Competition is hot in the travel industry these days, fueled in large part by the proliferation of online marketing and, in turn, travelers who seek unique, authentic experiences amid the deluge of travel information and advertising. This is why storytelling has become such a focus in hotel marketing; a property’s story helps to differentiate it from the crowd.
Your property’s story should be told through a variety of mediums on your website – photos, video and written copy – all working together to create context, appeal to emotion and convey the stay experience.
This blog post addresses how to write website copy effectively. The very first step is defining your property’s story.
What’s Your Story?
Every property has a story. It doesn’t have to be an epic tale born of a significant historic moment or figure (although, it might!) – it just has to be yours.
Defining your story is easier for some properties than others, but even a simple story is worth telling, as long as it is genuine. Storytelling hinges on a property’s stay experience, whether a romantic inn was once the home of a famous poet, a beachside hostel is THE place for surfers to stay, or a highway motel celebrates road tripping with quirky roadside attraction maps and complimentary travel snack packs.
Who are you?
Defining your property’s story begins with defining your property. The location, services (including amenities, dining and activities), staff and reason behind the business all contribute to “who” a property is.
Who are your guests?
A hotel’s story is also shaped by its guests. Who are your target customers (your most profitable customer segments), what motivates their travel, and why do they choose your property? What amenities and services do they appreciate? What do they ask about? What is most memorable to them about their stay experience?
Listen to your guests before and during their stay, read post-stay guest reviews, and use guest profile data to gain insights into who your guests are and what matters to them.
Define Your USPs
Your USPs (Unique Selling Points) are the heart of your story and are defined by “who” your property is and who your guests are. By taking a close look at both, you can determine the strengths of your property’s stay experience – whether it’s your top-rated spa, stunning location, or superb customer service. Focus your property’s story around its most celebrated assets.
Tell Your Story the Right Way
Once you’ve identified your property’s story you need to tell it in an engaging way on your website (and in emails, on social media and offline marketing too) to compel customers to book. Go beyond generic descriptions of amenities and inject some life into your website copy. Here are some tips for telling your property’s story the right way:
Focus on Experience
Rather than simply delivering the facts, focus on conveying the experience of staying at your property. The best way to do this is to appeal to customers’ emotions – how will staying at your property make guests feel? What makes a stay at your property different from one down the street? (Hint: your USPs will answer this!)
Will road warriors wake up refreshed after the best sleep ever? Will families create memories around the fire pit each night? Will couples fall in love all over again in hammocks swaying gently under the palm trees? Use personal pronouns (“you,” “your,” “our”) to engage readers.
The local destination is a big part of the stay experience, so weave this into your property’s narrative by highlighting the experience of the neighbourhood and nearby local attractions. Be a local expert – your customers will appreciate it!
One Topic per Page
Your homepage should give a brief but compelling overview of your property that invites website visitors to explore further through relevant CTA (call-to- action) buttons and easily navigable menus. From there, designating a single topic per page (like “Rooms” or “Amenities” or “Local Attractions”) makes it easier for visitors to navigate and comprehend your content. (Read our blog post on site navigation for some handy navigation design tips.)
Get to the Point
When writing about the stay experience it’s easy to get carried away. Telling your property’s story is exciting and you may realise you have a lot you want to share! Unfortunately, long paragraphs of text on a web page tend to put people off rather than draw them in. Studies show that most website viewers scan through content, reading only approximately 20 percent.
To ensure readers get the most out of your copy, think “short and sweet”! Here are some tips for keeping it simple:
- Organize page content under subheadings (helpful for most of us who scan).
- Make text easy to digest by keeping paragraphs short (about two or three sentences long).
- Put the most important information first.
- Ask yourself if a great image can do the talking instead.
- Include clear calls to action that relate to the purpose of each page. For example, a Rooms page should prominently display a “Book now” or “Check availability” button, while a Weddings & Events page might have a “Make an enquiry” or “Ask us a question” button.
Address All Travel Planning Stages
Google has found that people researching travel online via mobile devices conduct multiple short-burst searches across all travel planning stages to find answers to specific questions. These micro-moments are intent rich and present prime opportunities to capture the attention of customers. It’s important to provide content on your website for all stages of the travel research journey: the I- want-to- get-away moments; the Time-to- make-a- plan moments; the Let’s-book- it moments; and the Can’t-wait- to-explore moments.
Including information about local experiences on your website engages customers earlier in their travel planning journey (during the dreaming and planning moments) and is relevant to customers during the booking and experiencing moments too. Demonstrating your local expertise also enhances the experience you offer, and it’s great for SEO (search engine optimization).
In addition to mentioning the main drawcards of your location in the introduction of your homepage, it’s also good practice to dedicate a page to local attractions and things to do. Blogging is an excellent way to highlight local experiences as well. Be sure to link to the websites of the attractions and businesses you mention.
Think about the questions your customers have at each stage of their travel planning journey and ensure your website answers them.
Keep It Real
Last but certainly not least, keep your story real. Embellishing the truth will only result in disappointed guests and negative reviews. Refer to customer feedback to determine whether your website portrays your property accurately and to identify areas (both online and onsite) that could be improved.
Consistency of voice also helps to portray authenticity. Write in a tone and style that reflects the personality of your property and resonates with your target audience – and stick to it.
Website copy plays a crucial role in telling your property’s story along with photos, video, usergenerated content and overall site design. Put some time and effort into crafting written copy to engage customers and inspire them to choose you.
Need help? Drop us a line!