December 15, 2020
By Cvent Guest

Wondering what you should name your hotel? The best hotel name ideas use the power of word associations, story, and the subconscious mind to stand out from the crowd. According to a study by Nielsen, the right name is one of the “most valuable assets a company possesses,” so you’ll have to choose wisely.  

Even if your new property isn’t the most beautiful, famous, or luxurious in the world, choosing a strategic hotel name can help increase revenue long-term. Keep reading to explore 7 tried and true tactics to come up with hotel name ideas, as well as a few original examples for inspiration. Then, use the ideas to define your brand, attract the right customers, and emotionally connect with potential guests before they ever step into your lobby

Discover 7 simple ways to come up with hotel name ideas:

Invent the perfect name for your hotel business using these 7 psychological tips, marketing tricks, and brainstorming tools.

1. Choose lines or circles.

The shape of the letters used in a hotel name — especially at the very beginning — has a psychological impact on how memorable it is and what guests subconsciously associate with it. 

The English alphabet is primarily made up of two shapes: lines and circles. 

Lines, like those found in the letters "N" or "T," are often associated with speed, since we subconsciously know that they are fast to write out by hand. Being associated with speed might be ideal for hotels if they are located by key transit areas (think airports or train stations) or offer convenience for short-term business travelers who are often in a hurry.  

Also, when the human brain sees a letter made out of straight lines, it automatically views the individual lines as connected square and rectangle shapes thanks to the Gestalt Principles. Use this to your advantage if these shapes can symbolize a key feature of your hotel such as a distinctly angular structure. For example, names with letters primarily made of lines are especially great for capsule hotels. 

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Letters made out of round shapes, on the other hand, are associated with softness. Most vowels are made using circles, which is why they subconsciously evoke feelings of comfort and safety. And because vowels make up the first sounds spoken by babies from all over the world (think “ooh” and “ahh”), it’s no surprise that hotel names beginning with a vowel will likely be thought of as soothing. 

Circle imagery is also symbolic for completion, which is often quite satisfying for human brains. At the very least, it can represent the relief of finally being done with a phase or task, like taking a long flight. 

In other words, if onsite spa services, extra quiet rooms, and luxuriously cozy beds are your unique selling points, consider starting your hotel name with this letter shape to subconsciously persuade customers to book. 

2. Consider mouth sounds.

The psychology of letters doesn't stop with shapes. When coming up with good hotel name ideas, you also have to consider whether you want more consonant sounds or vowel sounds. In fact, generations of students who study Shakespeare have been trained to pay special attention to the emotional language of these vocalizations. And now there’s scientific analysis that supports why it works. 

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In a study conducted on patients with severe epilepsy at the University of California, San Francisco, scientists discovered that there are specific speech-responsive areas of the brain that light up when patients hear phonetic sounds from the English language, regardless of what language is spoken. Clearly, we humans have a strong connection to our native tongues. But that’s not what surprised the researchers. These same phonetically-engaged brain areas were picky and responded to some clusters of sounds differently than others. Some of those clusters include plosives and fricatives.

3. Study the marketplace.

Before you can come up with a good hotel name, you have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the names of hotels nearby? Avoid names that sound or look similar. Look for trends among them (like animal names or made-up words) and find a way to stand out. For example, hotel name puns are a quirky and effective brand idea as long as there aren’t any other hospitality businesses with funny names already in your area. 
  • What words does my audience already associate with hotels? The Word Associations Network says that luxury, majestic, and retail are commonly associated with the word "hotel." Use this free tool from MonkeyLearn to create a word cloud using the descriptions of 10 competitors, and analyze which nouns and verbs they use the most. 
  • Is my hotel geared towards business, leisure, or both? If business, consider what industry you’re targeting and follow their standard naming conventions. For example, if your hotel will mainly host tech executives, a good name would follow the anatomy of a startup name
    • A completely made-up word (Etsy, Dwolla)
    • A common word with one unexpected letter added or removed (Lyft, Tumblr)
    • A mashup of two words related to your hotel without a space between them (DoorDash, ClassPass)

Remember, it's less about what you like and more about what appeals most to your audience without sounding too much like your competition. Balance the need to fit in with the need to stand out by comparing your list of ideas to hotels that already exist. 

Also, when you're narrowing down your options, make sure you Google them and see whether or not there are hotels or other businesses with similar names. Don’t forget to check domain name availability, too. 

4. Start with the obvious.

Use hospitality-related words including hotel, motel, and inn for your official hotel name so customers know exactly what you offer as soon as they hear it. The key? Sound familiar, but not too familiar.

As Ivan Dimitrijevic, Director of Demand Generation at Funky Marketing says, “Even though there are many successful businesses with a vague name that doesn’t refer to their specific niches, it’s always advisable that this part of your brand resonates with the audience as much as possible, particularly if your business is still in its startup phase.” 

For brand-new hotels, this means leaning into common industry naming conventions that refer to comfort, home, and your specific location (like Downtown). 

5. Use the origin of your hotel.

Some of the best brand names for any business type have a sweet and simple story behind them, like your family dog’s name or the person who inspired you to start the hotel in the first place. If your background story is short, heartfelt, and easy to remember, guests will emotionally connect with your brand. 

You can also use the history of your hotel to name it. For example, family-owned hotels can lean into down-to-earth titles such as cottage or bed and breakfast. They may even want to include their family name or founder’s initials. 

6. Follow the Law of Three Syllables.

There's a reason why two-syllable names are the best options for dogs. Simply put, they are easier for canines, and people, to remember. Notice how two-syllable names like New York are fully spoken, while names with additional syllables such as Los Angeles (which has four) are often abbreviated to their initials? There are tons of examples of this throughout our everyday lives. 

The moral of the story is that you have two options: Use less than three syllables or more than three syllables.  

  • More than three syllables. If you want to inject familiarity into your brand or like the idea of your property having a nickname, use more than three. Make sure you build your hotel nickname into your SEO strategy.
  • Less than three syllables. If you prefer something your potential guests will memorize quickly, use a name with one or two syllables. You can still keep your property type at the end of the official name even if it adds the total number of syllables, because guests are already familiar with words like hotel and motel, especially in this context.  

7. Use a hotel name generator.

Try Business Name Generator or Shopify If you need a place to start brainstorming. Enter a keyword you'd like to see included in the name, such as “Raven,” or a style you like, such as “modern.” Narrow your results by industry and check the box marked Travel. 

You likely won’t find your hotel names ideas from the generator themselves. But if a certain word or naming structure catches your eye, make note of it, and go from there. 

Original examples of hotel name ideas:

Here are some examples of made-up names based on the tips above:

  • Hygge Inn & SuitesHygge is a Danish word used to describe coziness and the feeling of being at home. It’s memorable and has positive association for hotels. 
  • The Henderson HotelA family name that ties in the origin story of the business and evokes a small-business feel. 
  • EncoreA hip, two-syllable name repurposing a known English word for the brand. This would work well if the main attraction of the area is a theater or concert venue down the street from the hotel, or if your property is going to be a big event venue. 

Define your brand further!

Good hotel names ideas are always original, unique, and creative. But you don’t need a lightning bolt of inspiration to come up with one, just some tools and techniques like the ones we’ve outlined above.

Up next, complement your hotel name ideas with other marketing foundations like hotel blog ideas that further define your brand and what it stands for. 

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Cvent is a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider with more than 4,000 employees, ~21,000 customers, and 200,000 users worldwide.

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