You may be the best property in town, but unless you’re able to pitch this to your customers in a manner that will break through the clutter and attract their attention, you cannot grow. This in a nutshell is why you need branding.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is branding? Why you need it?
A brand is the image and identification of a company or entity that tells the consumer all about the company. A strong brand is vital for encouraging direct bookings, along with dozens of other benefits. It is a trigger that will help people choose you over the unknown. Think of the Marriott ‘M’ versus another property. If rates and other comparatives are same, which one are you more likely to go with?
Branding allows you to drive more direct bookings, compete more strongly against competitors on OTAs, and take control of your message and your online presence.
How to build a successful hotel brand?
The key to branding is to have a very distinct and unique selling proposition that will appeal to a targeted audience. Let’s break this into easy tips for brand building.
What’s your story?
What sets you apart from the others? Is it your design, a historic tale or your service style? Put on a guest’s hat and see what your point of difference is. Build your brand around this unique story. Connect with your users on an emotional level in order to create an environment that is interesting and engaging.
Brand to a specific market segment.
Instead of being nothing to everybody, be something to fewer people. Build your brand with this audience in mind. For instance if you’re targeting millennials, emphasise on your cutting-edge design and digital facilities. A family property would rather focus on play areas and childcare facilities.
Build a strong visual identity.
Your brand identity should carry from your logo right down to your stationery, online ads and other branded material. Your visuals should reflect your hotel and its unique story. But remember, at the end of the day these are just visuals – your real brand is you story, not the logo.
Connect on an emotional level.
Your property is more than four walls and a bed. If you connect with a consumer’s need for romance, adventure or another emotion, you can build a longer lasting brand, even demand a premium for it.
Get smart about marketing your brand.
Not everyone has deep pockets like the Hilton or Marriott. Be selective about how you market your brand – to whom and where. A targeted approach is not just efficient, it is more effective. You may reach fewer people and at a higher cost, but the conversion will be higher.
At the same time, make it easy for your guests to market you. In the age of social media explosion, if you have a good story to tell, your guests will spread the word for you.
Brand building is not for a select few with deep pockets. If you create your unique story and sell it to a smaller, targeted travel market, the result will be sustainable profitability.