Written by: Cristina García
Until recently, consumers in the travel industry were not so demanding. Hotels had no need to specialize because the demand for highly specific products or services didn’t exist. It was enough to differentiate between three or four types of hotel: sun and beach, town, rural, wellness... Then, decisive factors for consumers were price, location and perhaps exclusivity. There wasn’t a significant difference between most hotel’s products and services.
With the Internet boom, saturation of the sector and the change in user behavior, the day where differentiation is imperative has arrived. And that's why we give so much importance to branding strategy. Now travelers look for unique experiences that add value. Hence hotels need to recreate a connection with their prospects so that they are attracted and can be identified with their values.
Because we must bear in mind that as travelers we are expose to many tourist brands. And with each encounter, we develop thoughts and feelings that help us build their image. And both the image we perceive and if we identify with its values, help us choosing between one or the other. So, in the competitive hotel industry, image and values that we associate with a hotel’s brand, mean everything.
Products and services of the holiday sector are now evolving at a rapid pace. It is not easy to keep the engagement of those consumers of travel and experiences if they are not attracted by your specific brand its value proposition. If you want to be up to date of the latest consumer trends, you will have to make some changes, consider rebranding as a marketing strategy to differentiate your hotel.
Almost all hotels evolve along their own history. Revamp your hotel’s brand, change some of the traits that define it to adapt to new consumers and be more competitive, it is one of the best ways to attract attention and differentiate. To do this, you have to redefine again who you want to become as hotel and who is the ideal type of customer you are going to meet.
First, note that your hotel’s rebranding is not only a visual change. For this reason, it is important to lay the foundations of who you want to become. You have to redefine your identity. And we consider that developing a DDC strategy is essential. This strategy means detailing the features that differentiate, define and makes your hotel’s communication easy
This is what will determine your hotel’s mission, vision and values. The philosophy and key attributes that will make your hotel stand out, attract, and be unique. In this case it is important to know your competition well and also identify (and not underestimate) their value proposition.
A good way to differentiate at this point is through your hotel’s specialization. By offering products and services with added value to well-defined potential customers. Why? Because due to the high competitiveness, you will be meeting the needs of the sector you have decided to know in depth.
Increasingly, there are more types of hotels. It is no longer enough with the classical categories we mention before. Now there are hotels for a particular religious sector; for specific sexual preferences; for some cultural tastes (music, art, food...) or sports (fitness, various active sports...); for a specific generation or defined household, etc. Choosing one kind or another can make your hotel unique.
This will mark your hotel’s strategic positioning, the attributes of its products, even the sense of belonging of its employees. When you know what makes you different, you can redefine your brand as an entity and determine which new image is going to be projected.
Rebranding is an effort to create new policies, marketing strategies and visual identity. The latter involves restructuring all applications: in the hotel, its website, merchandising, etc. This is one of the most important elements. Most likely the user first encounter with your hotel’s brand will be visual.
It is the specification of the style, which must be consistent with the implementation of the other features of your hotel’s identity. So your communication must focus on explaining the positioning of your hotel in order to determine how its brand is psychologically conceived.
You cannot control image at 100%, because it depends on variables consumption trends. But you can control your hotel’s communication management. Be social. Please note all communication strategies from a close and personal perspective.
Your social media strategy, your email marketing strategy, your website’s blog, video marketing, etc. Everything has to be consistent with the new values that have been defined and should be aimed at those who will be your potential customers.
Secondly, one of the major problems of the hospitality industry, is that many chains aim their hotels at the same audiences. As you have seen, it is no longer enough to segment your audience, as this is increasingly demanding. Now you have to be more specific about who you are targeting.
Therefore, the second step is to define your potential customers’ profiles. For sure with your DDC strategy you have already determined the specific group you’re addressing to, to know how to manage your products and services to fully meet their needs.
Analyze the reasons why they would choose and you, what would they think about your hotel’s values and culture, their consuming preferences, how would they behave, how would they share their experiences, etc. Thus, it will be easier to create your potential guests’ profiles to implement all new marketing actions in order to get more customers.