The Creation and Development of a Brand -The Five Essential Components

By Gianluca Giglio Managing Director, Ragosta Hotels Collection | May 15, 2010

The hospitality industry is undergoing revolutionary changes. Long gone are the days of opening the doors of a boutique hotel in a desirable locale and waiting for your guests to arrive. In order to be successful in today's marketplace, hoteliers must first identify a potential brand opportunity to successfully create and implement a unique hotel branding strategy that allows their properties to compete in a global marketplace. In addition to identifying and developing that strategy, there are many other key factors that affect the overall success of the hotel including concept development, ownership philosophies, management styles, and guests' needs and expectations.

As the managing director of Italy's luxury hotel group, Ragosta Hotels Collection, we have worked to create one of the country's cutting-edge hospitality groups in just over two years. Our organization is comprised of the critically-acclaimed Hotel Raito, located in Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast, Relais Paradiso on the Amalfi Coast and the soon-to-open La Plage Resort in Taormina, Sicily (opening in May 2010). The Collection is also planning to open a fourth property in Rome, Italy, late 2010. The Ragosta brand is known for creating hospitality experiences that truly reflects the lifestyles of its guests in some of Italy's most spectacular settings.

With experience that expands nearly two decades focusing on hotel operations, finance, sales, marketing, yield management, reservations and branding, we have developed key elements in creating a hospitality brand suited to the ever-evolving patterns of travel.

Five Essential Components in Creating and Marketing a Successful Hotel Brand:

• Be a visionary-recognize a marketplace need

This is the first ingredient and, in most cases, the most important. The first step in developing a brand is identifying a need in the marketplace and developing a concept that will successfully fulfill that need. For example, in developing the marketing concept behind Ragosta Hotels Collection, the organization recognized the growing market segment of high-end, yet younger, travelers who were seeking hotel offerings that mirror their everyday life.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.