Engineering a New Lifestyle Hotel Brand: Defining its Identity, Enriching and Engaging its Customers
By Tuckey Devlin President, Hemingway Hotels & Resorts | May 14, 2012
Most people are working really hard these days. Spending leisure time, experiencing and enjoying life outside of our day-to-day routine simply enriches our lives, and creates lasting memories. These experiences also allow us to bond deeply with friends and family, while giving us the chance to meet new people along life's journey. Be it a new adventure or destination, or simply relaxing poolside, it is the deviation from the routine that drives people to want to take an escape. People will always be traveling, and seeking fresh experiences. Sometimes it might be to escape to a warmer climate, to participate in seasonal sporting activities, or maybe to explore geographically unique destinations. Other times, there is a yearning for the more exotic. Such experiences engage, and become rewarding, fulfilling and memorable. Hemingway Hotels and Resorts will look to deliver this experience to hotel guests.
Hoteliers are always looking to create something fresh – and with all of the new hotel concepts, it is not easy to do. In the hospitality industry where many new brands are launching, and existing brands are expanding their product portfolio, it is challenging to create something new to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. Existing brands have a distinct advantage of the benefit of time, having established a reputation and standards that have endured. Independently owned hotels find themselves competing with these larger brands. To keep up with the pace, especially those who have the support from larger corporate affiliations, and who have cultivated a loyal audience, you have to find a way to develop your own voice and audience, drawing people in through the concepts you create.
It is important to set yourself apart from the competition, in a genuine way. Building something truly unique can be difficult, but you can add and develop experiential elements that guests yearn for. Having a name of your hotel brand that reflects an authenticity, along with a vision of experiences you wish to create for guests, will immediately garner attention. Starting with a name that can conjure up powerful imagery is a unique advantage – it's not just a word that has been developed in a focus group around a board table, it starts with deeper meaning. Communicating a message along with a visual identity helps generate awareness and interest. Hemingway's lifestyle speaks volumes for itself, not to make a pun, and certainly helps to define and launch the concept of Hemingway Hotels & Resorts.
Developing and cultivating a new brand requires clarity of ideas, established guidelines and a laser focus. Although we start with simple messaging, we have the ability to build upon and mold the brand as it grows based on the destination and in some instances history. We allow the hotel to take on the characteristics of a place in order to carry through the authentic qualities of the destination. Having examined markets and trends, we acknowledge that the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry is adventure and cultural tourism, and Hemingway was more than fitting to launch at this time. Taking a leading position in these rapidly growing segments, with an internationally recognized name that defines itself without having to be explained, we may be able to exceed our own expectations.
Looking toward an iconic figure as inspiration, whose life has revolved around a particular lifestyle, we are able to paint an immediate picture from which an audience of that particular market segment can easily identify. People may look to be inspired from Hemingway's life and emulate similar adventurous experiences. The lifestyle and activities associated with him are interesting for us to incorporate into the hotel environment – they themselves have a story to tell. When your brand has a story to tell, with a richer meaning, people do take notice. In taking inspiration from Hemingway's adventures, we knew he was always seeking the essence and fullness of each of life's experiences, about which he would then write so beautifully. It is these experiences that we look to deliver to our guests.