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Have you ever landed on a hospitality property website and felt confused?

This terrible user experience is the result of a poor branding strategy.

There are things you can do so this doesn’t happen to your website and I’ll explain.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

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Why is branding strategy for your hospitality property important?

One of the easiest ways to build a relationship between your hospitality property and customer is with a convincing brand. But what does it take to create a brand that creates trust?

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A hospitality property should be more than a place to sleep. A hospitality property is an integral factor of the travel experience, one that can make or break the entire trip. This is why your hospitality property must start sharing its unique experiences from the very beginning – way before the customer chooses your hospitality property and checks in.

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You can do this by making branding a priority in your hospitality properties’ marketing strategy. The key to branding is to have a very clear and distinctive selling proposition that will appeal to your target audience.

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If potential guests only see that you’re offering the same experiences as your competition, the only thing left to set you apart is price, which can be a risky precedent, as there’s always someone out there willing to undercut you.

So, what are the benefits of appropriate branding?

A good brand fosters personal communication with customers by building rapport, improving social engagement and giving a personal story, which can increase first-time bookings and loyalty.

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Increased profits

A targeted audience is usually willing to pay more for services that specifically fit their needs, wants and desires.

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Reduced costs

When you know your market, you can make intelligent decisions of where to target the funds that can save you money.

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Happier customers

By managing your guest’s expectations, you will have more satisfied customers.

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Less complaints

If your hotel has a specific brand identity, guests will be less likely to expect an experience other than what you provide.

If you embrace the concept of marketing to a targeted portion of the travel market, it will lead to operating a profitable hospitality property with less of the stresses of the generic business model.

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What is it about your brand that stands out? 

You need to discover this and then write it into a narrative that will make your hospitality properties brand one guest will remember time and time again.

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Make sure it’s something that’s distinctive to your property and then apply it all across all your brand. Everything needs to speak your brand until customers start discussing it themselves without having to be encouraged.

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Your branding is the voice of your property, so make sure your branding story tells the tale of what’s most precious to your hospitality property. A good branding story can most certainly do this, and once you’re able to put a successful one together, you’ll attract people back to your hospitality property time and time again.

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What steps should you take when developing your brand story?

Well, the first thing you should do is answer the following questions.

  • What makes your hospitality property unique?

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  • What differentiates your property from your competition?

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  • Does your building or area have a historic or architectural significance?

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  • Do you offer any extraordinary or outstanding service?

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  • Is there something intriguing about your design or features?

 

Determine what, from a guest’s perspective, will make you stand out from the competition and build an identity around that.

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Once you determine what makes you stand out, you want to communicate the benefits you offer with your branding, comparing them to other similar properties in the same area and star rating.

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You also want to consider where you want to be as a brand in the future, not just where your property is now. This allows you another gauge to evaluate all of your future marketing decisions.

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Are these make sense so far?

Let me know in the comments.

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6 Steps to consider when planning how to brand your hospitality property

Step 1 – Brand to a Specific Market

Hospitality Properties that brand to a specific market normally have higher profits and happier guests.

  • Are you trying to attract corporate clients or leisure travellers?
  • Is your perfect customer a backpacker or a luxury traveller?

It’s important to know who your target market is before you establish your brand imaging. This is to make sure that it properly reflects the best you have to offer and helps you meet your end goal.

You also need to consider where your target market comes from and ensure that the specific geographical locale should be reflected in your branding.

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Step 2 – Connect on an Emotional Level

Successful Hospitality Properties deliver a distinct experience, rather than just four walls and a bed. You want to be able to connect with your guests’ emotional wants – the romance, the adventure, the visual stimulation of being in a new environment that is interesting and engaging. If you can do this, you are able to increase the revenue rate by standing out from your competition.

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Step 3 – Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond

Determine what niche is not being serviced in your market and target that audience by marketing specifically to them. You will probably find that your marketing costs will decrease because you’re not trying to hit the entire general population, and your target audience will be more likely to book with you and pay a higher rate to do so.

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Step 4 – Make it Easy for Your Guests to Market You  

Today, this is a no-brainer. Social Media rules. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and all the other video and photo sharing platforms out there, your guests are snapping and posting photos videos left and right to show how exciting their lives and vacations are.

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Step 5 – What Does Your Brand Look Like?

Now, you should choose which visual elements to include in their branding, again, based on your goals. Typical visual elements of a brand include the company’s name, logo, tagline, website design, collateral, etc.

Your logo should be simple and easy to recognize, no matter where guests see it. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind.”

Your tagline should create an emotional connection between potential guests and your property, illustrating the most unique elements of your property.

Overall, your brand’s visual elements should communicate with potential customers why they should choose to book your hotel over your competition.

Your brand image will develop over time through marketing/advertising campaigns with a consistent theme, and will be authenticated through the customer’s direct experience.”

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Step 6 – Getting the Message Out

Once you’ve decided on the key elements to your brand and developed each piece to appeal to your ideal guests, it is time to start implementing your marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns. Because you’ve identified your target audience, you can easily determine which model will be most effective for promoting your property. Once you’ve decided on the best mode of marketing, remember to stay consistent with the elements of your brand and your messaging, across all channels.

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Branding Strategy Cheat Sheet – Hotels-Resorts-Bed and Breakfasts | Ep. #274

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If you are a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, as a bonus, I am going to talk about snags to avoid when it comes to branding.

 

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In conclusion

Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on guests but it allows your customers to know what to expect from your property. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.

We cover more on marketing in “The Guide to Owning & Operating a Hospitality Property – Successfully” book & course. You find more information at KeystoneHPD.com.

 

Do you have a branding strategy for your property?

Let me know in the comments.

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Branding Strategy Cheat Sheet – Hotels-Resorts-Bed and Breakfasts | Ep. #274.

 

We cover more on marketing in “The Guide to Owning & Operating a Hospitality Property – Successfully” book & course. You find more information at KeystoneHPD.com

 

 

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Do you currently or are planning to cross or upsell at your property?

Let me know in the comments.

 

You will have access to this episode for the next six weeks and then it’s locked in the vault for Hospitality Property School Group members only.

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To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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Branding Strategy Cheat Sheet – Hotels-Resorts-Bed and Breakfasts | Ep. #274

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In the next episode, I will talk about Making Your Property Memorable.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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Are you getting your weekly INNsider Tips? You can find the link in the show notes.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT:

https://keystonehpd.com/branding-strategy-cheat-sheet-hotels-resorts-bed-and-breakfasts-ep-274

 

Post COVID-19 Action Plan → KeystoneHPD.com/PostCovid19ActionPlan.

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Post COVID-19 Action Plan

KeystoneHPD.com/PostCovid19ActionPlan 

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