By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (www.hotelmogel.com)
Emotions underpin all travel purchases, so it’s a given that to enhance sales you should seek out ways to elicit greater positive sentiments for your property.
For this, consider deploying the storytelling technique of revealing specific details about your product, particularly for your guestrooms which, as your primary revenue source, need a personalization boost through how you depict their attributes.
Specificity Is the Story
Vague language doesn’t excite our imaginations. It doesn’t give us a morsel to latch on to and connect with past memories. In other words, it lacks emotion. Every sentence you write to describe your product should be imbued with tantalizing details along with any number of descriptive adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs and onomatopoeia to compel customers at their core to like then book.
Better yet, let your visuals do the visualizing for you. The reason why a picture is worth a thousand words is because it would take that quantity of language to properly elaborate upon all the objects, backgrounds, colors and tones in the shot. And to go a step further, if still images are so enticing, guess how positively videos and interactive tours will be perceived.
Every Room Tells A Story
While you undoubtedly have beauty shots of your hotel’s ornate façade and its glimmering lobby, these alone are often not enough to convince a potential guest to pass over the pertinent credit card details. Rather, it is not just the exterior and the public spaces that should tell your emotionally driven story to fully hook an audience, but the rooms themselves.
Talking about your rooms with only broad details or with minimal photography, though, won’t help to deepen one’s appreciation of your hotel prior to arrival. Drilling deeper, many hotels are blessed with guestrooms that have exceptional qualities not expressed by the proscribed categories within the PMS or the broad room type selection widget in a booking engine.
Dubbed as ‘attribute-based selling’, adding meaningful specificity to the story – in this case, showing and elaborating upon individual guestroom features – lets you both increase rate due to the heightened emotional connection a prospective guest will feel and perhaps apply an incremental charge for letting guests select the exact room post-reservation much like how airlines sell specific seats.
Let Space Tell the Story
When talking about unique rooms, many hoteliers may be disheartened because their places of work instead have an abundance of near-identical units housed within large-scale developments. Don’t let this stop you from exploring the prospects of attribute-based selling. Two very fundamental features can be utilized to develop these guestroom subcategories for enhanced room rates or for adding a new revenue stream through paid-for prearrival room selection are the views from the room as well as its definitive position within the property.
Viewpoints have long been a boon for resorts where, say, ocean-facing rooms can net upwards of double that of the room looking out on the parking lot. But why isn’t this model applied in a more subtle way for those urban towers where a slightly higher floor can mean being able to see beyond the adjacent building? Furthermore, a system for specific room selection could help to avoid any potential
complaints when a guest is displeased by the ‘illustrious’ vantage of the packaged rooftop HVAC unit because he or she would have had the opportunity to choose otherwise.
Related to this, a room’s definitive position can be leveraged for incremental sales because, for instance, some people will want to be close to the elevator while others will yearn for the additive tranquility of being at the end of the hall. Proximity, or lack thereof, to amenities is also a prominent attribute worth offering your guests – for a small price, of course! And much like how the airlines carved out the ‘premium economy’ class when you go in to choose a specific seat, so too could you use interactive floorplans to sell standard rooms on certain floors with club access or prompt your customers to upgrade to a suite.
Ultimately, when it comes to storytelling, seeing is believing. The more you start to develop richer descriptions and visual representations of your guestrooms, the greater your prospects at filling those rooms. Not only that, but these tactics will help you drive rate, increase direct reservations, upsell your top tier products and potentially create a new revenue stream through post-booking room selections.
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Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or speaking engagements please contact Larry directly.