How Hotel Branding Sets You Apart

Hone your property’s message to rise above the sea of sameness.


Every business, every product has a brand message. How much time have you spent thinking about your brand message and what it is doing for you? Proper brand messaging can create equity for your brand in terms of loyal, repeat customers and a recognized name and value. How you choose to use that equity can be the difference between staying ahead of your competitors and being pushed to the sidelines. The hospitality industry in particular has to be focused on developing the best branding message for their properties, one that is honest and engaging, as well as exciting and distinctive. It’s a big task, no doubt.

Create a brand playbook

Having an established set of guidelines for your property or properties is essential if you want to stay consistent with your branding message. Not only does this help ensure that all messaging follows the same graphic and stylistic standards, but also it can address operational standards, which are really built off of branding. If you do have more than one location, a brand playbook becomes even more important to create consistent experiences for your customers. There is one caveat, however. Consistency does not equal sameness. When it comes to the hospitality industry, you want the quality of experiences to be standard, but the actual location to be individualized.

Consider a signature amenity

Easy to do and very memorable, one branding technique more properties should consider is the signature amenity. The best ones are simple and communicate the main intention of the property. Do you want to appeal to families? Offer a small touch that the kids will love, whether that’s popsicles on arrival or in-room stuff animals. Is your location focused on the business traveler? Provide a rental service for tablets or laptops. These are just the tipping point of ways you can customize one small item to engender loyalty from customers.

Develop a consistent look

Whether it is your website or your hotel signage, your in-room communications or your restaurant’s menu, all of your property’s information to the public should display a similar look and feel that makes them think of your brand as soon as they see it. Even your photography and any imagery should be something that you own and represents your brand’s message. Your brand’s design is truly an asset that you need to nurture and develop. You want your design message to not only be functional and impactful, but also to have some staying power.

Understand your weaknesses

You definitely want to create branding that appeals to the core clientele you want to attract. But another group’s opinion you should consider is that of your employees. Hospitality staff often repeat some of the same concerns and issues that customers will in terms of issues at a property that aren’t consistent with the brand experience you want to project. By listening to employee suggestions and complaints you not only improve the branding of a property to appeal to customers, but you also create happier staff who are more likely to provide better service as a result.

Repeat Visitors

How are successful destination marketing organizations (DMOs) enticing travelers back time after time?

Technology has dramatically changed the way that travelers shop for their next vacation. As a result, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) have had to shift their marketing strategies to capture repeat business. If travel is your game, and repeat customers your objective, read on for some ideas on how to keep your customers coming back for more.

Freshen up your web presence

The first focus for a DMO is their website. It’s what potential travel customers see first, and if it isn’t current looking and offering up-to-date information, those potential customers will keep searching.

Equally vital these days is your mobile/app presence. According to Criteo’s Travel Flash Report, “Any travel advertiser with a booking app saw 33% of bookings come through mobile web and 27% of bookings come through their apps.” Simply put, your website and mobile presence must be responsive so it works on whatever screen your customer is using, or you will lose business. It also has to be visually compelling. Spend some time ensuring that what your clients see when they first hit your site, before scrolling down, captures their attention and is memorable.

Embrace self-promotion

Spreading the word about your DMO is essential, and in social media, particularly, Instagram, is your best bet. Use it to emphasize your brand and promote your business via high-quality visuals. Create a hashtag for the destination, promote it and then make sure you are regularly monitoring it to keep the locale trending positively on social media. Beyond Instagram, it’s a good idea to offer regular online content, from blog posts to eBooks, that will solidify your DMO as an expert and reward repeat customers with superior advice and guidance. The key is giving the honest “scoop” that is true to your business and offers a clear call to action that guarantees conversions.

Learn about the hot new tech

Ever feel like you can’t quite stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest technology for promoting your business? We feel ya. The one area that can give you a big return on your investment is virtual reality. This is a great way for DMOs to showcase a destination in a manner that really provides people a feel for what the place will be like during their stay. It can be a great supplement to more traditional techniques, and it offers an immersive experience that customers really respond to.

Take advantage of data

There is so much information out there now about what people want, from their grocery preferences to what car they will buy next. Mine that data for insights into what travelers are looking for in a destination and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Utilizing this scientific approach gives you the download on what influences your customers travel decisions, what they respond to and what resources they are using to plan their journeys. 

Take Your Social Media Live

Got a hot event or product? Using live social media is a great way to spread the word.


Video really is the reigning champ of today’s branding and marketing efforts. If your company isn’t using Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Snapchat or Instagram Stories to promote your events and products, then you might as well be using carrier pigeons to share your news.

