An Integrated Approach Connects Your Brand to Your Customer

By Mercedita Roxas-Murray EVP Strategy/Brand Planning & Operations, RedPeg Marketing | June 16, 2013

Hotels today face a lot of pressure. Competition in the marketplace, the struggling economy and lower consumer spending requires hotels to do more to acquire and engage new customers and create repeat business. It is hard to stand out, and to create a point of difference that not only matters to the customer but breaks through. This is why integrated marketing, the marriage of traditional marketing, event or personal engagement, and social media, is so very important to create a relationship with the whole customer. It feeds both rational and emotional needs and enables dialogue with the customer when he or she wants to be engaged. Integrated marketing tools provide the opportunity to get closer to that customer. And today, closest to the customer wins.

Stay True to Your Brand

No matter what marketing initiatives you engage in, from advertising to social, you must be true to your brand. And while many in marketing throw out the term brand, few understand what a brand really is. Simply, a brand is your name, logo, product, service or company. But it is also a set of expectations and a commitment of benefits. And more importantly, a brand is:

  • a promise delivered through experience
  • attractive to consumers because of how it makes them feel
  • clearly defined and provides an emotional connection
  • a trusted, reliable and valuable identity

Consumers have a belief about your brand that is created as a result of how they come into contact with your brand – through images, sounds, experiences and dialogue. And those contact points create and form the perceptions that determine whether someone wants to start and continue a relationship with your property or stop being a patron altogether.

These contact points are the integrated marketing tools that touch customers daily.

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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.