It is an age old adage: customers buy from people they like. While we don’t usually buy from people we dislike, there is one more dimension to this old saying. We buy from people we like and trust. Does this also apply when someone is deciding where to go on vacation? Absolutely.
When a guest purchases a vacation package at your property, they are doing much more that trusting you with their money. They are trusting you with their most valuable commodity. One that is irreplaceable, coveted and painstakingly gained… their precious time off. Today’s consumer lives in a highly digital and immediately gratifying consumer environment. They don’t have to buy unless it is on their terms and their timetable.
According to Steve Olenski’s Forbes article, education-based marketing is the sharing of knowledge with the purpose of building trust. It is a strategy that establishes credibility and trust with your customers by using educational messages. In order for them to trust you they need to be assured they are dealing with the right company who has their best interests in mind.
The objective of education marketing is to inform, to provide useful information that will help the customer make the best decision for them. It is all about establishing and developing mutually beneficial relationships. No sales pitches, no press releases that are all about how wonderful you are.
This approach is all about the customer. For this approach to be successful, not only do you need to know your product and value proposition very well, but you need to know your ideal customer like the back of your hand. Have you clearly identified your target market, do you understand their known and even unknown needs and do look to how you can help them? What are their pain points? What do they need to know to comfortably purchase? What will enhance their experience? The more they know, the more they will want to purchase not once, but over and over again.
Benefits of Education-Based Selling
Focus on Solutions
It is not about your product, it about the solution you offer. Siteminder, the industry leading cloud platform for hotels, attributes their success to empowering their clients with knowledge through their education-based philosophy. “The more we can educate and inform, the shorter the sales cycle.” said David Chestler, Executive Vice President of Global Enterprise Sales & Business Development for Siteminder. “If we can inform the decision makers about the complexity of distribution channels, shed some light on how working with integrated interfaces makes everything easier and less mistake prone, we have made their decision to work with us easier.”
Focus on Experiences
It is not about your hotel, it about the experiences they will take home with them. Marriott’s global brand officer Tina Edmundson understands that to young travelers hotels are not just places to lay your head at the end of the day. They’re places to experience. In Daisy Carrington for CNN, she said Marriott has set out to educate their ideal audience on how Marriott is ready to give them the travel experience they desire by calling guests “fun-hunters”, putting a big emphasis on its communal spaces (lounges with pools tables, board games, etc.) to promote mingling and social interaction.
Focus on Your Destination
Educate your guest on the history, the food and the people of your destination. There is no place like your destination. Infuse your local community into your brand experience. Andaz is a Hyatt brand with a strong emphasis on design, that taps into its local art community to give their spaces an authentic feel. If your destination is known for its chocolate, coffee or hot sauce, offer a class to teach your guests the nuances of these gastronomical treasures. Collaborate with local businesses, restaurants, entertainers… to not just offer their services but teach them to your guests. This way they take a piece of your home to their home.