The “Live There” campaign from Airbnb reveals an intention to target a new demographic – after traditionally looking to connect with Millennials, it is now marketing to families.
The ad is all about Airbnb’s proposition that immersive, local experiences are more rewarding than traditional, tourist activities.
Their message is clear and confident: why act like a tourist when you can live like a local?
This whole idea of experiencing destinations like a local has become a major travel trend in recent years. As Airbnb pushes this idea, hotels need to consider how they can promote unique, local experiences of their own.
One way hotels can achieve this is to ensure that their own website is an engaging online travel resource that inspires potential guests and drives direct bookings.
With that in mind, here are a selection of ways hotels can localize their website to compete with Airbnb.
Produce a video of the local area
According to Google’s Traveler’s Road to Decision report, 66% of people watch content related to travel while they consider taking a trip.
So, having video content on your homepage can be a great way to instantly engage your audience and inspire them to think about what sort of vacation they can have while staying at your hotel.
By producing a short video, you can showcase the best attractions your location has to offer. This might involve showing off neighbourhood parks and hiking trails, the buzzing local nightlife, cultural highlights or the gorgeous beach just steps from your property.
You could also look to capture local events such as food festivals, live comedy gigs, arts exhibitions and farmers markets to market your destination as a vibrant, activity-packed place to spend a trip year-round.
Ultimately, producing engaging visual content like this can give customers compelling reasons to stay with you, nudging them one step closer to that all-important booking decision.
Create a designated destinations guide
While a promotional video will give visitors a flavour of your destination, it’s also worth creating a dedicated page that delivers a more in-depth overview of nearby attractions.
Airbnb do this with its themed guidebooks, each providing a lowdown on the best local spots that have been suggested by Airbnb hosts. But hotels can also use this approach to their advantage.
For instance, St. James’ Court in London created its own virtual concierge. This digital guide is packed with information on the top local sights, including parks, museums, theatres and exclusive shops.
Each attraction includes a written description, says how far it is from the hotel with a map plus links to the attraction’s own website.
Having a dedicated page that acts as a “local guide” gives travellers the ability to picture your destination. But more than that, it can position your hotel as a helpful and knowledgeable resource that customers feel they can rely on during their stay.
Sell ‘local’ on your homepage
According to statistics, 55% of people spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. So as soon as they hit your homepage, you need to give them a compelling reason to stick around.
While customers obviously want to know about rooms, facilities and amenities, your homepage provides an opportunity to sell them on the unique local experiences that will make their trip truly memorable.
By giving a snapshot of your destination’s highlights, you can create a distinct point of difference from the competition.
It’s best to assume that people will be skimming your homepage so this isn’t the time for lengthy chunks of text. Instead, mention the area highlights using snappy headlines, short paragraphs and a series of inspiring images.
Pique your audience’s interest in those vital first seconds and you’ll give them a strong reason to delve deeper into your site.
Blog about local events
There’s no doubt that maintaining a blog takes time, but done in the right way, it can be a powerful resource for promoting everything that’s great about your neighbourhood.
When it comes to content creation, it’s important to think about the kind of experiences your guests really care about. Checking review sites and asking for customer feedback is an easy way to gather helpful insight.
Based on this information, you might want to write a feature on that uber-trendy music venue the locals love, the gourmet restaurant everyone’s raving about, the top free family days out, or the best beaches to escape the crowds.
As well as attracting visitors to your site with new posts, you best articles can also provide inspiration for marketing emails. Individual posts can also be repackaged into a complete guide to your destination, offered as a free download to anyone that signs up for your newsletter.
Today, travel brands are increasingly promoting local experiences through their marketing efforts and own websites. Sharing economy giants such as Airbnb have become masters of this approach, crafting their brand proposition beyond the millennial audience.
But every hotel has the opportunity to do the same. By localizing their websites through the creation of inspiring content, potential customers will be given a reason to book, beyond the comforts of the hotel room.
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