Table of contents
Hotel branding goes beyond your name and your logo. It’s about communicating a set of values to your users, bringing the intangible elements of your business to the center stage.
Studies have shown that now more than ever, Millennials and Gen Z are influenced by the “why.” That is to say that brand purpose is at the forefront of their buying decisions. Branding helps to create a lasting impression on your target audience allowing them to know what to expect from your brand and how to distinguish your hotel from the competitors.
In addition to choosing the right hotel property management software, investing in hotel branding is without a doubt one of the most important decisions you can make as a hotelier. So let’s find out why it’s so important and how to build an effective hotel branding strategy.
What is hotel branding in the hospitality industry?
Hotel branding in the hospitality industry 2.0 is more than just choosing a name, logo and a key value proposition. Nowadays, with the advent of social media, a proper strategy needs to encompass storytelling in order to not only define your values, but also communicate them. In this way you can build a reputation based on your value proposition.
In order to create this comprehensive message it’s important to know who your customers are, study your competitors through benchmarking and competitor research, and create a strong core philosophy that defines who you are as a hotel.
Is your key value proposition that you are eco-friendly? Choose colors and a look and feel that highlights these values, such as natural earthy colors and leaves, for example, in your logo. Then choose a brand name accordingly and make sure your logo ties it all together.
Or do you want to brand yourself as luxury? In this case, you want to choose clean fonts, talk a lot about the services you provide, and create visuals that communicate this luxury concept. It’s not enough just to say “we offer luxury” – you need to show it.
An effective branding strategy is about creating a reputation and an emotional connection through your tone of voice, the font you choose, the photographic style of the images and the stories you tell. This must be transferable among a wide target audience across different segments, business travelers, casual tourists, alternative travelers and cultural tourist likes. It’s all a series of choices that will help define who you are as a hotel.
Why is hotel branding important?
Creating a strong narrative for your hotel and a guiding philosophy that differentiates you from the others is paramount to connect with your guests and make them choose you over the competition.
An effective brand strategy allows clients to remember you and distinguish you from the rest of the hotels. The emotional connection that is created through storytelling is what leaves a lasting impression on your guests. Ultimately people buy experiences, and furthermore, research shows that many decisions are driven by emotions rather than logic.
Hotel branding also helps to establish trust. By being consistent in your messaging you can stand out from the others and create a bond with your potential clients, encouraging them to be repeat customers. Plus, creating relationships with your guests via social media pre-stay, during the stay and post-stay, is key to encouraging word of mouth. The better the imagery, the videos and the branding, the more likely people are to share their experience on social media and your brand can grow exponentially with little investment.
How to build an effective hotel branding strategy
Building an effective brand strategy doesn’t happen overnight, and requires careful thought and attention. Here are some tips to improve your branding strategy.
Define your hotel’s philosophy
What do you want people to remember you for? Defining a philosophy should be the guiding principle behind your branding strategy. An important part of your philosophy is to make your values tangible, telling stories and helping to position you in the market while showing the guest journey. Your philosophy is the “why”, the story that will make your potential guests connect with your brand and think “I want to go to that hotel because x, y, and z.”
Look and feel
Once you have your hotel’s value proposition in mind, it’s time to choose the look and feel of your brand. This includes the logo and the name. Part of the logo is defining a symbol and a color scheme that represents you, so that this symbol can stand on its own even without the logo, whether it be on social media, corporate documents, business cards or brochures.
Location is everything
The location of your property will play an important role in the decisions behind look and feel as well. It’s not the same to choose the look and feel of your brand for a rural location as opposed to a property by the beach. If you’re by the beach, for example, you may want to choose colors associated with relaxation like white, soft neudes and beiges with touches of dark Mediterranean blue to recall the sea. You may also choose to have a wave as your hotel’s symbol to evoke the ocean.
Don’t underestimate the power of the name
The name of your property is without a doubt one of the most important decisions in the whole process. You may choose to have the name of your hotel associated with the location such as “Miami Suites” or you may choose to have your name associated with the experience you sell such as “Rural Abode.”
Nonetheless the choice behind the name will help be important in helping clients remember you, so you want to choose a name that’s easy to pronounce across all languages and is short and succinct. You may also choose a name that is keyword-rich that will make your hotel more readily found on google, i.e Mediterranean escapes or Amazon luxury suites. Don’t underestimate the power of the name, and if need be, pay a naming expert to help you; you won’t regret it.
Creating an effective brand strategy starts with market research and business intelligence. You must think where you want to position yourself in the market, and create a value proposition based on this positioning. This value proposition will then be turned into your narrative that needs to be consistent across the whole customer journey, from the pre-trip, during the trip, to the post trip. A comprehensive branding strategy will take into account all phases of the buyer’s journey in order to connect and convert first-time customers into lifelong clients.
Beyond creating your brand philosophy, your brand identity will also play an important role in how customers remember you. You must remember to use symbols, a logo, and a name that will stick out in people’s heads or when they are passively swiping through instagram. These symbols will unconsciously train the brain to think of your brand when they think of a certain value. Furthermore, the logo, name, and symbols will help create this image for which people will associate your hotel.
During the whole branding process it will be important to do some benchmarking to see what other hotels similar to your hotel is doing. You’ll want to look at hotels near you and other hotels in similar locations across the globe. You want to be different but at the same time evocative of place, creating connection with the territory where you are located.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when identifying a successful branding strategy for your hotel, and it’s without a doubt the most important element of creating a successful hotel. Through an effective hotel branding strategy you’ll attract guests and thereby grow your revenue and increase guest retention.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
Hospitality hot takes straight to your inbox
Sign up to our monthly newsletter for industry insights, product news, partner updates and more.
How to Message Your Hotel Guests