Hotel Branding and Marketing in 2020| Insider Tips for Extraordinary Visual Engagement

Hotel Branding and Marketing in 2020| Insider Tips for Extraordinary Visual Engagement

Hotel branding is necessary to ensure that your brand stands out and appeals to the audience. The competition is tough, and to attract buyers, you need to create a strong visual engagement.

The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Process that!

Visual marketing has been around for a long time. Ask any businessman, and they’ll tell it is a highly effective method of brand-customer connection. In 2018, only 17% of the marketers surveyed spent more than 30% of their budget on visuals. This number jumped significantly to 32% of marketers (from 17%) projected for 2019.

Using visual branding — images, illustrations, videos, etc .— throughout your marketing helps customers identify your brand information and keep you in mind long after they have looked away. There’s a lot to know about it, and this post isn’t the right place. Head over to our Visual Marketing Guide for more information.

The photographs synonymous with your company make up your visual identity, from your colors and fonts… to your slogan and pictures. Such visual elements shape an important part of any hotel branding and marketing campaign. So, without further ado, let’s tell you how to create a hotel branding strategy for maximum engagement.

Getting Started with Hotel Branding

What’s hotel branding?

Branding consists of a set of complex decisions regarding branding. Major decisions on the brand strategy involve brand placement, brand name collection, brand promotion, and brand growth. You have to plan keeping the larger picture in mind.

People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.”

Dan Wieden

There are a lot of definitions of the term “brand”. For most, it simply means a logo or something that identifies the business. For instance, your brain understands and differentiates between a McDonald and a Burger King logo. But, there is more to it – ‘brand’ is an emotional experience which strengthens or weakens through every interaction a user has with it. It defines your business identity.

hotel branding | famous brand logos
Some of the most famous brand logos

According to Marketing Insider, “a brand is a company’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits, services and experiences consistently to buyers. However, a brand should rather be understood as a set of perceptions a consumer has about the products of a particular firm. Therefore, all branding decisions focus on the consumer.

Branding Decisions - Brand Positioning, Brand Name Selection, Brand Sponsorship and Brand Development
Branding Decisions – An Explainer by Marketing Insider

Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is a program that supports concrete, long-term goals that can be met through the creation of a successful brand — the integrated elements of the identity of your company that make it distinctive.

Getting yourself a handful of logos isn’t a brand strategy! It’s a step-by-step process which can be categorized in 3 broad categories –

  • Defining the purpose. [think of it as the HEART of your hotel branding strategy]
  • Setting the tone [this is where you define the brand essence/personality]
  • Visual Identity [the logo, color palettes, typography, etc.]

When you don’t have a hotel branding strategy –

  • You won’t have a cohesive brand message.
  • Your content will be inconsistent.
  • You won’t be known to most users.

But wait, it isn’t that hard to define a branding strategy for your hotel. There are some questions that you need to ask yourself and some information to work with. Here’s a DIY personalized hotel branding strategy.

Hotel Branding | Building Your Own Strategy

To set things clear, please take note that you can’t build a brand strategy alone. You will need a team with opinions to revise, re-craft, and finally vote unanimously to a defined strategy.

If you’re building a hotel branding strategy from scratch, there are 2 things that you should cover beforehand –

(a) Who Will Buy From You?

To build a brand strategy that genuinely helps you connect with people, you need to know exactly to whom you are selling. Understanding who they are and how you can serve them makes it clearer to get started.

(b) Who are You Up Against?

Knowing the competition goes a long way in defining a hotel branding strategy that creates a distinctive imprint in your target audience’s mind. This is invaluable information to help you identify who you are and who you are not, how you fit in or stand out and how your brand strategy can communicate your differences.

Hotel Branding | competition research template
Comparative analysis template – Smartsheets

It is ideal to get yourself a competitive analysis template, so you can better list the key differences. A strategic framework for reviewing helps to make sure you preserve the knowledge collected. You can build one yourself (preferably on MS Excel), but make sure to include the following points –

  • Company Information (URL, social handles, Directors, etc.)
  • Product Information
  • Market Information
    • Marketing Strategy
    • Market Share
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Your Competitive Advantage

Defining the purpose

Create a document and answer four questions honestly. Take your time as this will be the foundation to everything you do next.

