Your Hotel Brand, Dressed for Global Mobile Tech: Preserve Your Brand's Look with Professional Translation

By Deanna Shimota Director of Marketing, Sajan, Inc. | January 05, 2014

We've all heard that looks aren't everything, right? Well, that may be true in certain contexts, but it's a different story with your hotel website environment. A huge part of your brand identity is how it looks. Every brand has traits or attributes that it's known for, which comprise the cornerstone of its brand image. Some hotel chains are associated with affordable quality (Econolodge) while others are all about timeless luxury (Sofitel Hotels or the venerated Waldorf Astoria). Everything your brand puts out there needs to reflect that image-while being adapted to meet customer preferences in each locale.

If you don't care about how your website and mobile applications appear to your current and prospective international customers, you may as well shut down your website, tell your concierge to go home and bar up your revolving doors right now. Because how your brand comes across on your hotel website definitely matters, and it's something that only gets more important as you target additional markets around the world.

We're all keenly aware of how our brand comes across to customers. Brand awareness is nothing revolutionary. Where some hotel marketers struggle, however, is navigating global websites, mobile apps and professional translation. Specifically, how to create these tools while planning for the differences in perception from culture to culture and still keeping the overall brand appearance intact. Each region has its own preferences and expectations-and you will need to adapt to those if you want your brand to come across well in each new market. Since global websites and mobile applications are more crucial than ever in helping build customer loyalty, it makes sense to consider ways to localize these assets properly for each locale while retaining your hotel's unique look and identity.

Get Familiar with Global Audiences on Your Guest List

The first step in website and mobile app localization is knowing the exact audiences you're targeting. Once you know your target audiences, you'll want to get a handle on the in-country characteristics of each group to make sure your brand look resonates with them. You will need to thoroughly research the cultural nuances for insight into what each locale prefers when it comes to design, color schemes and even how the pages are laid out on the screen. What does each audience expect when they access a mobile website or app? Some countries (like Japan and Greece) prefer more images over text, while others (such as Scandinavian nations) prefer the opposite. Colors alone have widely divergent meanings depending on the culture. For example, while you may favor a minimalistic all-white design for your website and apps, that color will have strong connotations of death for your Indian audience.

Not every brand takes the country-by-country localized approach that is the hallmark of professional translation. However, assuming all target markets will respond well to the same approach is a mistake. This is especially detrimental when you consider the wave of personalization that we are currently experiencing with global marketing-audiences around the world expect a personalized approach. The key is in providing a local experience for international users that addresses cultural nuances, idiomatic expressions, images and layouts of mobile pages for every region you're targeting.

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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.