The Importance of Storytelling for Hotels

Storytelling—your brand can’t survive without it. Here’s what you need to know about why storytelling for hotels matters.

An open book with fairy lights illuminating the pages

What is storytelling?

Marketing storytelling is essentially a brand’s deliberate effort to build enduring ties with its customers.

Telling a story isn’t just about the words on a page; it’s about the language used; a fitting tone and voice; the images, videos, colour choice, and overall image you’re putting forth.

It’s a soft sell technique that aims to engage the customer first, sell second—and it’s an essential component of any hotel’s digital marketing strategy.

In fact, hospitality and travel & tours businesses – as well as destination marketers – wouldn’t survive without it.

A snowy alpine village at night with lights glowing in the distance

Since time immemorial, stories have brought us together

Have you noticed how auto ads aren’t entirely about the car’s technical specifications? They’re about where the car can take you and the memories you’ll make with it.

Shoe ads aren’t just about their features and benefits but the places you’ll go wearing them.

Snack advertisements don’t necessarily focus on taste or flavour. They emphasise the fun to be had when it’s enjoyed and shared with friends.

Stories are everywhere—and they matter.

Done properly, fresh narratives have a powerful effect on us—an irresistible pull. And in an industry where travelers have an endless selection of hotels to choose from, that charisma and magnetism are vital for long-term success.

That’s why, for hotels, storytelling is indispensable. Because cliché or not, the fact remains that great storytelling sells.

A story well told makes your brand shine

In your business, you aren’t just selling a place to sleep—you’re offering prospective guests an experience. So the worst thing you can do is be like everyone else. Blend in or run with the pack.

Read: Marketing in the Experience Economy

Because with countless places to choose from, and every hotel room made up of the same fundamentals – a bed, lamp, desk, chair, bathroom, minibar, and TV – how do you stand out? More importantly, how do you motivate travelers to book your property?

When every hotel room is made up of the same fundamentals, storytelling for hotels is what helps you stand out. Your story is what makes you different.

The short answer is by implementing storytelling for hotels—your story is what makes you different.

The unique narrative you’ve crafted reinforces that there’s no other hotel in town quite like you.

It’s what captures a prospective guest’s interest.

And it’s what makes you remarkable.

The why and how of your existence – how your hotel came to be, why your interiors and design is a certain way, the significance of your location, the amazing restaurants in your neighbourhood, the little-known attractions within walking distance – is what attracts readers and convinces them to proceed with the booking.

It’s precisely those details that give prospects an idea of what to expect.

Then they become talking points; stories shared with friends when travelers go back home.

At the end of the day, a story well told influences perception, i.e. an organic way to position your brand in the industry.

Tray breakfast served pool-side

Storytelling for hotels: great stories, greater revenues

Brands that excel at storytelling are more likely to convince prospective travelers to book their vacation with them than those that rely purely on facts and figures.

The reason is simple.

Your hotel becomes a more attractive option when you’re able to share a unique and interesting narrative around your brand, your property, your neighbourhood.

In other words effective brand storytelling translates into more bookings and greater revenues. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

Stories are memorable

Let’s try a little experiment.

Browse a handful of hotel websites at a destination of your choice but don’t take any notes. Then go back to your regular daily activities. A few days later, try to recall the hotels you looked at.

You’ll notice that the ones that you remember in greater detail—the ones that stood out and left an impact—are the ones with a story that appealed to you.

That’s because facts and figures communicated via stories are remembered up to 22 times more than when it’s just the facts and figures alone.

Hotels with a distinctive story draw us in and get us involved. We find ourselves immersed in the hotel’s world and actually imagine ourselves there. That’s how they become memorable.

Meanwhile, you probably can’t even remember the ones that stuck with generic text or standard information like the typical “top location”, “50 well-appointed rooms”, “great dining options”.

Great stories make us feel; they inspire us to travel.

They inspire us to travel

Great stories make us feel.

Stories well told have us dreaming of – and counting down the days until – we can experience it all first-hand.

They spark excitement and anticipation; joy and wonder; happiness and belonging. They also stimulate fernweh—so much so that we’re inspired to travel and driven to act on that desire, sometimes even impulsively.

Read: Should your hotel have a blog?

Stories help drive direct bookings

What makes your property attractive to potential guests is the experience you’re promising them—and your website is precisely where you communicate that in a clear, attractive, and likeable manner.

As a whole, the best rates on the web, the greatest perks, and an appealing story naturally guide visitors to the ‘book now’ button.

A great story justifies higher room rates

As the famous quote goes, if you do what everyone else does in business, you’re going to lose.

That’s why generic text and simply blending in won’t help you increase revenue—and why competing on rates alone won’t give you an edge forever.

But a great story that resonates with your ideal guest can.

If people can see the value in and quality of your brand – that what you stand for aligns with their own values, image, desires, and expectations – then that validates a higher room rate.

Storytelling for hotels strengthens your brand

An authentic story breathes life into your brand. It’s what humanizes you thereby allowing guests to form a personal connection, grow affection, and build loyalty to you.

In other words it strengthens your brand—and doesn’t cost a fortune to achieve!

So what’s your hotel’s story? If it’s still untold – or not communicated well – then you aren’t achieving your full potential. It’s time to fix that—let me help.