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.