Grow Your Hotel Brand and its Reputation
By Sanjay Nijhawan COO, Guoman Hotels (UK) | March 11, 2012
The last year has proved to be one of the most challenging sales environments in decades, not only for hotels and resorts but for all industries. In such a competitive environment, it is those organisations that can develop (or retain) a strong brand identity and reputation that will perform most strongly, ensuring not only their survival but setting themselves to benefit most from the resulting upturn.
Strong brands will secure guest loyalty, and with existing customers up to 7 times more profitable to deal with than new customers this is vital in efficiently utilising the orgnisation's resources and keeping costs down. Strong brands will also have a clear position when economic conditions improve, enabling them to attract new customers quickly due to their clear message and offering.
There has never been a better time to clarify and develop your hotel brand, and below are some suggestions about how to approach this.
Develop an identifiable, unique position in the market
This is the vital first step in ensuring a strong brand that can grow, and that your business will stand for something with the customer. The best way of viewing a brand is as 'customer short-hand' - a way of immediately conveying what you are all about, and more importantly, what the customer will receive. How many of us walk past the own-label goods in supermarket, heading straight for the household name brands. Why? Both packets have cornflakes/ketchup/washing-powder inside! Yet we feel reassured by that brand-name, that promise of what you will receive - whether it's the whitest whites, the softest touch, or the longest-lasting.
Developing a clear position for your brand is fine in principle - but in practice it can be a real challenge in hospitality. We are an industry in which everyone sells a similar thing: a place to sleep where varying levels of luxury, comfort, service and, usually, food and drink, are provided, at prices appropriate to the levels offered. So, how can you develop the vital points of differentiation - areas where you can stand-out and be different? The key is that your positioning needs to sell an experience, to help explain to a guest what they will feel. Here are just a few areas that can be explored: