I can still remember my experience with a hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. We were looking for a certain gift. As that was my maiden trip, we were not sure where to find it. The obvious option was to ask the hotel’s front-desk. The front-desk staff not only answered my questions readily but went the extra mile. The staff ran through, with a simplified map, many interesting locations we should cover and even suggested a few itineraries (e.g. go to this place first, take train to this other place, have lunch at this café and so on). In the end, the trip was much enjoyable to get local insight; and, eventually, we had a very good experience with the hotel.
My point here is this. I believe most hotels’ staff, typically locals or has lived locally for some time, are more than knowledgeable and willing to help their guests to enjoy their trip. Yet, this knowledge is left untapped; at least from a digital marketing point of view.
Ironically, while reviewing hotelier’s digital marketing performance, I often hear that they struggling to create content when the knowledge already exists internally. Sometime, hotel marketers are bog down with promoting offers to drive bookings that creating content is secondary. It is beneficial at this point to bring up articles I have written that discuss the concept of content marketing (part 1 & part 2). Generating content is search engine friendly (they love new content!), they are sharable and can eventually nurture new guests.
Imagine Susan, an Australian who are at her office answering emails. Out of a sudden, her idea of visiting Singapore has emerged again. In this micro-moment, she whipped out her mobile phone and start researching Singapore on Google. She found many information about Singapore but found an article published by Hotel A, titled “3 Days Gastronomy Itinerary in Singapore.” She finds it interesting and shared this content on Facebook, tagging her husband. During dinner, she brought this up and the family decided to follow the itinerary as a guide for their trip. At this point, a natural option to for them is to check if the hotel has anything to offer that fits their budget.
In a typical situation, we only start to find accommodations once we have a purpose to travel. Be it for work or leisure. When the moment comes for someone to search for an accommodation, Hotel A is just a single tree in a huge forest of competitors. And assuming that Hotel A is even showing up on the first page of search results page, Trip Advisor, Booking.com or even Trivago as travelers have so many options to choose from.
Instead of trying so hard to as a tree in a huge forest, be the only hotel to show up online when travelers are searching for ideas, having their micro-moments. Be your guests’ best local guide, digitally.
[Updated on 25/05/2016] Far East Hospitality has recently revamped their website. What caught my attention is the section “Experience Singapore like a local,” a good example of how to be your guest’s local guide.