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 June 2019...

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.