The Importance of Branding in the Hotel and Hospitality Industries

If you were asked to think of a hotel brand, you’d likely think of Marriott, Hilton, Four Seasons or one of the many other global corporate flags. Yet every hotel and resort in existence, from small boutique properties through to large-scale all inclusives and everything in between, has a brand whether they like it or not. 


Some, such as the Plaza in New York or The Ritz in London, have created a brand so illustrious that even if they take on a flag, their own brand supersedes that flag value.

Being able to create such an impressive and successful brand presence is often thought to be something only attainable by those prestigious hotels with lengthy histories of movie-star guests. But the reality is that, in today’s globalized, digitized world, every hotel can build their own unique brand presence and utilize it to set them apart and drive them towards more successful results.

What is hotel and hospitality branding? 
Your brand is far more than your name or logo. It encompasses everything from the personality and the values of your hotel to your customers’ perceptions, notions and experience. It represents who you are, what you believe in and how you want to be perceived by your audience.

Taking the time to invest in hospitality branding design could be the most important thing you do, so let’s start by assessing why it is so important.


Why is hotel & hospitality branding so important? 

With the advancements in online and offline technologies, the entire world is your marketplace. But to take advantage of this, your brand needs to catch attention and stand out from the crowd.

Branding in the hospitality industry can build your credibility, giving your customers a valid reason to consider you above your rivals. Research also tells us that people prefer to associate with organizations with a credible, reputable brand than those that don’t.

Guest experience extends beyond your premises, and is integral to your ongoing communications. A deftly-crafted social media presence will help you cover your bases, but you must remember that the goal of every single initiative you have is to delight your customers and encourage them to keep coming back to you.

Your brand communications need to be consistent, caring and personalized, growing a bond with your guest.

Increasing brand loyalty in the hospitality industry can be the difference between winning guest approval or losing it, so building your brand strategy towards this end goal is of critical importance.

In a world that’s busier than ever, most people just don’t have the time or interest to think about your brand. So the onus is on you to ensure that your brand gains their attention and guides them through your brand story in a clear and concise way.

Every hotel needs to have a credible face and, very often, branding becomes the face that engages your potential audience, delights them at every touch point of their journey and eventually earn their trust. Building brand identity is arguably one of the most effective ways of spreading the good news about your business.

The stronger your brand story, the more likely to convince your audience to stay with you, and then come back and stay again. Turning prospects into guests and guests into ambassadors is key to hotel success, and it is almost impossible to achieve without great branding.

If you give your customers a good enough reason to feel strongly about why they should care about your hotel and what it can do for them, they have a better reason to make the transition from fence sitters to actual guests. This is an important point because, as mountains of research tell us, it is emotions and not logic that drives the purchase decisions of most buyers.

As visceral emotional creatures, humans are fond of ideas, stories, concepts and even products that touch that coveted emotional nerve in them. By building an emotive brand that connects and resonates with your audience, you can optimize the development of your brand loyalty and create guests for life.

Studies have found that humans are designed for stories. They lead to a better understanding, trust, comprehension, receptivity, and more. Unlike facts and statistics, a story engages both the brain and the body, eliciting emotional responses which people are more strongly attracted to.

Create a brand story for your hotel that touches on your history, your mission, your values, your dedication to guests and your passions within your community. There are so many different ways for your brand story to incorporate focuses that are dear to the hearts of your guests, from sustainability initiatives and community outreach projects through to artist support initiatives.

Create a meaningful brand story and travelers are significantly more likely to feel a connection with you, embracing the beginning of what is hopefully a long relationship with your brand.

According to Google Small Business, only 5% of word of mouth conversations happen online while 82% happen face to face. The only way to exert influence over your guests’ face to face conversations is through good branding.

While not always easy to track and measure, how can you expect even your biggest supporter to be able to share the story of your brand if you don’t ensure your story is concise and relatable? Investing into a compelling and clear brand experience will amplify the impact of your happy guests and deliver you a fantastic ROI.


How can you create a great hotel brand?
While every project is unique, there are a number of critical branding issues in the hospitality industry that need to be addressed by each hotel.  Brands play an important role in organizing the market; they make it easier for products to stand out and for consumers to better understand the benefits of each specific good, thereby helping them to make decisions.

The importance of guest retention becomes a critical issue. Brands provide the opportunity to encourage the creation of guest loyalty so make sure that your brand is strong by keeping these in mind.

Know what you stand for and don't deviate from it. Your hotel’s brand ‘image’ needs to be reflected in everything associated with your business. It’s taken for granted that this includes your name and logo, typography and stationary through to menus. But think beyond that. It also includes your music, your voice and tone, your marketing events, and any social media or marketing communications you may put out. Each of these send a message. Is that message saying that you’re a run-of-the-mill operator or that you take pride in excellence?

Customers are savvier than ever - they’ll quickly realize when you’re trying to fool them or when you can’t deliver on promises. They equally respond when you’re being authentic and honest about who you are and what you can deliver. Get comfortable in your own skin. Know what you’re good at, and own it.

Use social media as a vessel to make your brand exciting. Besides your own website, social media is the best way to promote your brand and create excitement within the global traveller market, remembering you always need to stay on message. The key is to encourage satisfied guests to amplify your hotel’s brand as far as possible. Guests who take photos at your property often share their experiences, allowing people to view your hotel through the eyes of their peers, which is a wonderful organic channel for traffic.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Find your niche, define your brand and cater to your guests. You’ve got to work hard to differentiate your brand. Travelers have different needs, and hotel brand marketing can set you apart. It makes it easy for potential guests to see what you stand for and get to know your brand. Go through the process of defining what you are and what you’re not, and be sure that every element of your branding reflects this vision.


We can help you build a winning hotel brand strategy
Much like the rest of the world, the hotel industry is having to adapt to social media, millennial preferences, economic challenges and the ongoing pace of technological innovation across the industry.

Take your brand seriously. Taking the time to build it and bring it to life can grow your revenue, attract top talent, increase guest retention rates and grow your media presence. It might be the most important thing you can do for your business.

If you would like help to bring your brand to the next level, please speak with us about what we can do to help.

This article was originally posted on Proven Partners 

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