Need convincing? Seventy nine percent of internet traffic is expected to be video content this year. And previous years have shown us that social video is more powerful than text and images combined. Social video has been shown to generate 1,200 percent more shares.

That’s just a taste of why live social media is important. Here are five ideas to help you best utilize it.

Questions and answers, baby!

One of the things that consumers like so much about live social media is the degree of authenticity they feel it offers. You can tap into that feeling via a live Q&A session about your company or a new product. The great thing about doing a live Q&A is it gives you some immediate feedback on your efforts to help you learn what viewers/consumers want, in addition to increasing your audience engagement.

Teach it and they will come.

Another popular live social media video format is the tutorial. The internet has become a treasure trove of information on how to do everything, from making a pavlova to changing your oil. Tap into this craving for step-by-step guides by creating your own that showcases your business’s expertise or highlights how to properly use one of your products.

Show folks around.

You can also simply create a video that gives consumers an insider’s view of your business or facility. This kind of tour video is relatively easy to do, and it affords you the chance to personalize your company or brand. It’s also a fairly relaxed option if you are still uncertain about being out in front of the camera.

Breaking news alert.

Got a new product coming out? Need to make a big announcement? Copy the cable news networks and do your own breaking news live video to share the details. This is an effective way to not only share news, but also to give your followers the feel of being “in the know” about what is cooking with your company.

Do your best Vanna White.

Not sure that your brand or company works for any of these ideas? Then channel Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune and simply show a product. It doesn’t have to be new and you don’t have to teach people anything, you simply display the product and explain what it does. This can be a good way to get your feet wet with live social media video if you are nervous about it.




Variations on a Theme

Brand archetypes may be universal, but is your business using the right one?


Anyone who survived a Lit 101 class in college might suffer some flashbacks when you start tossing around the word archetypes. While there is some correlation between literary archetypes, such as the hero or innocent, and brand archetypes, we aren’t going to make you start brushing up on your Shakespeare or Beowulf. The point of either type of archetype is to represent an individual or situation that is universal and relatable.

Associating your company or brand with one of the common archetypes gives your customers instant insight and connection to your company’s goals. Here are some ideas on how you can better use archetypes to create your brand’s story.

Classic Archetypes

When it comes to selecting the brand archetype that best represents your business, there are 12 classic choices to pick, including what they say about a brand:

·      The Innocent—Has strong values, is seen as reliable, possibly even nostalgic

·      The Regular Person—Offers a sense of belonging or the common touch

·      The Hero—Solves major problems or inspires others to

·      The Outlaw—Advocates for others and for change

·      The Explorer—Connotes adventure and authenticity

·      The Creator—Viewed as creative and inspiring

·      The Ruler—Restores order and stability

·      The Magician—Transforms the world via imagination

·      The Lover—Builds relationships and makes people feel appreciated

·      The Caregiver—Nurtures others and guides them to self-care

·      The Jester—Provides spontaneity and fun

·      The Sage—Dispenses knowledge and understanding of the world

Which theme you opt for will depend not only on what your business’s goals are, but also who you envision as your target audience.

The Right Archetype for You

How do you think your customers view you? Have you asked them lately? Take some time to reach out and do the research. Whatever product you deliver likely goes beyond the obvious message in your customers’ eyes; typically, they have an emotional connection to a company as well. It is worth your while to understand why a customer associates with your brand versus a competitor. Strive to understand how your company or product makes them feel.

Next, think about your business or brand. How do you see yourself? Is your view of your brand in line with how customers see you? If these aren’t similar, you may need to shift your vision to fit your customers’ view and build on the positive feelings they already have for your business.

Use this information to guide your thinking as you dig into the 12 archetypes to determine which feels true to your brand. Whatever you select, it’s essential that you move forward in a way that is authentic and consistent.

From Archetype to Messaging

Once you have determined the brand archetype that best exemplifies your business, you have to determine how to make that theme into a compelling communications message. As we mentioned above, a big component of effectively utilizing your brand archetype is consistency. If you present your company as a caregiver, but you aren’t extending that philosophy to your employees, it won’t take long before the disconnect is revealed and customers start to view your brand as untrustworthy.

In addition to keeping your brand archetype messaging real and relatable, it’s essential that you believe in your messaging. How you communicate to your customers informs their reactions. If you aren’t passionate about your brand, why should they be? Same goes for your employees or any staff. Everyone needs to be on board and believe in your brand archetype for it to be effective.

Finally, you engaged with customers to determine which brand archetype best represented your business. Don’t let that relationship fall to the wayside now. Use your customers as brand ambassadors. Their emotional connection to your brand should be harnessed and used to spread how your company is different/better than the rest.