Thursday, September 24, 2015

Driving Hotel Bookings With Experiential Marketing

Travelers today are expecting, in many cases, much more than a relaxing time during their vacations. They are seeking to fully immerse themselves in their travel destinations and its surrounding culture in new and exciting ways. This trend is being driven by travelers in pursuit of unique adventures and their desire to find truly authentic local experiences while on vacation.

The experiential traveler is a direct result of the public’s easy access to destination information via the Internet. The rise of the sharing economy and the various alternatives to traditional accommodations available to travelers today has fed into this trend as well. No one is more knowledgeable regarding a particular location than a local who lives there and opens up his or her home to visitors from elsewhere. However, these travelers also provide an opportunity for hoteliers in search of fresh approaches toward improving the hotel guest experience.


Hotel Activities and Events

Hotel hosted events and activities, geared toward showcasing the local flavor, are precisely the type of experience vacationers seek. For example, hosting a cooking event led by a local chef will connect a hotel’s guests with the cuisine of a destination much more effectively than menu changes at the hotel restaurant ever would. Nature or historical walks hosted by a local and experienced guide will provide further connection as well. Another possibility is for the hotel to organize a musically oriented evening steeped in local folk traditions. Hotel guest attendees should be encouraged to actively participate with performers, as opposed to passively listening and watching. The many possibilities are as limitless as the hotel destinations are themselves.


Hotel Art

Hotels across America and around the world are discovering the power of artwork to convey a sense of locality and destination to their guests. Hotels can fill their common areas and accommodations with the works of local artists, while the art can become a destination unto itself. Many hotels are now hosting art auctions and display sales as well. Travelers can sometimes be enticed to book a hotel with the possibility of acquiring valuable artwork from the local artists there.


Hotel Mobile Technology

Mobile technology can enhance and improve the overall hotel guest experience dramatically. For example, hotel apps can become an extension of the hotel’s concierge services, particularly when the guest is off the property and out enjoying the locale. Apps can make recommendations based on local experience for everything from local food and drink to entertainment and culture.

Other customer service options available to hoteliers through mobile technology briefly include room set up, mobile check-in and out, and the use of a smartphone to open hotel room doors. All of which are appealing to the tech savvy, experiential traveler of today who is likely extremely comfortable with technology. 

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