Experiential Marketing for Hotels
Leveraging the Trinity of Onsite Experiences, Advertising and Social Media
By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | November 30, 2014
The world of hotel marketing is changing. Internet sites, OTAs, social media and other new channels hold the limelight while print advertising, radio, rack brochures and other 20th century staples fall out of practices. In these ever-evolving times, however, it would be folly to abandon the old ways entirely. Instead, an integrated approach works best via a circular strategy called experiential marketing, comprised of three broad components:
- Onsite / On-Property Excellence
- Relationship Management
- Advertising and PR
Like a virtuous circle or a golden triangle, each equal part feeds back into and reinvigorates the other two. In order to understand and apply the principles of experiential marketing, you must be able to grasp how each component acts on its own.
Onsite / On-Property Excellence
While the latter two require some elaboration, the first item on this list should not. We are hoteliers and our ability to drum up future business is only as good as the products we offer. Package or glitz up your hotel in whichever way you like; if you aren't offering a hospitality experience that surpasses the competition (on more than just price discounts), then you will forever be fighting an uphill battle because of how much harder it is to gain new consumers as opposed to retaining existing ones.
So, what makes for a great hospitality experience? While I'm sure you all could write a 300-page manifesto to answer this question, let's boil it down to a few key points. At its most fundamental level, you must deliver a good night's sleep for each and every guest – clean, quiet rooms and helpful staff are a good start. Looking slightly beyond that, expectations pertaining to other operations (enjoyable amenities, clean rooms, quality restaurants and so on) must also be met.
But this is just the foundation. It's not going to win you any awards. What defines excellence is what you do to go above and beyond, from the property-wide scale to the littlest gestures of kindness and appreciation. These are the 'x factors' or 'wow moments' that consistently stir up happy emotions and irreversibly lodge themselves in consumers' minds.