Your hotel is so much more than a place to sleep. A hotel is an integral component of the travel experience, one that can make or break the entire trip. Which is why your hotel must start sharing its unique experiences from the very beginning – way before the guest chooses your hotel and checks in.
You can do this by making branding a priority in your hotel marketing strategy. The key to branding is to have a very distinct and unique selling proposition that will appeal to a targeted audience. Hotels offering very similar experiences to their competition set often have to compete on price alone, which can be a dangerous precedent, as there’s always someone out there willing to undercut them. Stock up on these hotel marketing and branding basics and get your property on the right path to increased revenue and occupancy.
Celebrate What Makes You Unique
Are you in a historic or architecturally significant building or neighborhood? Do you offer any unusual or exceptional service? Is there something cutting edge or evocative about your décor or amenities? Determine what, from a guest’s perspective, will make you stand out from the competition and build an identity around that.
Brand to a Specific Market
Hotels and resorts that brand to a specific market usually enjoy greater profits and happier guests. For instance, a hotel that caters to families can emphasize the availability of fold out beds, child-friendly events or play areas, and other appropriate amenities. Hotels wishing to capture millennials can emphasize things such as in-room, digital friendly devices and connectivity, cutting-edge design, and common lounge areas and hotel happy hours for socializing. Having the extras that your target market will pay more for means increased profits for your property.
Connect on an Emotional Level
Successful hotels deliver a distinct experience, rather than four walls and a bed. Because they are able to connect with their guests’ emotional wants - the romance, the adventure, the visual stimulation of being in a new environment that is interesting and engaging - they are able to command a higher revenue rate and stand out from, and even diminish, the competition.
Big Fish, Small Pond
Carve out a niche in your local market that isn’t being addressed by your competition and that will allow you to grow. Define a very targeted audience and market specifically to them. You will probably find that your marketing costs will decrease because you’re not trying to hit the entire general population, and your target audience will be more likely to book with you and pay a higher rate to do so.
Make it Easy for Your Guests to Market You
Social Media rules these days. Between Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and all the other video and photo sharing platforms out there, your guests are snapping and posting photos videos left and right to show how exciting their lives and vacations are.
The more interesting your hotel or some feature of your hotel is, the better are the chances that it will be featured in many of those vacation photos online for the world to see. Guests will share unique and interesting hotel experiences on TripAdvisor, Yelp and other online review sites. Give them something good to talk about and they will spread the word!
The Benefits of Proper Branding
- Increased profits - A targeted audience is usually willing to pay more for goods or services that specifically fit their needs, wants and desires.
- Reduced Costs - Allocate your marketing dollars primarily to those outlets that will serve your target audience. Also, when you know your market, you can make intelligent purchasing decisions that can save you significant amounts of money.
- Happier Customers - Managing guests expectations results in more satisfied customers.
- Less Complaints - Inevitably, someone will end up staying at your hotel not because you were their first choice, but because for one reason or another there was a lack of other available options. If your hotel has a specific brand identity, guests will be less likely to expect an experience other than what you provide.
The take away? Embrace the concept of marketing to a small portion of the travel market. It’s a sustainable path to operate a profitable hotel with less of the stresses of the generic business mode.
Written by Junvi Ola.