First of all… What is branded content?
Branded content involves creating content that is related to your hotel brand, but not directly related to your products or services. In other words, these contents must provide value, transmit emotions, satisfy needs. In short, the new content generated must be able to connect consumers with your brand. Create a conversation, an engagement.
So this strategy does not work if you want online users to book immediately on your hotel’s website. But it does help these consumers to get to know your values and fall in love with your hotel even before they stay at .
Why is it relevant to your hotel?
Perhaps you had thought that publishing content, both on your website and on the different social media platforms, consisted only of uploading good images of your hotel’s facilities and services with their respective descriptions. This is not enough. While it is important and should be part of your website, it is not the kind of content that is engaging.
Users accessing your hotel’s website or your social media pages may be regular customers or potential customers. And they are definitely looking for more information to compare and weigh their options.
Your hotel’s content strategy must be able to meet the requirements of your ideal customers. You have to offer that something else that they need to consume, that they want to consume. Focus on your environment, not your hotel. Maybe it would be enough with agendas of activities in the area near your hotel, cultural guides, gastronomic information, etc.
What are your guests really looking for?
As a hotel manager, you may find this question absurd, but the answer is not as simple as it seems. Times have changed and so have the rules of the hotel market. There are several factors that can be identified as the cause: globalization and the increasing wealth of travelers, as well as the evolution of technologies. If customers used to value luxury rooms and sophisticated hotels, now their expectations have changed, they are different from what they were a few years ago. So, let’s think about it and answer the question: What are my guests really looking for?
It may sound secondary, but now to offer free wifi access is no longer an extra, it has become a necessity. Business travelers, for example, will have to check their e-mail. If your guests are millenials you know they will die if they can’t update their friends on social networks or post their most recent experiences. Wifi is a must-have tool today!
Your guests will also take into account other, more material aspects: for example, when you survey people, we can see that a great deal of attention is given to importance to breakfast. Today it plays a key role in a traveler’s decision making for two reasons. First of all, because guests always like to enjoy a nice and tasty breakfast to start the day, without having to leave the hotel. So don’t waste any more time and offer them their breakfast! There is no such thing as a free lunch. But beware of quality. People seek to have experiences. And the food is part of the experience. Simply put: consumers love the convenience of being able to have their breakfast at the hotel, and they love the experience of a good meal. Now you know what to do!
Speaking of experiences, you might have guessed that it’s not just about food. The consumer will experience different emotions, and the personalization of products and services, for example, makes them unique and special. Even small changes count. From giving your customers the option to have a pillow they like, because realistically, when they spend a night in your hotel they want the comfort they paid for. For those who own a car, we can also offer you free parking. In addition, you could include power adapters available to your foreign guests; saving them that little hassle. One by one these little things matter.
It is easy to understand that the price of your hotel rooms is also something that travel consumers are concerned about. These users will look for the best value for money, obviously. In other words, your potential customers want value. And not only that, but also honesty. This means that they want to be sure that they will receive services that correspond to the same value they will pay for.
And speaking of value. Perhaps you had thought that publishing valuable content on your website consisted only in uploading good images of the facilities and services with their respective descriptions. This is not enough. Your online users are looking for more information to compare and weigh their options. With the branded content you can be much more creative, because it involves creating content that is related to your hotel brand, but not directly related to your products or services. In other words, these contents must provide value, transmit emotions, satisfy needs. In short, the new content generated must be able to connect consumers with your brand. Create engagement.
Last but not least, when looking for the hotel in which to stay, consumers will also consider the benefits and discounts of your hotel. loyalty program. In fact, your loyalty plan is one of the most important factors guiding your guests in their decisions. Therefore, think about it: do you have a powerful hotel loyalty software? do you offer loyalty benefits? If you do, are they enough? Are they working? If you don’t, you should know the importance of your loyalty plan.
What are the best practices?
To incorporate content generation to your marketing strategy you must take into account that your hotel needs:
Participate in the conversation.
Before creating content for your consumers think about which platform they communicate best on. Your potential customers are likely to spend more time on one or the other. Participating in the conversation means including your message in the format they will understand best, from publications to videos.
2. Customize content creation.
That you need to have well defined your ideal guests is already obvious. But in this case, to make these travelers feel really satisfied you have to be able to generate personalized content.
For example, if a large number of your customers come to your hotel for a wedding, you should make sure to generate content that can attract, in this case, a bride. The kind of information around weddings is a whole world, and not necessarily directly related to your hotel. But don’t you think it would be a great attraction?
On the other hand, your hotel could be a rural establishment, where your clients come for all the possibilities of active sports in the area, or for the possibilities of relaxation. Focus on yours when offering content. You’re sure to have a choice to start with.
3. Consider influencers.
In the online world, there are personalities who, in addition to generating their own content, can influence the purchasing decision of other consumers. We could say that they are the people who have real power on the Internet. So you should not only generate content for your potential guests, but for the people who can influence their decisions. And not only create content, but make them part of yours and they themselves can be your suppliers.
In fact, if we take into account the wise words of David Beebe, Marriott International’s Vice President of Global Creative and Content Marketing, we have to accept that brands have no control over consumers, because consumers are the ones who decide when, where and how they interact with brands.
And, speaking of Marriott, this hotel chain has two clear examples of branded content. On the one hand, Marriot Traveler is a website with unique content created exclusively for leisure and business travelers. This website does not talk directly about the hotel’s products, but has relevant information about different destinations, so it is useful and entertaining.
On the other hand, this chain produced a short film “Two Bellmen” which had a large audience, and which left comments on social networks such as “I’m only gonna stay at JW Marriott now“. A short film that was a big boost to direct bookings from online users.
In short, branded content is the Inbound Marketing technique that can help you if you need to make your ideal clients fall in love with you. To build a quality and long-lasting loyalty, you have to provide value and entertainment. You have to stop investing in intrusive advertising and include in your strategy the creation of content that really interests. A strategy that will benefit you as long as you have well defined the branding of your hotel.