Written by: Cristina García
Your hotel’s brand identity is what defines you. And we already know your branding must be attractive. So you don’t have to forget that your hotel’s identity combines not only its visual features, but also its emotional and communicative features. For this reason, the content strategy and in particular the branded content is what your hotel needs.
What’s branded content in the first place?
Branded content involves creating content related to your hotel’s brand, but not directly to your products or services. That is, this content must add value, convey emotions, satisfy needs. Definitely, new generated content has to be able to connect consumers with your brand. Create a conversation, an engagement.
So this strategy doesn’t work if what you want is getting online users to book immediately on your hotel’s website. But it does work to get consumers to know your identity characteristics, so they can fall in love with your hotel before event booking.
Maybe you thought that publishing content both on your website and in different social networking platforms, was only about having good images of your hotel’s facilities and services with their descriptions. Obviously this is not enough. While it is important and it has to be part of your site it is not the most attractive content you can have.
Users who access your hotel’s website or your social network profiles, can be either regular customers or potential customers. And for sure, they are looking for more information to compare and weigh their options.
Your hotel’s content strategy should be able to meet your ideal clients’ requirements. You have to offer something that they need to consume, that they want to consume. Focus on your environment, not on your hotel. Maybe you think it’s enough by just including an agenda of activities nearby your hotel, cultural guides, gastronomic information, etc. But with branded content you can be much more creative.
To incorporate branded content to your marketing strategy to keep in mind that your hotel needs:
Before creating content for your customers think about in what platform they are spending their time, so you can address there your communication. Joining conversation involves including your message in a format that they will understand, from publications to videos.
You need to have well defined your ideal guests and it is obvious. But in this case, for these travelers feel really pleased you have to be able to generate personalized content.
For example, if most of your clients go to your hotel for a wedding celebration, 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 it’s not necessarily directly related to your hotel. But, do not you think it would be great in order to attract?
On the other hand, your hotel could be a rural property in an area that offers many possibilities for active sport, or even the chance to relax in a natural environment. Then you should focus on your attractions when offering content. Sure you have many options to start with.
In the online world, there are personalities that influence other consumers’ purchasing decisions, in addition to generating own content. We could say that these people have real power over the Internet. So, you should not just create content for your potential guests, but also for people who can influence their decision. But just that wouldn’t be enough, since you should involve those influencers in your content and allow them to be your users generating your content.
Actually if we consider the wise words of David Beebe, Marriott International’s Vice President of Creative Global and Content Marketing, we must accept that brands have no control over consumers because these are the ones who decide when, where and how they interact with brands.
And speaking of Marriott, this hotel chain has two clear branded content examples. On the one hand, Marriot Traveler is a unique website with content created exclusively for both leisure and business travelers. This site doesn’t include directly their hotel products, but has relevant information about different destinations, so it is useful and entertaining.
POn the other hand, this chain produced a short film “Two Bellmen” that had great audience and left on social networks comments like “I’m only gonna stay at JW Marriott now”. A short film which was a major boost for online users to book directly.
In short, branded content is an Inbound Marketing technique that can help your hotel if you need your ideal clients to fell in love with it. To build a quality and long-lived loyalty, you have to provide value and entertainment. You have to stop investing in intrusive advertising and start including an interesting content creation strategy. One that will benefit you as long as your hotel’s branding is well defined.