We all fall guilty of over-intellectualising business. But strip a hospitality brand to its core, and it’s about communicating with people.
People, by nature, seek ways of feeling ‘safe’. We all have a defence mechanism wired into our brain that helps us identify (and avoid) anything that could be harmful to us. In other words, we are biologically designed to look for trust. And so, trust should be at the forefront of all our corporate strategies.
It may seem like a menial task in your never-ending list of priorities. But the reason why some of the biggest hospitality companies in the world have a loyal fanbase is because their customers trust them to deliver.
Consider how many times a guest has booked into a Marriott while staying in a foreign country (without even reading any online reviews), simply because it’s a brand they’re familiar with and therefore trust. Despite what the clever marketing Gods tell you, building trust has been integral to Marriott’s growth – and this is why they’re now the world’s biggest hotel chain. Things like that don’t happen by coincidence in an industry that’s as temperamental as hospitality.
Even outside the hospitality industry, think back to the immediate demand a new iPhone model creates. ‘Apple fans’ queue up by the thousands, ready to part with an immense amount of money for a bit of technology that they’ve built a lasting relationship with.
The reason? Apple has built trust with their dedicated clientele.
Using The Brand Name To Build Trust
The business of short term rentals involves an ‘intimate’ relationship between a host and their guest(s). This isn’t like a customer walking into the corner shop and picking up a pack of batteries – this is a human being staying at a property (that is unknown to them), keeping their belongings there, and spending at least one night under that roof.
When you’re selling experiences like this to people, they won’t even bat an eyelid towards you, if they don’t trust you (and your brand). No matter how lavish your properties may seem in photographs – or how flashy your website is – if the guest isn’t releasing oxytocin (the ‘trust drug’) while communicating with you, they simply won’t choose to spend their money with you.
The good news is, that there is plenty you can do as a business owner, to refine your trust marketing strategy. At this point, I must add that this phrase has been inspired by my good friend Chris Maughan.
My inbox is rife with questions and enquiries. Many of these are from aspiring property business owners who’d like me to either mentor or ‘guide’ them, towards their idealized version of success.
The reason I’m approached for mentoring enquiries, podcast appearances and public speaking opportunities, is because people have seen the content I deliver, and trust that I’ll have value to add to either themselves or their audience(s).
This is precisely the reason why our Room 22 official sponsor is Chris Maughans I-PRAC.
The trouble is, too many people keep all the good stuff behind a paid wall – this is especially the case with other coaches and mentors. My guess is that most of these people are wary of ‘giving too much away’ – for the fear of running out of content ideas or having nothing left to teach. Some people even keep certain content to themselves, as they’re afraid that competition might steal it from them; which is a rather defeatist attitude that reeks of a lack of self-belief.
In order to build that all-important trust between you and your audience, you’ll need to position yourself as an industry thought leader. Thought leadership is only ever achieved by consistent and high-quality delivery of valuable content; that offers advice, insights, predictions and answers some of the key questions your target consumers have.
If you’re simply regurgitating content from the first page of Google’s search ranking, then you’re not doing it correctly. This is what people do when they simply want to tick an out-of-date SEO box. Instead, you’ll need to lead with the idea of providing value.
Provide value and I promise that’ll put you ten steps ahead of the competition.
For example, this is a great way for me to interact with my audience and share value at the same time. I include a mix of personal and business insights, and I’d advise the same to any other hospitality business owner. Don’t be put off by little engagement in the early stages of your trust marketing strategy – you need to give people time to warm to you.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a detail-oriented person.
However, I understand the importance of quality and perfecting the ‘little things, so I work with other experts who help me achieve this across all of Luke Capital’s brands. So, if your excuse is that you haven’t got great attention to detail, then let me be the first to tell you: that’s a lousy excuse.
While it’s become trendy for people to say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, – it’s actually the small stuff that builds up to extraordinary creations.
A successful business is made up of a series of small, well-functioning things. In my world, this is a tidy order of systems and processes, properties that are maintained to the most impeccable standard (every inch and every room), customer service that always goes the extra mile, and branding and marketing that leads the industry trends… rather than follows them.
People notice the attention to detail, and this paints a positive picture of you and your brand. Making them more likely to trust you.
Invest in Trust Tools
Unfortunately, we operate in an industry where theft and fraud are majorly abundant. This might seem like a cynical viewpoint to have, but if you consider that £7m was lost to holiday booking fraud in 2018* online (with the numbers still rising) – then you’ll realise the need of investing in trust tools that help reaffirm trust. (Statistics from I-PRAC).
My Short Term Lets brand, Luke Stays, has invested in I-PRAC accreditation (the industry’s leading global verification and membership platform) as a means to guarantee 100% trust and protection for hosts and respective travellers. However, acquiring the accreditation and highly-valued ‘I-PRAC Approved’ logo on our website is only part of our overall trust marketing strategy.
We continue to talk about the significance of I-PRAC accreditation across our platforms and educate our audience(s) about the problem we help solve with evidence and conviction. When you make the decision to invest in trust tools for your hospitality business, make sure you’re leveraging its benefits to help position your brand as a trustworthy one. Ultimately, this is what’ll convince people to engage (and spend money with) your business.
In a landscape that’s reliant on people as well as the choices they make, investing time and money in building trust with your audience is key.
The final point I’ll make is that in order for a wider community to trust you, you need to associate yourself with other trusted individuals and companies, too. This is called reputational growth, and it’ll massively help you scale your business.
If you want to start your business in short-term rentals and serviced accommodation, then you should start with our property business learning programs and start building your property business with our industry-professional coaches and ambassadors.
Or simply, you can check our free courses, and they will guide you to start your property business.