Brand building has always been at the mercy of the generational zeitgeist. What once made a hotel brand a tried and true success may not be of much value in the current hotel industry. Which is why many establishments are looking for ways to either redefine or to establish themselves in an oversaturated hospitality market aimed at experience-driven consumers. Here are some notable points that could help you build your hotel brand:
- Find a Marketing Niche
- Appealing to a generalised customer base often works to a disadvantage in hospitality. Online travel agencies have created an environment that encourages price-scouting which drives hoteliers to lower their rates in hopes of remaining relevant on the platform.
- But while targeting a specific group of customers is a necessity in the successful establishment of a hotel brand, many choose not to invest in the necessary research that would allow them to identify their ideal customer.
- Hotel chains and independents who take their marketing seriously invest in the creation of at least several so-called customer personas , a digital marketing tool that has the characteristics of existing and potential customers which allows them to test drive their marketing strategy.
- The guest personas can be used to craft a more alluring marketing campaign that would successfully reach the intended guests, and most importantly, succeed in pulling them away from the competition.
- Niche hospitality advertising is about building a connection with the guest. The emotional aspect of a guests’ stay will determine much of their will to promote your establishment, either by praising you among friends or simply by plastering their social media with photos from their stay with you. This is often talked about, but sadly rarely effectively executed.
- By marketing your hotel to groups that reflect your hotel brand’s values you can establish your presence in the industry and create an expanding group guest who would be more than willing and happy to repeat their stay.
- Create a Brand Identity
- Following trends is a safe way of building up traction in online distribution channels and social media, that said you should mind how every marketing ploy you choose to pursue reflects on your brand’s overall presence.
- If you’re too quick to jump on every wagon you might cause the opposite reaction to what you were expecting. Many long-standing brands have experienced mishaps after joining social media platforms and many have gotten themselves head over heels in conflicts that would not have even been possible a decade ago, while others have learned to thrive in the presence of adversity.
- Tip: Building a killer hotel brand: 4 examples of hotels owning their identity
- However, hospitality is in a uniquely complicated position, as hotels everywhere strive to be accommodating and welcoming. This uniformity in the general values of the companies has made guests care very little in terms of whether they stay with one establishment or another.
- But your brand identity extends further than this. It’s about the specific care and attitude you give your guests, that makes you more than another generic establishment. Let’s take for instance The Yellow Hostel located in Rome, Italy aimed at twenty-something backpackers with a penchant for partying.
- Just by visiting their website you get the instant impression of what they are about: minimalistic rooms in grey tones, large open common spaces, including a well-stocked bar and enough events and activities to keep a large group of travellers constantly busy.
- Brand identity isn’t just based around the concept of your establishment, it’s also reflected in the attitude of your staff. Your hires should reflect your hotel brand motto in the work that they do, which is why it should be the first thing they learn when training for the position. At the end of the day presentation and execution is what will solidify your hotel as a unique establishment.
- Beware Commoditisation
- The constant pressure of the all-out rate war caused by OTA listings has led many hoteliers down a path that forces them to sacrifice revenue in favour of driving up occupancy. And when that does not seem enough offers and coupons start to litter the establishment's website and social media.
- And while guests do love a bargain, you need to ask yourself, “What does it say about my establishment, if all we have to offer are discounts?”. This commoditization of a guest’s stay creates a placidity in their attitude towards your establishment, which is the very opposite of building experience.
- To avoid this hoteliers are looking for ways to make discount offers more subtle or remove them from their public listings altogether. Instead, they’d implement a valued customer program that would turn the way guests treat your services from a commodity to something that is exclusive and has to be earned.
- Invest in Effective Marketing Tools
- The one mistake hoteliers should avoid making when building their brand is attempting to go penny-pinch on hotel marketing. While internet buzz creates the impression that anyone can gain visibility with minimal effort, the very opposite is true.
- Marketing experts will pinpoint exactly how much and where you need to invest in order to optimise your revenue. Establishing your own webpage, and running your own social media while seemingly straightforward if done wrong could cause more harm than good.
- Tip: 4 Hotel Marketing Tools Every Hotelier Needs in Their Arsenal
- Which is why any effective marketing strategy involves a schedule of regularly updated content, depending on the platform, be it updates on local events for your hotel’s blog, posts on Instagram or quirky tweets. In all likelihood, your guests will view these on their phone or tablet, which is why even your web page needs to be mobile-friendly.
- But every other establishment will be pursuing the same path, so what could you do to set yourself part and gain your guest prospects’ interest you could consider investing in a self service app.
- The app can offer your guests the opportunity to check in, and pay for any additional services they might wish to enjoy. It would also act as their digital wallet for their stay, while allowing you to upsell them on services and room upgrades.
- While it might seem like a small addition to your strategy, a hotel self-service app is still rare enough in the industry so that when a guest is offered the option they would both pursue it for their own convenience and take note of it, possibly for a future stay.
- Prioritise Feedback
- All feedback is useful for establishing your hotel’s brand. Hoteliers who fear negative feedback may be getting ahead of themselves. Attempting to stifle criticism will only encourage more of it. Which is why the focus of many hotel online marketing strategies is building a successful dialogue between the guest and the establishment.
- Regardless of how much effort you put into your service mishaps will occur, guests will have complaints and not all of them will leave content. But none of this is truly avoidable, and it will reflect on your brand once the guest decides to share their concerns.
- Damage control is a high priority in hotel brand maintenance, which is why social media and review sites should be under constant scrutiny for guest feedback. A timely response from a well-trained staff member could not only undo the damage but create a positive impression on potential future guests.
- But while you might save face once, if the problem persists then so will the negativity, which will eventually impact your name and reputation. The reviews themselves should not be dismissed as any emerging pattern that is detected early on could eventually save your brand.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.