Authentic, local, real – three words that are thrown around a lot in tourism and hospitality as brands try and differentiate themselves to travellers looking for an experience they haven’t seen a thousand times on their social media feeds.
This trends isn’t likely to end soon. Skift Travel Mega Trends 2017 reports, “travellers are more concerned with the narrative of the trip than the brand-based luxury elements that traditionally drove travel purchase decisions.” People are more willing than ever to ditch the well-known brands in favour of a ‘true’ holiday experience that’s based around a genuine experience not a generic manufactured product. This desire to experience something a little different – rather than just play tourist – gives brands (especially smaller ones) a real opportunity if they are able to communicate their story effectively.
So how does a brand communicate authenticity? We came up with five tips for keeping it real.
1. Tell your story (the real one)
While it’s important to have a story or ethos that travellers can connect with, they will likely see through an unauthentic, manufactured one. Be proud of where your business came, what it stands for and what you’re trying to achieve. Letting people see behind the logo by sharing your story is the first step to offering the type of authentic experiences travellers are craving.
2. Have a personality
As humans we all have different personality traits. Some of us are loud, witty, sarcastic – it’s part of what makes us, us. It’s also what makes us memorable. One of the keys to being authentic is embodying the human traits that will appeal to your ideal customer. The more you can humanise your brand, the more authentic and trustworthy it will be perceived.
3. A point of difference
It may sound simple but a lot of brands neglect to offer travellers a reason for choosing them over a competitor. Finding a point of difference will not only make you stand out in a crowded marketplace, it will help in creating an authentic hospitality experience that travellers are proud to share with their friends.
4. Use tech to build relationships, not replace them
A lot of brands use technology to streamline their business but at the expense of creating meaningful, authentic relationships. It doesn’t have to be this way. AirBnB is the perfect example, they use tech to help people connect with each other to provide authentic travel experiences. How can you use current technologies to engage with potential customers in a meaningful, human way?
5. Live and breathe it
Authenticity will fail if it is just part of a strategy document no one looks at. All the previous tips need to be implemented through all aspects of your business – from the services you offer to how staff answer the phone. It takes time and a consistent approach to build trust – just like in real life – but once you have that trust and deliver that authentic experience, results will follow.
Need some help letting the spirit of your hospitality brand shine through? Get in touch and we’ll help uncover your brand story.