Hotel Brand Positioning: 3 Essential Elements.

Branding is pretty much just creating a shiny new logo, right? Of course not! There is so much more to branding your hotel than just a logo. To truly drive the success for your independent hotel, hotel positioning is a crucial aspect of your strategy, and in this post we are going to discuss the three elements of a well-specified hotel brand. There is only one common identity that differentiates successful hoteliers from mediocre ones. Let us take a closer look at this.

Customer Persona

A customer persona is a person with physical and behavioural attributes that mirrors what you have in mind when you think of your ideal audience your hotel is intending to attract. From their lifestyle habits to where they hang out (both physically and virtually), building a customer persona ensures that your hotel is channeling all marketing and strategy efforts into attracting this ideal customer profile.

For example, if your hotel is targeted towards families with young children, your marketing messages would be different from a hotel targeting newlyweds and honeymooners.

In building your Customer Persona, a quick guide is to identify 3 main parts of your ideal audience: demographics, interests and stresses. The demographics of your Customer Persona involves defining their age, location, occupation, income level, educational attainments and other statistical attributes that paint a clearer picture of your ideal audience. These are basic, tangible and locatable factors, very much like answering a questionnaire of the simple attributes of a person when filling up a registration form.

Next, you want to define the interests of your Persona. This involves digging a little deeper into the psyche of your audience. What are their life beliefs? What are their hobbies, guilty pleasures and where do they like to hang out? Do they like to read? What experts or blogs do they follow? What products do they splurge on? These are important questions that allow your hotel to target the unconscious mind of your audience. A good way to get sufficient information out of this segment of defining your Persona is to conduct actual interviews or surveys on the people who are currently booking stays in your hotel. Another way is to include a digital questionnaire on your website to obtain information on your Persona’s interests.

Lastly, we want to know what stresses our Persona out on a regular basis. Knowing the pain points of your potential visitor is crucial to the success of your hotel’s branding and marketing strategy. People move away from pain and towards satisfaction, so you want to make sure that your hotel provides the solution to alleviate their pain.

Brand Differentiation

Your hotel’s brand differentiation essentially means having a clear answer when asked what it is you do differently from your competitors. It is the reason why your Customer Persona will choose you over your competition.

We have found that a great way to work this out is to define which brands pose the biggest threat to your hotel’s success. Come up with a list of which brands are your direct competitors. Then, identity the gaps that your competitors are not serving.

Perhaps you are a sustainability-oriented hotel. Maybe you pride yourself in offering vegan-friendly products and services. Tap into what makes your hotel unique in a way that other hotel competitors do not. After this is done, define how your hotel will do things differently that benefits your Customer Persona.

Positioning Statement

Now that we have our Customer Persona and Brand Differentiation defined, we distil all these into our Positioning Statement. A Positioning Statement is a concise description of your hotel’s target audience, and how it fulfils a particular need of that audience. The aim of this statement is to align your marketing efforts with your hotel’s brand and values.

A Positioning Statement is a concise description of your hotel’s target audience, and how it fulfils a particular need of that audience.

How do you want your Customer Persona to perceive your brand? Is your Persona able to relate to this statement and feel compelled to book your hotel, knowing how exactly they can benefit? This Positioning Statement comes in exceptionally handy when you are creating your website copy or physical marketing products that require a statement illustrating what your hotel does, and how it does things differently. By having a Positioning Statement, it frames your internal branding and positioning within the context of your customer’s experience.

Here is a sample brand positioning statement that we love:

JW Marriott: JW Marriott is a haven designed to let guests focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalized in spirit. Each hotel creates nurturing environments and experiences for guests through impeccable service and a commitment to restoring a deep sense that “all is well.”

To conclude, clearly positioned, differentiated and specialised hotels are able to stand out from the competition and achieve their defined terms of success. They create a sense of desirability and achieve higher bookings. The stronger you implement your positioning, the higher the willingness your guests will be in paying a premium to stay in your hotel, as your hotel becomes less of a product and more of a holistic experience. If you need help with bringing your brand to the next level, please contact us about what we can do to help.

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