Long gone are the days where brand means nothing more than a logo or color scheme. Hospitality is a world of brands, and hospitality in Asia brings this to an entirely new scale as brand continues to drive the culture of a company from the inside out.
Smart hoteliers understand that differentiating their brand will empower them to deliver both business success to stakeholders and a meaningful difference to guests.
However, many hoteliers—while well-intentioned—might find themselves drawing a blank if asked to directly define what their brand is really about. Brian Greco spoke to QUO—a branding agency with base here in Bangkok—to bring light to the importance of brand in hospitality.
1. Use psychographics rather than just demographics. A good brand understands a customer beyond simply their age, gender, or income. What is their lifestyle like? What is going through their mind as they make a choice to stay at your hotel or not, or whether to come back?
2. A brand is a personality that gets to the core beliefs of who you are. Ultimately a good brand must have a clear sense of ‘why’ guiding the reason why one gets up in the morning, why the company pursues its goals and addresses its customers needs.
3. Brand can be intangible but affects every level of your organization. While early brand discovery work can be rather intellectual in nature, the effects are real. A brand will determine the culture from the top down and affect all touch-points of hospitality in your hotel.
4. Brand combines locally formed culture with global needs. A lot of this depends on the market and on product, as the heart of a good brand is a deep connection to a local culture. However, different approaches must be taken when looking at a global market.
5. Distribution is key. Smaller companies are well-advised not to take on too many brands without the necessary components to make each successful. To avoid confusion and be able to deliver on perceived value, brand should pay closely attention to distributional capabilities.
6. Brand drives success internally. While much of branding is customer-facing, good branding will compel the internal staff-driven efforts to produce excellence to the desired brand result. In other words, those on the inside must be as ‘on board’ with the brand as those on the outside.
7. Brand is crucial in the hotel business as it directly determines customer experience. Hospitality is unique among industries in that it offers a physical canvas upon which to mould the customer experience from A to Z. Branding guides this process.
8. It is okay to take risks and not try to please every customer. A good brand is not afraid to deselect certain consumers while also magnetically attracting others who see themselves as a fit for that product. No need to try to be everything for everyone!
9. Having a clear brand means a clearer blueprint for growth. When making key development decisions, a brand can serve as a guiding ideology to determine whether new investments or design choices are suitable to the core essence of a hotel.
10. The future of branding is digitally driven. Digital focus is, of course, increasingly important for hoteliers if they are to compete with newer brands that are vying for the attention and loyalty of a larger, more digitally-connected customer base.
Brand will continue to be of increasing importance in a digital future saturating customers with information and choices. Larger, more traditional hospitality companies are being confronted with a changing consumer base— while newer hotels on the scene may be tasked with the often daunting endeavor of creating a differentiated and compelling brand from the outset.
Wherever your organization lies along this continuum, these core truths of branding stand to create a more meaningful experience for your team and guests alike.
Learn more about QUO and their branding process at www.quo-global.com.