How to turn your hotel into a brand that thrills your guests.
If you want more guests and direct bookings,
you shouldn’t advertise hotel rooms …
Because it’s LOUD online, and it’s getting louder every day.
One ad message chases the next and everyone wants our attention.
How can you, and especially as a hotel, attract attention under these circumstances?
To have a chance at all, you don’t have a choice but to bite the bullet and appear on booking platforms together with loads of competitors …
That, however, raises the question, why you won’t find Apple together with a long list of other computer businesses, or why Nike doesn’t advertise hand in hand with Adidas, Fila and Puma?
“Because these are well-known and sought-after brands.”
“With hotels, it’s something completely different.”
Oh yes? Really?
Most people think of world famous and expensive when they hear the word brand.
But is that really the case?
And what exactly is a brand?
A brand is all images, feelings, and associations that a certain name or product evokes in a customer.
Anyone who shops at Ikea or is a fan of Nivea Creme has certain ideas about “their” brand. What it stands for, what is special about it and why it is better than other brands.
Customers see them as “beings”, authentic and with personality, and connect them with certain values. “Their” brands stand for something.
This works not only with sneakers, creams and computers, but it also applies to hotels: the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, the Savoy in London or the Adlon in Berlin stand for luxury, elegance and exciting story (s).
You can do that too! And you don’t have to be a grand hotel or count movie stars and politicians among your guests.
Highlight your hotel experience, position yourself as a great host and inspire your guests.
The Verb Hotel in Boston, for example, is a music-inspired boutique hotel experience. Known for its funky, retro-chic environment, it invites you to “sleep soundly immersed in rock history.”
Or the Tigerlily in Edinburgh, dubbed by the Telegraph one of the 15 best boutique hotels in Scotland: “Tigerlily is all about cocktails and shoes and shopping and partying. A full-on designer’s dream, it’s not a place for the shy and retiring”.
Or the Cortijo El Sarmiento – a fine, small Bed & Breakfast in Andalusia that attracts cosmopolitans and wine enthusiasts who share their passion for life at the Cortijo!
Brands exist in all areas and price ranges and provide a wide variety of offers and services. The success of a brand is the pull and attraction it has on its target clientele.
And that happens primarily through emotions.
Sure, a nice room and a great location can create anticipation, but now imagine a wonderful hotel experience … the nice people, the inviting atmosphere, the delicious meals, the feeling of being looked after, of having a good time … our imagination gallops away with us, we smile and suddenly… .we look for the booking information….
To become a hotel brand is actually not that difficult.
Basically, it just takes a little courage because if you want your hotel to stand out, take a stand.
As with almost everything in life, the same applies here – you cannot be everything for everyone. Not every guest belongs to your customer base.
If you try to appeal to everyone and please everyone, you will reach no one.
You know it yourself. Some guests value casualness and self-service, while others prefer calm elegance, attentive service and a relaxed atmosphere. Some guests are enthusiastic athletes and health apostles and are looking for hotels with fitness, spa and super healthy food, others expect the latest technology so that they can work undisturbed while on the move.
Narrowing down and defining a target group is not a simple decision. There’s always the concern: “What if I’ve got the “wrong” target group?”, “What if that doesn’t get me enough guests, wouldn’t it be stupid to ignore the others?”
Considerations that are understandable, but you have no choice. You have to take a stand. But believe me, it’s worth it!
Here are the three most important steps to develop into a hotel brand:
Think about how you want guests to perceive your hotel.
If you are not quite sure, these questions might help:
Which style suits me / my hotel?
Why do I do what I do? Why am I a hotelier? What do I stand for?
What do I enjoy about being a host?
What do I believe in passionately, what is important to me?
How do I help my guests? What do I want to achieve?
What feelings do I want to evoke in my guests?
Which images do I want to create in the minds of my guests?
How do I represent myself?
How and where do I communicate with my guests?
Now think about your dream guest (long and hard).
(Of course, can it be more than one, but once you reach five, it’s time to remember that – see above – you cannot be everything for everyone …)
What do my dream guests attach great importance to and what is of little value to them?
What kind of person are they, what are they interested in?
What is more important to my guests than money?
What interests, values, and points of view do my favorite guests have?
What kind of life do they lead?
What do current guests like about my hotel?
What connects me with my dream guests?
Hot tip: ask your guests!
The more you find out about your favorite customers, the easier and better you can adapt your hotel product to the wishes and preferences of your guests and the more successful you will be.
Show your favorite guests how important they are to you at every opportunity.
Reinforce your message at all important touch points.
Let’s say your hotel is in the mountains and your favorite guests are mountain bikers. What is important to real mountain bikers? How can you support their passion?
Present your website authentically and with lots of personality.
Show what makes your hotel different!
Make your dream guests feel that you understand them.
Speak “their” language.
Pay attention to the little things. They often make a big difference.
Evoke feelings and get your guests to dream and imagine: how good it will feel and the wonderful things they will experience at your hotel …
Becoming the brand of YOUR guests has only advantages:
- Your favorite guests know you, love your hotel product and do not book a hotel, but YOUR hotel.
- They like to talk about their great hotel experiences, and they become brand ambassadors.
- Your team identifies with “its” hotel brand and what it stands for. They all have the same vision and vision and pull together. Dealing with each other and with guests becomes more harmonious. There are hardly any complaints and fewer problems, and you have more free time!
- Guests book because they want to enjoy your hospitality and your (hotel) experience and are willing to pay the price for it.
- Powerful brands have loyal customers, and you can look forward to loyal guests who like to revisit often.
With a clear positioning, you have the key to success in your pocket.