Hotel Branding: Does Transcreation Change Your Global Identity?
By Emil Atanassov General Manager, Asia Pacific, Sajan, Inc. | May 18, 2014
The entire hotel brand experience consists of many elements, from the welcome you receive at the front desk to the logo-embroidered bathrobes you could find hanging in the room. Most of the time there's consistency across hotel chain branding from country to country. But think about your favorite hotel chain's tagline or the advertisements you see that colorfully and creatively proclaim the brand promise. Are they the same in the United States, Russia and Brazil? Not if they are successful. These critical marketing components are based on concepts that resonate strongly with a given target audience. Since every culture has its own ideals, assumptions and values, what works in one country often does not work in another.
Hotel marketers can't simply translate a creative message word for word in a new language. Consider that taglines, for one, often contain puns or references to imagery that only make sense to the home culture. To really make sure that the core concept carries over, a process called transcreation needs to take place. In essence, transcreation is the art of re-creating a marketing message for a new culture in order to capture the original emotive effect. It's more than just language translation.
The prospect may seem straightforward, yet it brings with it an all-too-common concern. If the core concept is adapted for each country, is the overall hotel global identity at risk? The truth is that transcreation actually serves to keep the brand messaging intact-when you work with an experienced team.
Getting a Beat on Transcreation
Your hotel's overall image may be all about casual relaxation, grand elegance or a quirky, off-the-beaten-path feel. Whatever your brand is known for, your marketing materials must reflect that, from the tone of the website copy to the images used in advertisements and campaigns. After all, a varying brand message from one part of the world to another goes against the goal of a consistent global brand experience. Yet you also need to ensure that local messaging speaks the language of its intended audience, both literally and emotionally.
This is where transcreation comes in-the act of re-creating the original message in a culture-specific way while carrying over that all-important creative flair. At the same time, it preserves your hotel's core identity because the thematic building blocks of your brand remain in place.
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