The Black Hole of Hotel Branding

By Naseem Javed Founder, ABC Namebank International | May 19, 2010

The term "Le Branding" started out in the Dark Ages, where marks were burned onto cattle. On ever-so-slowly-evolving minds of the Homo sapiens this word also made a solid impression and provides a daily dose of comfort. Belonging to a product and a brand name, offering taste and vanity offers a security blanket. A warm fuzzy feeling when a huge name is printed on the chest. The mind and body just craves to carry something with a logo, color and stripes, wear anything as long as it's identifiable, get tattooed with names or razor lines on skinned heads or name babies after brand names. "Hey Rolex, come to mama and play with Infinity." The hungry souls want something, just about anything, as long as it is a name, one could brag or chat about. Companies created great items and developed great name identities. The businesses were delighted and supported artificial shortages, presented addictive designing while pricing them very high, all as qualifiers to make a real expensive brand. It was wonderful. Everyone contended. Everyone became a brand carrier, infesting the herds and paying dearly.

Three Major Branding Eras

1) Starting The Romancing Age

In the earlier days, great new products were created leading to powerful marketing and branding strategies. Everything required distinct packaging, colorful logo-design and a solid name. Mass promotion at any cost was a must. The creation of frenzy was the rule and watching the consumers drool during the hype was the norm. It really worked.

2) Leaving The Coercing Age

Later, when the dilution factor kicked in and thousands of new copycat brand names flooded the markets, it forced new twists and required new methods of persuasion. This time, strange and crazy gimmicks became the standard while customers started getting fussy, and became wolves in sheep's clothing. Branding became a serious challenge, partially for lack of originality of the products wrapped with ineffective blitz advertising and missing of unique brand name identity.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.