positive or negative. And for goodness sake, make sure you’re responding to them. Thank them for their positive reviews. Apologize for any negative experiences they might have had. Inform them what you would do differently next time, and even offer to make good on their experience should they come back again.
3. Say it in Pictures.
Being a writer it pains me to say this, but a picture really is worth a thousand words. These days, we as a species have the attention span of a goldfish, so it’s vital that our stories pack a bit more punch in a shorter period of time than epic tales of old. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take inspiring images. Things like Snapchat and Instagram let images do the speaking for you. If you’re feeling uncertain, check out this article about how to take a memorable photo from a mobile phone.