The Importance of Storytelling for Hotels

Here’s why storytelling for hotels matters. (Hint: Your brand can’t survive without it!)

Hotel storytelling: Here's why having a brand story matters.

What is storytelling?

Marketing storytelling is a soft sell technique that aims to engage the customer first before going for the sale—it’s an essential component of any hotel’s digital marketing strategy. (In fact, hospitality, travel & tours businesses, as well as destination marketers wouldn’t survive without it.)

Put another way, it’s a brand’s deliberate effort to build enduring ties with its customers. But storytelling isn’t just about the words on a page; it’s about the language used; a fitting tone and voice; the images, videos, color choice, and overall image you put forth.

An open book with fairy lights illuminating the pages

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 flavor. They emphasize the fun to be had when enjoyed with friends.

Stories are everywhere—and they matter.

Done properly, fresh narratives have a powerful effect on us. That’s why hotel storytelling is indispensable. Because cliché or not, the fact remains that great storytelling sells. And in an industry where travelers have an endless selection of hotels to choose from, capturing a reader’s heart (and imagination) is vital for long-term success.

A story well told makes your brand shine

In your business, you aren’t just selling a place to sleep; you’re offering guests an experience. But with countless places to choose from, and every hotel room made up of the same fundamentals – a bed, lamp, desk, chair, and bathroom – blending in or running with the pack is the last thing you want to do. There would be no incentive to book your hotel over all the other similar-priced options!

So, 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. Storytelling highlights how your brand is different, reinforcing the perception that there’s no other hotel in town quite like you.

To be more precise, storytelling covers the why and how of your hotel business: 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 neighborhood; and the little-known attractions within walking distance. It’s those details that attracts bookers to begin with.

And that’s not all! Aside from setting the stage for what a guest can expect, hotel brand stories often become talking points; memories shared with friends when travelers go back home.

At the end of the day, a story well told influences perception, making it 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 more attractive when you share a unique and interesting narrative around your brand, your property, your neighborhood.

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 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 start imagining 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

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. In short, great stories make us feel.

✅ 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.

An appealing story + awesome perks + the best rates on the web = direct bookings.

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

✅ 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. It’s also why competing on rates alone won’t give you an edge forever.

But a brand story that resonates with your ideal guest? Now that has legs!

If people 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. That translates to a higher likelihood of having guests return in the future!