Why Branding Has Become the Marketing Tool for Hospitality

By Reynaldo Rey Fernandez General Manager, AC Hotel San Juan Condado | August 20, 2017

Of all the latest trends taking over the hospitality industry in 2017, branding serves as the most essential marketing tool allowing hotels to communicate their vision, values and mission.

Branding has evolved past the company's name, slogan, sign, symbol or design. Although it is still used as a means to identify a company, branding has developed into a complex but ultimately necessary concept in the marketing world. The objectives of good branding are to:

  • Clearly deliver the message
  • Confirm the company's credibility
  • Create a connection between the market and the product or service
  • Motivate the buyer
  • Create loyalty

According to Skift.com, at last year's New York University Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, hotel chief executive officers focused on understanding how branding works and the importance behind good branding. What was concluded from the conference is that in an era when hotel companies are buying each other and the home sharing experience has taken over the online marketplace, the number of brands only seems to be growing and with that comes an increase in competition.

Branding is the future, especially in the hospitality industry. As the number of brands grows at an exponential rate, hotels begin using it as a tool to differentiate themselves and make smart business decisions. Hotels like Hyatt, Trump and Marriot (as seen in the company's new AC Marriott properties) have begun to acquire more brands in recent years as a means to develop their distribution system and build bigger collections that appeal to specific demographics at a lower cost.

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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.