Booking a room means signing up for an experience. Before the experience itself, your guests have expectations. Will this stay suit my needs and purpose? In fact, the way you manage to prove that your hotel can meet these expectations is what decides the actual reservations.
Atrium, Le Burgundy Hotel-Paris France
Yet when you think about the word “experience”, the mind takes you to a past moment: it is something your guests live during their stay and something they take with them at departure. So if expectations are upfront and experience comes later on…then wouldn’t it be great to offer your potential clients a feeling of what awaits them beforehand? Could it be possible to engage them in your hotel experience the moment they click on your site?
This is indeed what some smart hotels do and it is called experiential marketing. This means you take the hotel’s offline presence and move it online, where visitors can get to know and interact with the hotel’s identity, overall feeling and offer.
Experiential marketing doesn’t necessarily mean getting over the head with complicated or stunning design. Rather, it’s about knowing what counts and the small steps to achieve it. Here is what you should consider when creating online experience for your hotel:
Tip 1: The first impression. Your visitor is likely to have clicked on several hotel sites before reaching you. A first glimpse is always edifying; it’s your chance to stand out with a better impression. This means making the visitor stay and explore your hotel. But there are a few more tips to actually lead the way to bookings.
Tip 2: Quality of the site. Clarity and accessibility of information, complete and easy to find contact details are a must. A visitor who cannot find your e-mail is quickly lost. Additional social media buttons bring further value by making your site seem more reliable. It suggests your intention to be as visible and open as possible.
Tip 3: Quality of photos. Nothing appeals more than qualitative photographs of rooms, restaurants, spa and other indoor and outdoor spaces. A textual offer can be perfect but no one will book if the photos are not convincing.
Tip 4: The recommended optionals: what and how. Come out to meet your guests’ need. Make sure map and directions are available. If you are integrating several language displays, it is better to make the entire site available in those options.
Tip 5: The interactive optionals: when and how. Some hotels integrate music on their main page. This can be enchanting for visitors, as well as annoying. Let them turn off the music, should you decide to integrate ii in your hotel online experience.
Tip 6: Good visuals and design. Some hotels reach the peak here, like the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. They are introducing the visitor to the hotel by means of a virtual tour. This application also includes photos and videos which makes it altogether an aesthetically pleasing experience. However, if you cannot go for stunning visuals, keeping the design simple (this means elegant) and clear will provide a much smoother exploration. Also think about making it available for mobile!
Tip 7: Brand coherence. Whatever design you opt for, make sure it reflects your brand. Correlate the offline image and experience with the online design. Use the same colours, as well as elements that are recognizable.
Tip 8: Communicate accordingly to your hotel segment. Is it a boutique hotel? Or a chain hotel? Make sure you present it as such.
With online experiential marketing you are no longer letting your site visitors wonder whether their booking at your hotel will be worth it. You are already giving them that experience by creating brand engagement. If you are doing this correctly, the increase in direct bookings can be significant.