Want more group bookings? Tell a better story.

May 27, 2014

Tambourine: Hospitality and Tourism Marketing BlogWeddings. Family reunions. Milestone birthday weekends. Nothing fills your hotel like a group celebrating. They book multiple rooms, eat at your restaurant, and bring merriment (and revenue) to every outlet in the hotel.

If you can show them the story they will someday tell, you’ve sold them.

You’d love to book an event every weekend, but marketing to these groups is difficult and expensive. Party planners are fickle. Trends come and go so quickly, you’re forced into costly updates and repackaging. But there is one timeless, common desire every guest wants. And you can sell it over and over at little cost to you. What is it? A story they can repeat for years to come.

Whether you have all the amenities on their checklist or not, if you can show them the story they will someday tell, you’ve sold them. Of course, now the question is how to get the story into their heads. Let’s examine some ideas together.

But first, you must know what constitutes a story.

A story is not your lush green surroundings. It is not room décor or chef’s creations or cake toppings. Those are details. More than likely, you already have a website and brochures full of details. A story is grandma traveling across the state to dance with 5-year-old Johnny. A story is the bride forgetting her something blue in her suite and the best man retrieving it just in time. Stories revolve around people. When you tell a good story, guests picture their grandma dancing in your ballroom and their best man dashing through your hallways.

5 Simple Tricks to Event-Capturing Storytelling

Now, that you have an image in your head of a good story, we can uncover some ways to make them public.

  1. Start small: You need a story to tell one. If you haven’t booked a wedding in six months, you can still show your romantic side by creating a weekend engagement package. As more people propose at your hotel, use their stories. The internet loves proposal stories.
  2. Post a Treasured Memories page on your website: After an event, tell the planner you want to feature their party. Ask if you can interview a guest. It doesn’t have to be the star of the party. Somebody who traveled far or who has known the guest of honor the longest usually has a good tale to tell. Remember, people love to share these stories. You simply need to ask.
  3. Use spontaneous quotes on social media: Spontaneous comments build associations between your hotel and emotions. For instance, a partygoer says to you, “I danced so much my feet will hurt for a week!” Instantly, your property sounds like a fun place to throw a party.
  4. Take control of social media by creating a hashtag:  Business conferences use hashtags so attendees can connect. Chances are your private events will too, but learning what those hashtags are can be tricky–unless you create them. Sneak a #MarklovesMelissa or a #SamsAManMitzvah at the end of your first correspondence. Put your hashtag on welcome packages and cards. Get everyone excited about sharing their story on social media.
  5. Add-in your guest service skills: Now that you know where to find them on social media, join in on the conversation where appropriate. If everyone is enjoying dinner downtown and you know there is great live jazz next door. Use their special hashtag to suggest they check out the show. Essentially take the impeccable guest service you provide in private and broadcast it.

Bonus Tip: Don’t wait until your next event to begin. Get in the habit of storytelling today.  As you read this post, did a memorable guest story pop into your head? Share it with us in the comments. Or post this on social media with your favorite story from a past private event.

About Tambourine

Tambourine drives revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. For more information, visit Tambourine.com.