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:

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.