George Michael ahead of his time. Hotel Storytelling.

The late George Michael influenced many trends and was socially conscious. As a trail blazer for homosexuals, he encouraged young men and woman to be true to themselves. George’s iconic t-shirt, CHOOSE LIFE, was anti-drug and anti-suicide, he even protested the Iraq War with a recording of Don McLean’s song “the Grave”. His creativity, good messaging and social awareness will be greatly missed.

As an Innkeeper, fan, and Gen x-er, I see another great contribution George Michael made that is often overlooked. His music videos had an incomparable power to tell stories.  After 1990, George Michael did not want to be in the spotlight and very rarely appeared in his own media. The music videos had to tell the story of George’s soul-searching music without using his iconic look and vivacious presence. One video that tells a great 3 minute 52 second story is the 2004 dance song, “Flawless” from George Michael’s album Patience.The video foreshadowed a trend. The marketing trend of storytelling for hotels. The video brings a hotel room to life and depicts a history of guests that stayed in the same room. If you are an Innkeeper, or someone who travels a lot, you will appreciate how well George tells the story of one hotel room in the city. It is a little raw in the beginning, but hang in there.

Watch it here:

The concept of storytelling for hotels is a fairly new marketing tool that is evolving. Visual content is vital to selling rooms. It’s not enough anymore to simply sell a “place”- lodgings are evolving to sell travelers an experience or certain lifestyle. Hotels promote the idea that traveling is a transformative experience that will not only be enjoyable, but will evoke a more adventurous side in the traveler. Bringing your property to life with a story adds this desired new dimension. Hilton Hotel & Resorts in 2014 introduced “Our Stage, Your Story”. The Hilton campaign was mimicking that of the earlier Holiday Inn campaign “Journey to Extraordinary”. The most recent hotel storytelling was done just this Christmas with Hyatt Grand and the Grand Carol. Josh Groban walks around the NY City Hyatt Grand singing Christmas carols and knocking on guest room doors. You get the feeling that you are invited to a special Christmas party at the hotel.

The Flawless video was very simple in that it had one room, many guests, endless possibilities for stories. Getting guests interested in your property’s story will be key in 2017. Stories make the traveler feel apart of a bigger experience. Create Hastags like #Journey, #DarlingEscapes, or #SimplyAdventure. Be creative telling your story. George Michael set the bar high. Businesses should strive to craft stories as exuberant as his. He lives on through his work and the work he inspires every day. George Michael will be greatly missed.



Kristen Bifulco

About Kristen Bifulco

Kristen is the owner of SuiteRev. SuiteRev is a consulting agency for Bed and Breakfasts, Airbnb's, Inns and Small Hotels. Kristen is motivated to help small lodgings uncover revenue and become sustainable.