Engaging Guests through Authentic Stories

By Gary Heiman

We often read how today’s luxury travelers are increasingly expecting unique and authentic experiences when choosing their destinations, as well as their accommodations.

To establish this authenticity, hotels are presenting guests with compelling, differentiating stories to create a genuine experience and an emotional connection that resonates long after their stay is over.

In a recent interview, luxury hospitality expert Rahim B. Kanani noted that “Today, general managers are adapting their design and service offerings to meet the needs of a new generation of modern luxury travelers who prize authenticity over familiarity.”

These offerings include services and amenities that make a stay meaningful by surprising guests with the unexpected, whether it’s inviting them to participate in local traditions and culture, or imparting the knowledge that the linens they’re sleeping on are from a renowned Italian designer.

Weaving authentic stories into a hotel’s offerings helps narrate the guest experience and creates an emotional connection that engages guests by satisfying their craving for more meaningful encounters.

Take the artistry of fine linens, for example. Great design in a high-end hotel is just as much about how sheeting, towels, robes and table linens look and feel, as it is about the heritage and craftsmanship that went into creating them.

While storied Italian names and true Italian craftsmanship are hallmarks of luxury linens, consumers are smarter and more informed than ever before, and they can tell when a product is labeled “Italian” but is really made and designed elsewhere. They appreciate experiencing authentic luxury Italian brands like Mascioni, which represents true Italian craftsmanship, artisans, and curators.

An increasing number of luxury hotels are tying sustainability into their stories as well. Many luxury guests, especially those in the growing Millennial demographic, take pride in choosing hotels that embrace brands that are leaders in sustainability—especially those who were early adopters of highly sustainable practices long before it became a cost of entry.

Compelling stories about a hotel’s offerings not only enhance the authenticity of a luxury property; they also forge connections with guests that lead to repeat stays. And ultimately, these narratives inspire guests to become brand ambassadors by sharing the details of their memorable amenities and experiences with friends, families and colleagues.  

 

About the author

Gary Heiman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Textile Co., Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of healthcare, hospitality, interiors and industrial textiles. Gary continues a family tradition of business leadership that began in 1940 when Standard Textile was founded by his grandfather, Charles, as a small linen distribution company operating out of the Heiman family’s apartment in Cincinnati. Under Gary’s leadership, the company has grown from a $100 million textile distribution company to an $800 million textile manufacturer and distributor with a global presence.