Micro-influencers: why trust trumps ads

Micro-influencers can make a huge impact for your hotel marketing strategy—they’re trustworthy, authentic, and can even trump the influence of someone who has a large number of followers. Tune in as I share why:


Want to make micro-influencers part of your strategy? Check out Adweek, Venture Beat, and Jeff Bullas, or get in touch with me here.

Stories sell: how storytelling can increase hotel revenue

A pair of eyeglasses is just a pair of eyeglasses. That is until it’s a pair from Warby Parker. That’s because, for every pair sold, another is donated to a person in need. Suddenly, everyone who buys a pair is part of an inspiring story–one that unveils something meaningful about each person.

In a world filled with an abundance of choices, an inspirational narrative is what sets brands apart. For your hotel, it’s no different. Richer stories—especially those shared by your guests–can help you break away from the competition, and increase hotel revenue while you’re at it.

How? Stories shape travelers’ perception of value, urging hotels away from competing so heavily on price.

The science behind stories

Significant Objects was an experiment that studied the effect of storytelling on an object’s perceived value. Each object, most of which people would argue were useless relics, was purchased on average for $1.25. The objects in total came to $128.74.

However, when paired with a compelling story written for each object by a pool of talented writers, all the objects sold bid-style for a grand total of $3,612.51—over 27 times more than what they were originally purchased.

It’s clear that stories play an enormous role on perceived value to the consumer.

How storytelling can increase hotel revenue
Courtesy of Adweek / Hill Holliday

If that’s not enough proof, a recent consumer study from Hill Holliday, an ad agency in Boston, found storytelling had a positive correlation on a hotel’s room price. The room that was paired with a photo and story from someone that stayed at the hotel was worth 5% more than the same room with just typical accommodation photos and a description.

“Every time, the product that had a story pulled in more money than the same product without one. That’s a lift on no additional investment.”

Ilya Vedrashko, SVP and Director of Research at Hill Holliday’s consumer research arm, Origin, summed up the study nicely, “Every time, the product that had a story pulled in more money than the same product without one. That’s a lift on no additional investment.”

Why stories sell

One reason stories sell is because they simplify social proof—the idea that if someone has made the decision to purchase, then you trust their opinion to get a greater sense that you’re making the right decision when buying. In this case, the storytellers matter–this effect is even stronger when you know the person.

There are a ton of explanations why social proof is effective, but what does it look like for hotels?

Well, your guests already have a lot to say. Take this quote from Meredith, a guest of Hotel Wailea, that we featured in a recent Stories that inspire:

Guest story from Meredith at Hotel Wailea

“Beyond the stunning grounds, the incredible food, the pristine rooms, and the delicious poolside drinks, all of which I’d give 5 stars, I’d find a way to give 6 stars for the staff and customer service.

When we arrived after a whirlwind wedding week in South Carolina, we were exhausted and ready to relax. Thanks to a helpful tailwind and minimal traffic, we showed up a little earlier than expected and were greeted with leis and huge, warm smiles.

When someone loves their job, you can tell in their demeanor, and it was clear from the start that everyone at Hotel Wailea loved their job. That says a lot about a place right off the bat. The staff suggested we head to the pool for a quiet bite and a drink while they finished up with our room.

As we looked over the edge of the lobby at the 180-degree views of the ocean, we were in heaven, and as the cool breeze off the ocean hit our face, so did a wave of complete relaxation. We had just gotten here, but it already felt like home.” — Meredith A.

Quite the story, right? With impeccable service, stunning grounds, and a staff that made all the difference, it’s no wonder Meredith had so much to praise. Even better, this incredible perspective started with a simple question, “What was the best part of your experience with us?

From richer stories to a more profitable hotel

You’ve seen how telling a compelling story can help increase hotel revenue. Now, I’m not saying marketers should slap on a creative narrative to a cheap product just to charge more. But you should consider and play up what’s unique about the experience at your hotel, and in doing so, you’ll be able to steer clear from relying just on price to compete.

By tapping into what your guests already have to say, you’ll be on your way to winning more business with authentic perspectives that your competitors can’t touch.

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Stories that inspire: our favorite guest moments from March

Every guest story is an opportunity for a hotel to unveil something new. Stories reach & inspire—they’re truly memorable, sometimes magical, and a lot of times, a bit of fun.

