Hotel Room or Hotel Experience?
The Marketing Experiment.


How do I attract more guests and direct bookings?

Everything in hotel marketing revolves around THIS question.

And 99% of the time, the answers are about better keyword strategies and reservation systems

… and rarely do they address what is going on in the minds of our guests …

It’s crazy. In an industry whose service offer is based on communication and understanding people, we seem to find it difficult to speak to our guests online.

Guests are looking for an uplifting hotel experience,
and only secondarily a nice room.


You don’t agree? Then let me ask you this:

When do you spend money on a product or service?

Are you buying the new subscription for the fitness studio because the equipment is top class, or because an inner voice whispers in your ear, how slim, shapely and fit you could look in just a few weeks?

Are you booking the ticket for your charter flight because you can spend 8 hours in a comfortable window seat, or because the plane will take you to your dream destination?

And why do you choose a particular hotel? Because it advertises a great rainwater shower in the bathroom? Or because you can imagine exactly how well you will be supported on site at your important meeting?

People don’t buy products, they buy feelings and experiences.


How about your hotel?
Do you give guests a good reasons to book directly?

Do you show your guests the hotel experience that makes your hotel distinctive and completely differentiates you from the competition?

And what do the people behind the scenes see,
when they look at “their” hotel?

I wanted to know more … and started an experiment


Frau sitzt vor dem Laptop mit einer Tasse Kaffee und sucht nach Hotelerlebnissen Blick über die Schulter

To get real results, I compiled a selection of hotels in the same category and located in the same area.

I called the first hotel and explained that I’m calling on behalf of a small group: We were looking for a nice hotel but couldn’t make up our minds and needed help:

“We have already been to your website and we have all the information we need. Now we have 3 hotels shortlisted and we are not sure which one to choose. What would you say, what does your hotel stand for and what makes you special?”

A moment of silence and my contact person at the other end of the line did exactly what everyone working in the hotel industry is trained to do:

They routinely provided a description of the room categories, the hotel facilities and the convenient location of the hotel.

But I already had this information and so I repeated my question:

 I wanted to know what made this hotel different from their competitors around the corner.

The friendly person on the other end of the line searched hard for an appropriate answer, but apart from repeating information about the amenities – nothing.

Not in the next hotel, and not in the one after that …

I tried my luck in over 30 hotels, spoke to people in reservations, at reception, and in sales offices, with concierges and guest services – and always with the same result.

In a hotel, they put me through from reception to guest services, to reservations and finally even to the sales department.

Nobody could give me a convincing reason to book.
It never occurred to anyone to describe a personable hotel experience that would tempt me to make a reservation.


Since we were clearly going around in circles, in the next hotel, I steered the conversation towards the topic “guest.”

I asked what guests say about their stay and how the hotel expresses hospitality. I wanted to know what this hotel was doing differently from its competitors.

This question led to nowhere. Hotel team members reacted with incomprehension, displeasure, and palpable rejection up to a slight panic.

Not a good strategy to increases sales …

What do YOUR employees say when someone
raises this question?


In the end, it was the representative of a small 3-star boutique hotel who gave me my only (!) Answer. When she understood what I was looking for, she enthusiastically described the personal service of “her” hotel. She told me how the hotel brightened guests’ day with small gestures, and how many regulars they had because of that.

She entertained me with anecdotes, and the fun of her guests during the daily cocktail hour in the art deco lobby. I could feel her pride and passion working at the hotel coming across. She described a fabulous hotel experience.

When she finished, I wanted to book on the spot. To this day, I can still clearly remember the name of the hotel.

Because a receptionist painted the picture of an irresistible hotel experience for me …


This is what advertising looks like –

for more guests and more direct bookings.


Young lady walking through the hotel lobby - direct hotel bookings


Would you like to stand out with your hotel? 

Let guests instantly recognize the splendid experience available at your hotel?