An easy to articulate “elevator pitch” is basic to effective hotel marketing, but you’d be surprised how few hospitality marketing directors have ever bothered crafting one.
The elevator pitch was invented by Hollywood movie agents for busy movie studio moguls. Boil your pitch down so you could make it on the average elevator ride. Take the ‘70s sci-fi classic Outland. How would you pitch it? High Noon in outer space. The ‘90s movie Speed was allegedly pitched as “Die Hard on a bus.” The recent Academy Award-nominated movie Nebraska is simply John Ford’s classic The Searchers without the cowboys and Indians.
Just like busy movie moguls, your prospective hotel customers haven’t got time for branding vagaries. Time is of the essence. Today’s hotel shopper is looking to book a room and you only have a small window of time to make your sale. Quick! What is your hotel?
If your answer is “like a Marriott, only different” you’ve got work to do. In crafting this summation of your brand essence, ask your team what your brand stands for today and what you want it to stand for tomorrow. Then ask yourself if you are ready to embrace change. Because it is a brave new world out there. Here are some things to consider:
1. Effective Hotel Marketing Needs a WOW Factor
This doesn’t have to be anything big. Some hotels hand their guests a hot, homemade cookie when they check in. Some greet them with personalized stationary in their room (like people write letters any more). Some hotels feature all-female bellman teams (naughty meets nice). What touch are you going to add that sets the experience apart?
2. Can Speed Be Your Differentiator?
Over the next decade, the Millennials will become the hospitality industry’s core constituency. This is an impatient generation that grew up with Internet. They want what they want and they want it now. A hotel chain that offers faster booking, faster check-in and faster Wi-Fi can carry the day.
3. Is Your Hotel Website so 2013?
Brand strategy loses a lot of its punch if your website is passé. Considering the fact that travelers are increasingly taking their transactions online, each of your chain’s properties should have a revamped website that works seamlessly from the desktop to the laptop to the tablet to the phone. This is why your hotel chain should invest in a responsive design website for each of its properties.
4. Web Content is More Valuable than Ad Space
Search engines have become today’s travel agent. PPC has its place, but SEO is fed and nourished with fresh content. Effective content marketing is quickly replacing those small space ads in the travel sections of magazines and newspapers. As you shape your elevator pitch, make sure that you lean on content creation. Today’s brands must be more than advertisers. They must be publishers.
5. Can Your Chain Better Leverage Mobile?
Social Media is alive and well on your customers smart phones. This subtle symbiosis of phone and social media platform is pushing hotel marketing into new frontiers. The hotel chain that embraces this will carry the day.
6. Can You Tailor Your Online Deals to Your Online Customers?
You can let online deals commoditize your business or you can use them to seize the moment. The hospitality market continues to become more challenging given consumers ever-increasing ability to find more online deals that are tailored to their specific interests and desires, yet provide real monetary value. Take advantage of the data out there on your customers’ interests, history and income to serve up deals that incorporate these insights. Put that in an elevator pitch and I smell an Oscar!
7. Can You Turn Lemons Into Lemonade?
Hotel marketers must stay ahead of reputation management. With such avenues as Yelp, Trip Advisor and even Facebook, a negative hotel experience can be quickly plastered across the web. There are millions of reviews written everyday. All of which makes reputation management a high priority. Get out in front of these complaints with discounts and make-goods that cement these relationships before they go sour.
Crafting a unique, authentic elevator pitch requires the perfect blend of storytelling and science. But you can’t do this in a vacuum. You have to understand your changing target, the shifting trends and the latest technology. If you need help optimizing your hotel and travel marketing, feel free to give us a toll-free call at 866.642.7559.