She was right!
However, this is not a review of L`Auberge in Sedona. It is a case study…so we will analyze what they did right and what they can do better. You can learn from both.
We will focus primarily on the communications/marketing.
The most important part of your business is your actual product and service. If your product/service stinks there is no marketer that can save you. If your service is as great as L`Auberge in Sedona, people will talk about you…in a good way. However, as a business you should stimulate them to talk about you more and spread the word. Social Media can stimulate that conversation…more on that in a moment. Lets disect this in chronological order.
First Marketing Communication–
After we booked a room we received a Reservation Confirmation email. In fact, that was in the subject line of the email. This is a typical email that many hotels will send after you book a room. The email content was also very typical. This hotel/resort is anything but typical…it was above and beyond our expectations.
What Would Have Been Better–
All businesses can do better and lower return rates and cancellations by getting personal immediately after the purchase. Rather than the Reservation Confirmation email it could have been a Welcome to the Most Beautiful Place In America or anything other than the typical message.
I realize the hotel probably needs to confirm everything but they could personalize the message a lot more and most importantly…
Remind us of the great decision we made by talking up your hotel, restaurant, spa, and the entire city.
Just prior to our arrival we received another email. This time it mentioned the amenities and it really was the email I was talking about a moment ago. It was well written and it was more of a reminder of how great the hotel and area is and it kept our excitement level up just prior to arriving at the hotel. There was a things-to-do list and more.
What Would Have Been Better–
This particular email was well written and well timed. The content of the email was good but the subject line could have been better. This is pretty typical of most businesses. They put so much emphasis into great content in the email, they just write a narration subject line. Just like a sales letter, the headline is critically important. With email it may be more important than in a sales letter because if the subject line is NOT enticing, the content won’t even be opened.
Hire a copywriter or take a course on writing great headlines. The content is irrelevant if does not get read. The headline/subject line should make the reader feel compelled to open the email. This is easy to test. Most email software programs for business give you open rates. Send 100 emails using one headline and 100 using a different headline then compare. Use the better performing headline from now on…consider testing it again.
The day we arrived home from our stay in Sedona we received an email from the hotel thanking us for our business. They also asked us to complete a short survey and why it was important to them. I applaud L`Auberge for sending a follow up email after they have our money but…
What Would Have Been Better–
The email did ask us to vote for them in a contest for Travel and Leisure Magazine but no mention to “Like” them on Facebook or mention them to our friends on Facebook or any other social platform.
Doing it the old fashioned way I can tell my friends as I see them, “We had a great time in Sedona. Next time you come over I will show you some pictures and here is a few on my cell phone.”
The new way, the Social Media way, I can log onto Facebook and share photos with ALL my friends immediately. The average person on Facebook has 140 friends. Sure I may do that anyway but it would be wise to always ask your customers to do so. You can incentivize them to do so.
As an example – L`Auberge could send an email after our stay and say, “Please share your favorite picture with us on our Facebook page”. Or they could say, “Please share your favorite picture of your stay on our Facebook page. Once a month we have a drawing for sharing fans.”
It could be something as simple as a glass of wine or a free upgrade next time your visit our hotel.
When I share my picture on their Facebook page it demonstrates proof to their Facebook visitors that people love it there. It also notifies all 140 of my friends.
Best of All-
When I first called to make the reservation I said something discreetly just once and I did it on purpose to see how the hotel would handle it. In the middle of our conversation I said, “We are coming down for our 10th anniversary so we will just go ahead and get the Spa Cottage.”
The way I said it was not to highlight our anniversary…rather to express that we wanted the Spa Cottage. The average business would be looking for buying triggers and moving right into the sale of the Spa Cottage but not this hotel. The reservationist said, “Happy Anniversary”. Then she carried out our purchase. It gets better…
When we arrived we walked into our cottage and right there on the corner of the desk was a note that said “Happy 10th Anniversary.”
I mentioned our anniversary exactly one time and the person at this hotel that took our reservation was listening. She acknowledged our anniversary and then took it another step.
The tip here is to LISTEN to your customers. What they have to say is more important than what you have to say. This is the case with social media and online reviews also. Track and listen to the conversations online about your business, your competitors, your industry, and your local area. It will serve you well because your customers will know you care and they are being heard…they love the sound of their own voice.
Our stay was great so we are talking about L`Auberge to all our friends anyway using Social Media but not everyone does that. Don’t assume that because you are great that your customers will recommend you. Ask them to.
Doing this case study I also found that this hotel is not listed in the top 7 on the first page of Google for the term Sedona Hotels. That is a shame. I can’t imagine 7 other hotels being better than this one. For the term Sedona Resort they rank #2.
With some tweaking to their local online marketing, reviews, and social media, they can do better.
Hint–> if you are not in the first 7 local listings that means you are on page 2 or worse. 91% of the time the potential customers never get past page 1.
Hint 2–> 89% of all the clicks after a particular search such as Sedona Hotel the potential customer clicks on one of the first 4 listings.
Hint 3–> the #1 listing gets 4 times as many clicks as the #2 listing.
*All statistics have been verified by credible resources and are available by request. Ask below in the comment section or contact us.