What Is Hotel Branding?

New hotel and resort brands emerge every week, taking the form of vacation home rentals, boutique hotels, luxury hotel chains and holiday resorts, to name a few. All sorts of branding concepts appear as new businesses spring up and occupy the market. What holds true 10 years ago does not hold true now, with consumers behaving differently than they did years ago. As client demands consistently change, hotel brands are struggling to maintain their competitive advantage. Choices are placed in the hands of the consumer, which brings us to question: How do I differentiate my hotel brand from my competitor's?

Whether you are deciding to open a new hotel or considering some rebranding efforts for your existing business, hotel branding is in integral part of your strategy.

Why is a brand for your hotel important?

Establishes trust with your audience One of the most important reasons for investing in your hotel branding is that it establishes trust with your audience. Guest experience extends beyond your premises, and is integral to your ongoing communications. A killer social media presence will help you cover your bases, but it is worthy to note that every touchpoint with your audience is an opportunity to encourage them to continue engaging with your business. With consistent branding, it fosters communication that is consistent, familiar and recognisable between your brand and your customer, building a bond that fosters brand loyalty. After all, it is a lot easier to attract existing customers than build relationships from scratch with new ones.

Helps to outdo the competition Branding drives value and reputation to your business. A strong brand builds social proof that your business needs to attract customers and clients, forming one of the strongest reasons for customers to choose your service over another's. Being able to create a successful brand presence that stands the test of time is often thought to be something only attainable by prestigious hospitality chains with lengthy histories of movie-star guests. However, the reality is that, in today’s digitized world, every business, no matter how small, should build their unique brand presence and leverage on branding to set them apart from others in their field.

Drives more direct bookings Some of the most common mediums that hotels and hospitality brands use to drive sales are OTAs and booking engines. Granted, these help to increase brand awareness and do have access to a wider (read: more general) market. However, every hotelier is going to prefer direct bookings due to the lower customer acquisition costs, which have seen a steady rise over years. Turning away from intermediaries allows you to leverage on authentic branding and marketing that speaks direct to your target audience. Hotel branding allows you to build greater brand loyalty, providing direct access to your guests and fuelling more direct bookings, improving your profitability.

How to create a hotel brand: 5 essential elements

1. Brand story We as humans love a good story, because they elicit emotional responses that people become attached to. Truly successful hotel brands focus on the story that they tell. Narratives create desire and the want to be part of a dream. As put by General Manager Thierry Douet of the Novotel Beijing Peace Hotel:

"We are not a luxury hotel, nor are we an economy hotel. So we focus our story on family and business. Twenty years ago, when we first arrived in China, the concept of traveling with children was not very common. Also, mid-scale hotels for pleasure or business did not really exist here. Our story was very foreign to the Chinese, but we took advantage of our French origins and built upon this. We were able to differentiate ourselves by offering a family place of leisure, where you can also conduct business meetings and events. We focused on the needs of the family and have continued to tell the story based on family."

By building an emotive brand that connects and resonates with your audience, you can optimize the power of your brand story to foster brand loyalty. This encourages your audience to engage with your brand consistently. Turning prospects into guests and guests into ambassadors is key to succeeding in the hospitality industry, and it is almost impossible to achieve that without great brand storytelling.

2. Logo suite A logo is a combination of text and imagery that tells people the name of your brand and creates a visual symbol that represents your vision. It is a big part of your hotel brand identity (what people will see). A good logo is memorable, differentiates you from everyone else, and fosters brand loyalty. People identify with visuals more so than they do text, so logos do play a crucial part in fostering brand awareness.

Going one step further, creating a logo for your hospitality brand not only has to happen, but also needs to be optimised. This means that one logo is usually insufficient. In order to ensure that your brand is recognisable visually, a set of logos for different purposes needs to exist. Your primary logo will be placed in more important areas, such as on signages, business proposals and business cards. Smaller logos should exist for social media usage, and areas where the primary logo does not fit.

3. Typography Keeping a consistent set of fonts is integral in your hotel branding. Type establishes familiarity and ensures that your brand remains recognisable through the multitude of campaigns you put your hotel brand through.

As seen from the picture above, each of these hotel brands adopts a different typographic style in their logo. The Ritz and Four Seasons utilise serif fonts (those with the little feet) to establish authority and luxury, while Fairmont and L'Horizon adopt script fonts to showcase a slightly more laid-back feel to reflect the idyllic aspects of their brands.

4. Colours Colours are the secret to producing a good identity for a company. They are crucial in your hotel branding because this is where the first impression of customers are based. Colours are more than a visual aid because they convey emotions, feelings and experiences. They also improve your brand's recognition by up to 80%, according to Forbes.

5. Designs Now that you have 4 of the most essential elements of your hotel branding, this 5th point is the gel that glues the previous elements altogether. Hotel brand designs aid in ensuring that your brand looks professional, put together and presentable. Think marketing collaterals, business cards, signages, room key cards and more. Every brand touchpoint requires some form of design, whether intentional or unintentional. Intentional design not only wows your audience, but retains that brand loyalty and gives your audience something to look forward to and recommend to others. It shows that you take your brand seriously, and this energy will be reflected within your customers as well.

Building your hotel brand identity

Taking the time to build your hotel brand identity and truly bring it to life will grow your revenue and set your business up for the long-term success it deserves. It may be the most important decision you made for your business.

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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We provide done-for-you branding and digital marketing for hospitality businesses to increase their brand awareness, stand out from the competition and get more leads.

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