Jeff Bezos’ Secret To Hotel Marketing Success

by Pete DiMaio

Jeff Bezos’ famous quote on the success of Amazon is “The secret to that is to focus on the things that don’t change in your business.”  The example he specifically used was, “So people today want fast shipping. And they’re going to want faster and faster shipping in 10 years… so that’s going to matter today and tomorrow.
I first heard this quote on one of my favorite podcasts, “Thinks Out Loud” with Tim Peter ( and it got me thinking.  We spend so much time in our lives as hoteliers, and marketers in general, chasing the newest trend or the hottest new product to woo guests.  We are so busy chasing the “change” that we forget to pay attention to the “constant.”So, we are going to dive in to what is not going to change and how you can put your hotel’s marketing efforts to driving your success.  Keep in mind the technology that we employ will always change, but if you instill these 5 core constants in your marketing philosophy, you are sure to achieve long term success.

1: Guests Will Continue To Follow The Path of Least Resistance

Your hotel guests are not necessarily lazy, but just like the rest of the world, they are going to take the easiest path to a decision (aka trip).  The good news is we humans have been this way for millennia and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  • Make your property easy to find: The way guests search and shop is always going to change, but the fact remains what is front-and-center is what is purchased.  This means don’t get too hung up on a specific platform. Be a fisherman, which means knowing where and go where the fish are.
  • Make the shopping process easy: Guests want to see photos, understand the amenities, browse the rooms.  And most importantly, they want to be able to shop on their own terms and devices.
  • Make the booking process easy:Amazon has set the benchmark for easy purchasing. While booking a vacation may be a bit more complex of a decision, as a hotelier you must strive to make it easy for a guest to give you money.

2: Guest Will Always Want To Feel Like They Got A Fair Deal

Offer your guest the best deal going, always. This is a non-negotiable rule in any service business. You may not always have the best price (OTAs can be tricky), but your “deal” should always be the best.
This is not to say your daily rate will be the lowest (though it should). This does mean that the value a guest receives by booking direct is always the best. A guest who books direct should have a higher experience such as a free welcome gift, later check-out, free parking, or reduced resort fees.
Think about your guests and always strive to make them glad they booked with you.

3: Guests Will Continue To Tell Their Friends And Family About Their Vacation

We’re social creatures and we love to share good and exciting news with our friends. While the means we share is always changing, the fact that we share does not. This means as hoteliers we need to make it easy on the guest (see #1) to share the story we want.
Technology makes this easier with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and services like The job of hoteliers is to facilitate what the guest is already trying to do. At the end of the day, your guests are going to share a story, is it the one you wish they would?

4: Guests Are Creatures Of Habit

People will always be creatures of habit and return to what they feel already works. The great news is that means every guest at your property is very likely to return, all you need to do is not screw it up!
We have spoken about the sales cycle in the past and that it actually starts when the guest first checks in to your property. You will want to create a plan that will nudge your guest from the time they walk on the property, through checkout, past the post-stay survey, into email and personal communications, right back into another booking. How you do this is going to vary as technology changes, what you must remember is that it is you, not the technology, that is creating a habit for your guest to return time and time again.

5: As A Hotelier, Your Job Is Always Going To Be To Serve Your Guest

Just like the hotelier that offered Mary and Joseph room in a barn a few thousand years ago, today’s hotel operator’s job is to serve the guest needs. You will need to get creative, caring, attentive, and proactive in making sure your guests feel so welcome that they can’t help by want to stay and return for years to come.
Technology can help (the key word here is “help”) you serve the guest. Room service robots, check in kiosks, hotel digital keys, and all the great bells & whistles available to today’s savvy hotel marketers are just tools. How you use these tools is what matters, because what the guest truly wants never changes:

  • Guests Will Always Want To Feel Welcome
  • Guests Will Always Want To Be Surprised and Delighted
  • Guests Will Always Want To Feel Important
  • Guests Will Always Want To Feel Secure Where They Sleep
  • Guests Will Continue To Be Human And Be Respected

Guests don’t necessarily want to sleep in a barn out back. They do want their host to accommodate their needs and if that’s the very best a hotelier can do, and if that means a little hay to solve the problem so be it. In fact if TripAdvisor existed 2,000 years ago, I’m sure Mary would have left one Heavily review for that little inn.

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