Hotel Marketing Tips: Voice, Style, and Writing for the Web
As a writer, I find the current situation for hotels is a tough one, but one we need to start working on. Have you noticed these discrepancies?
A hotel’s website style:
Each function room at our hotel lends privacy and class to your event or meeting, and the experienced staff is poised to assist with state-of-the-art, audio-visual equipment and computer capabilities.
A hotel’s Facebook style:
We're curious—which photo do you think is the MOST AWKWARD? On Friday, the photo with the most likes becomes our header image until the holidays!
For ages, I’ve supported this distinction in styles. It took years to convince hotels that social media required a different, more casual style. Hotels get it now. But now that we’re there, I think we have to look at all our old hotel marketing material—brochures, turndown letters, and websites—and ask ourselves if the style is outdated (and, frankly, boring).
So let’s talk for a minute about the difference between voice and style and how to start bridging the gap between your traditional materials (including your website) and your online communities. I particularly like this article by Writer’s Digest about voice and style in writing. Style is the larger umbrella.
Our style on the blog is conversational/casual and reflective. We ask rhetorical questions and share (sometimes strong) opinions. Voice is an individual author’s way of fitting into the style. One person might write really long sentences and be prone to lots of description or explanation; whereas, another person might have a to-the-point staccato voice. We could both write this way and still be conversational and reflective, asking rhetorical question and sharing strong opinions.
I read the stodgy fluff that makes up hotel websites these days, and I think it’s time to move on. Try on a real style for all your correspondence and then let everyone work on their own special voice that fits the overall style. This is especially important now that there are so many ways we communicate in writing with guests (seriously, just think about it: brochures, in-room letters, confirmation emails, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, TripAdvisor, websites, and on and on).