The most successful luxury resorts and hotels have a lot in common: superior service, exceptional amenities, refined accommodations. Those things are all important, of course, but they’re not differentiators: They are things that guests expect.
So how do these properties set themselves apart? When luxury is expected, how do you provide the unexpected?
By telling unique stories—stories that are as much about your audience as they are about you. What will guests experience when they stay with you? How will they feel? What can they take away to use in their everyday lives, long after they depart?
You can make people want to be a part of your stories by including them from the beginning. Here are a few things that can help you do just that.
First, know your brand promise.
This is the foundation of every story. Why should someone care about your property? What’s in it for them? Those might sound like harsh questions, but before you go any further, you need to know the answers.
Say you’re a resort with a focus on wellness. Does your brand promise center around your spa, your meditation classes, your other offerings? No. It centers around what those things do for your guests—and not only when they’re at your property. “We believe wellness is about more than feeling good during a massage, a yoga session or a guided meditation. True wellness means carrying those feelings forward. That’s why we empower you to achieve them in your everyday life, too.”
Second, understand your audience—and don’t limit yourself to just one.
Too often, messaging is based on what the creator wants to say, or on what will help with search engine algorithms, instead of what will resonate with the audience. And remember, you likely have more than one target market, so don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of the different guests you want to reach. What’s important to them? You can—and should—have an overall story, but also different stories for each segment, whether it’s families, couples, weddings, groups, etc.
Third, keep your stories fresh.
Explore different ways to tell each of your stories, and utilize them all. On your website, rotate photos regularly and change up the language. Create videos with interviews and tips from your experts, such as the chef, yoga instructor or gardener. (“Here’s how we grow our veggies—and how you can do it at home.”) If possible, have your guests tell their stories as well; there’s nothing more powerful than someone talking about how a stay with you impacted their lives.
Finally, don’t be afraid to shift the focus away from your property from time to time.
Yes, you are hoping to attract guests to stay with you, but there are things to do and experiences to have off-property, too. Is highlighting the Michelin-starred restaurant down the road, and even giving tips on your favorite dishes there, going to hurt business at your restaurant? Probably not. What it will do, though, is show your audience that you’re on their side, that you want their experience to be special even when they explore elsewhere.
It also shows confidence—you’re not afraid to send people away, because you know the experience you provide will continue to bring them back.
Every brand story is different; there’s no template to follow, nor is there a single “right” way to tell yours. But with a little thought around who you are and the experiences you offer—and a lot of thought around who your audiences are and the experiences they want—you’ll craft stories that have both meaning and impact.