  • What is the PURPOSE of your brand?
  • What is the MISSION of your brand?
  • What is your brand’s VISION?
  • What PRINCIPLES guide your brand?

Each brand has a basic set of beliefs which affects everything they do. It’s imperative to know what these principles are and why they matter, as they are a powerful, potent force that can actively support or sabotage your business. When the values and company of your organization are compatible, you will bring people together effectively, build the culture and construct the future you desire.

Setting the tone

When you have answers to the questions listed above, it is time to begin with the next phase of hotel branding. In here, you will be defining the brand essence which consists of – (a) voice, (b) tone, and (c) personality.

  • Identifying brand personality – A strong brand identity is based on specific attributes. It is how people perceive you online, and they expect your brand to be the same physically. Hence, brand personality is a manifestation of yourself. Think on it – are you curious or dull? Wild or laid-back? Sophisticated or Rugged? Introspect so you can infuse the personality into every aspect of your hotel branding.
  • Identifying brand voice – This is how your brand sounds and speaks. Your brand needs to have a unique voice (just like humans). For instance, an automobile brand’s voice isn’t the same as that of a baby food manufacturer. Or a beach resort’s voice isn’t the same as that of a vintage hotel.
  • Identifying brand tone – The brand tone is its general attitude. You can portray your brand as authoritative without being disrespectful or sarcastic or funny, depending on the context. It is a great idea to understand your audience and use different tones to drive engagement. For instance, you can’t use formal tone all over your content if your target audience are millennial or an informal tone if the hotel caters to corporate and businesses.

Creating the Visual Identity

Based on the documentation from the steps listed above, you are close to finally defining your hotel branding strategy. In this phase, it is about designing the brand elements that represent your brand as an individual. You have to carefully consider the colors, fonts, and every single pixel of visual cues that you want to use.

This isn’t something that you can expect to achieve in one try. A strong visual identity is meant to be purposeful, first and foremost. You aren’t just designing for today. You’re designing for your brand’s future. Hence, do not hesitate to try multiple variations of your concepts.

Summing it up, make sure that you create a visual identity which is –

  • flexible,
  • intuitive, and
  • comprehensive.

Hotel Branding Tips

There are a lot of big names like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Four Seasons….the list goes on! What’s common about all of these? People who frequently travel or are informed can immediately visualize the brand logo the moment you say the name.

That’s what you want too, right?

We get it! Here are four hotel branding tips to stand out from the crowd –

  1. Construct a powerful narrative for your hotel brand. Create a story for your hotel that will touch on your history, mission, values, and principles. Do it well and travelers are much more likely to feel a connection with you, and embrace the start of what is hopefully a long relationship with your brand.
  2. Do it for your guests. Being honest and truthful, is essential. Customers aren’t dumb so when you try to fool them or when you can’t deliver on promises they will quickly realize. It takes time to build so that each and every time someone stays with your brand, your legacy must provide a great guest experience.
  3. Be holistic with your approach. Hotel branding isn’t just limited to a logo. Your hotel’s brand ‘image’ needs to be reflected in everything associated with your business including: typography, stationery, marketing (offline and online), social media…basically everywhere.
  4. Go Social. Besides your own website, social media is the best way to promote your brand and create excitement within the global traveler market. When you post branded content that provokes interest and anticipation from guests who are beginning to research their next trip to the city, they will start knowing your brand more and more.

Summary

Hotel branding isn’t a one-man job. That being said, it is something that should be best left for professionals. We hope that the tips listed above will help you get started, and by the time you need a designer, you’ll have a fair idea of what you need.

It is a long-term strategy that needs time and effort. Do not rush it, else you’ll end up with something undesirable (or something that doesn’t resonate with the audience). Competition and buyer research will provide you with enough insights as well.

Need help with hotel branding? Connect with our Design Team and see the difference!

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