What your business can learn from a holiday resort

My husband and I recently stayed at a beautiful resort at Palm Cove (about 30min drive north of Cairns in North Queensland). Even though I was on holiday I could not help but see the resort as a great marketing case study of a business that under-sells itself but understands that little gestures can mean a lot to a customer.

Sea Temple Resort and Spa

Sell yourself

When looking at places to stay, we thoroughly researched our options online. We put a lot of trust in reviews found on websites such as Trip Advisor that provide forums for people to provide their feedback and first-hand experiences of tourist destinations.

We did look at each resort’s own website, but knew that pictures can be deceiving and information is sometimes outdated.

After lots of research, we settled on The Sea Temple at Palm Cove. Its website was not very slick, inspiring or stunning. Yet when we arrived there we found the resort to be far more incredible, luxurious and idyllic than its own website portrayed.


Lesson 1: Your website must sell your business well. If it weren’t for the reviews and images that we found on other websites and forums, our impression of the resort would have been lack-lustre or limited due to its website (particularly in comparison to websites of the neighbouring resorts).


Your website (and all other marketing collateral) should talk about the feelings that people will experience after receiving what you are offering. Help people visualise what life will be like when they purchase what you are selling..



Lesson 2: The resort had largely received great feedback and came highly recommended by other resorts and travel agents. This is kudos to their great service and set-up.


However, none of these great recommendations were on their website. Had we not looked at other websites and spoken to other people, we would not have known about the resort’s reputation. A simple link to these online reviews and also snippets of feedback that they received in-person would instantly lift their image and increase their chances of receiving bookings when people visit their site.



Sea Temple Resort

It’s the little things

When we arrived there were a few things that impressed us and made us feel very welcome and relaxed within the first five minutes of arriving. None of them cost the resort much money, but went a long way in setting the right tone for our stay.

Firstly, we were welcomed with cool face-washers by the hotel manager, Alex. He was extremely warm, friendly and professional. In fact, Alex remembered our names during our entire stay and did all he could to make us relaxed.

Secondly, we needed to catch a taxi from the hotel to pick up our rental car for the week, however Alex organised it all for us and we did not need to do anything. Alex has set up an arrangement with the car rental company where the car is delivered to the resort and all paperwork is taken care of at check-in by the hotel reception desk. This was a great start to the holiday.

Finally, the resort had free wireless internet in the lobby. This was not advertised or promoted at all. In fact we only found out from an online review written by someone who had stayed at the resort. As my husband and I needed to use the internet during our stay this was very helpful. In fact, for many people, free internet is a ‘deal-breaker’ when selecting hotels to stay in.


Lesson 3: It does not have to take much money to make a big difference to your customers. One of the greatest things you could ever do to market your business is to include a creative, personalised touch, or consistently go above and beyond to make your customers feel good when they do business with you.


Not only does this increase your customer’s satisfaction, it makes you more memorable, sets you apart from competitors and gives your business good reasons to be talked about to others. It also makes it easier to recover from any disappointments that your customers might experience. In fact, when there were a couple of disappointments in the service at our resort, it was easy for us to overlook them when the problems were outweighed by unexpected, thoughtful service.


Happy-snap taken during our stay
  • Have you had any similar experiences with a business underselling itself?
  • What about extraordinary customer service?
  • What difference did this make to your purchase?

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