In a way, we’ve fallen in love with guest stories, and every day see firsthand the impact they’re making for hotels. That’s why we’re sharing them with you! Check out a handful of our recent favorites below:

River Ranch – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Westgate River Ranch Resort — River Ranch, Florida

“Beautiful sunrise horseback riding. The early bird gets the quietest and most stunning views of the property!” — Stephanie N.

Relax a bit

A stunning sunrise while horseback riding makes for a beautiful moment captured by Stephanie, a recent guest of Westgate River Ranch Resort. Together, Stephanie and fellow guests have helped the resort tap into over 32,000 authentic introductions in less than one month.

Osthoff Resort – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

The Osthoff Resort — Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

“We often celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Osthoff. We were celebrating with a group on the lobby balcony when a guest sat at the piano and began playing ‘Piano Man’ in the bar area below. We all started singing and soon 50+ strangers had gathered and were toasting and singing in unison. It still gives me the chills.” — Tammy V.

Show some love

The Osthoff Resort is at the center of a memory that will be cherished for years to come. It’s special moments like these that resonate with future travelers.

Shephard's Beach – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Shephard’s Beach Resort — Clearwater, Florida

“Sweet sunset!” — Missy B.

Visit Clearwater

Missy, a recent guest of Shephard’s Beach Resort, took a moment to enjoy the beautiful Gulf sunset, later sharing this special moment with 195 friends and relatives. Together, in less than three months, Missy and fellow guests have warmly introduced Shephard’s Beach Resort to an audience of over 390,000, generating an astounding 4,088 warm leads!

Red Mountain Resort – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Red Mountain Resort — Ivins, Utah

“I am truly humbled by the beauty of zion and Red mountain resort! This photo was taken on the zion day hike offered by red mountain resort. A must do if you love adventure and nature at its finest!” — Cynthia B.

Explore more

Red Mountain Resort reaches travelers perfect for their hotel thanks to guests like Cynthia. She shared her adventure with 377 friends and relatives, driving over 1,256 unique site visits and 88 warm leads.

Lakeway Resort – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Lakeway Resort — Austin, Texas

“Just a little man loving the pool!” — Kristen H.

Admire more

Kristen shared this moment of pure joy with 1,556 friends and relatives. She’s already led 260 of those reached back to the hotel’s website, generating 33 warm leads.

South Seas Island Resort – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

South Seas Island Resort — Captiva, Florida

“South Seas Island Resort has always been a place of celebration for us. My mom surprised me with a trip when I graduated college. I surprised her when she had a weight loss goal of over 100 pounds.

I love this picture because my mom looks carefree and full of life! I still can’t believe she did this since can’t even swim!! Now married and a new mother it would be amazing to have another celebration and share my love for Captiva with my growing family at South Seas!” — Melissa W.

Discover more

South Seas Island Resort holds a special place in Melissa’s heart. Stories like this one are more powerful than any ad.

Orchard Hotel – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Orchard Hotel — San Francisco, California

“Was out for a stroll the first day I arrived, and as I walked by the piers I saw this old ship sailing and I ran up to the pier and snapped the photo. It was taken on my birthday!! What a wonderful trip!” — Shannon T.

Take in the view

The perfect timing led to a breathtaking shot captured by Shannon, a recent guest of Orchard Hotel. She shared this beautiful birthday memory with 861 friends and relatives, generating 116 warm leads.

Crystal Lodge – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Crystal Lodge — Whistler, Canada

“The Crystal Lodge staff was tremendous – very helpful and attentive to our needs. The location is great, and we were delighted by the size of our room. A great value overall.” — Scott M.

Explore Whistler

An awesome location and all-star staff made all the difference for Scott, a recent guest of Crystal Lodge. It’s no wonder he shared this story with 782 friends and family members, drawing 745 site visitors and 102 warm leads.

Pacific Terrace – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Pacific Terrace — San Diego, California

“Grandpa at the Beach.” — Eileen K.

Make memories

Pacific Terrace is enhancing their marketing with rich, authentic content thanks to Eileen and fellow guests.

Carter Estate – A favorite March guest story from Flip.to

Carter Estate Winery and Resort — Temecula, California

“Beautiful! So relaxing. Every room has a spectacular view!” — Janee M.

Check out the view

Carter Estate Winery is boosting revenue and telling a richer story, all while amplifying their brand with an incredible library of content.

Check back next month for even more. See any stories that stand out? Let us know!

Adventure back to February’s stories