Hotel Marketing: Think big but start small

4 min read | BY NICK BONNEY

Listening to your guests and building a connection with them is front of mind for most hoteliers. However, your guests are bombarded by information on a daily, hourly, even by the minute basis. How can you cut through all this clutter and develop an ongoing story with your audience? One powerful way is to develop a ‘big idea’ that reflects your brand and personality and extends into all your marketing and social communication.


A ‘big idea’ is a strategically thought out creative idea that communicates with your audience consistently across many different channels (ie. online ads, social media, print advertisements, video marketing and so on).

Taking a creative approach to your marketing is essential in delivering a message to your audience that is relevant, and effective in delivering you more bookings. The most powerful and effective ideas are often based on a human truth or emotion. These human insights allow us to develop and execute an idea that captures audience interest, influences their emotional response and inspires them to take action. Once you have a compelling insight the next step is execution and how you’ll bring it to life for your audience.  

Can a ‘big idea’ help a small-to-medium accommodation business? Absolutely. Hans Brinker Hostel in Amsterdam have mastered the art and based their entire brand and marketing strategy around the the insight their audience (backpackers) are after dirt cheap accommodation. Instead of trying to be something they are not, they have embraced the attitude of their guests and based their entire marketing and customer experience on it.

By dramatising some of the pain points of staying in a hostel with brutal honesty, they successfully cut through from their competition and begin to build a story and connection with their audience, before they have even made a booking.

A ‘big idea’ will also help you remain consistent across your entire experience. From your paid ads, social, and video right through to your tone-of-voice in PR and events.

To develop a successful ‘big idea’ you need to work with the professionals. By making a creative investment with a creative agency or consultant may seem expensive initially, but the right idea will cut-through with your audience, give you efficiency and deliver effective results for your business.

A good idea that approaches a problem differently doesn’t have to cost lots of money to produce either. I recently spoke to film director, Pete Moore and he told me about a brilliant hotel campaign for luxury hotel chain. Art Series hotels needed a way to increase occupancy in off peak periods.

The campaign, created by Naked Communications, was called the ‘overstay checkout’. It was based on the insight that most hotels make you checkout even if no-one needs the room. By changing this mentality, they gave guests the opportunity to keep their room until it was needed by a new guest, even up to a week later. The results spoke for themselves with a 155% increase in bookings and an incredible 359%  return on investment (ROI) from a AUD$80,000 budget. The hotels also received an extra AUD$37,000 revenue from room service and over AUD$1.5 million worth of global PR due to the newsworthy nature of the idea.

Art Series Hotels  are consistently effective and creative with their marketing.

Art Series Hotels are consistently effective and creative with their marketing.


If you would like to know more about how a ‘big (or even not so big) idea can help your accommodation business stand out online and offline, chat to our No Vacancy Agency team.