While the majority of individuals are consciously or subconsciously very selective regarding their clothing and technology brands, the same is certainly true when it comes to hotels. So if a person decides to wear Diesel jeans, a Swatch watch and shirts from J.Crew, which hotel will he or she sleep with? A hotel is a consumer brand like any other and should as such be at the forefront of people’s brandscape (brand + landscape).
Car companies such as Mercedes know that marketing needs to start way before someone actually chooses to purchase a car. The same is valid for hotels where it is key to plant the seed of desire repeatedly at an early stage and across different channels in someone’s mind. As such, it is crucial to cultivate a brand with a clear purpose that has the ability to create relevant awareness and transpire a sense of being, reflecting the aspirational self-image of its core customers.
What does this call for, possibly simply a good bedtime tale? The key is to have a strategy that covers all aspects of a company and turns a quality product into a bestseller, one that aligns a hotel’s physical assets, it’s operations as well as relevant communication channels.
Similar to the episodes of an ongoing series, a hotel should never stop crafting the stories around its DNA. It is certainly not enough to define standard operating procedures once and distribute these across all your properties; there has to be a continued and active management of your brand universe based on your reason of being and this requires a culture of coherent creation, not necessarily standardisation.
In 2007 Starwood’s brand Aloft was one of the first real life hotel chains to prototype their launch concept in Second Life (an online virtual world) before constructing their first property. This allowed them to create a product relevant to their customer segment, but beyond this, it was a fantastic story that managed to engage potential guests early on, increasing chances that someone would make an actual booking upon opening of the hotel.
When Netflix launched a series called “Chef’s Table” in April 2015, Google trend analytics for featured chefs such as Francis Mallmann and Massimo Bottura skyrocketed. The story revolving around these chefs’ personalities, not merely their food products, is portrayed in such a compelling way that the viewer can only but desire to know more about their offerings. The stories are loaded to show their compassion for their craft.
Lifestyle hotel company Ace recently ranked among the UK CoolBrands Top 20 list. While being ranked amongst companies such as Apple is in itself is a great achievement, it is of particular relevance as it reflects how Ace managed to penetrate the brand universe of less obvious hotel consumers. It is a hotel that has managed to transcend into a true lifestyle company. Ace makes great stories, not least after partnering with Converse and launching a pair of Ace hotel-labelled leather high top sneakers.
These are but few of many possible ways to continuously and creatively nurture the narratives around your organisation in a relevant, attractive and meaningful manner. And hey – the year has just started, so be sure you get those bedtime stories for an enduring creative evolution of your hotel company and continued growth.
About the author
Anil Varghese is the Business Strategist for Creative Supply, a firm that blends design and technology with business and supplies creative solutions to transform organisations that have an appetite for growth. Based in Switzerland, Creative Supply brings together on-demand professionals from around the globe to drive results across industries.
Anil has an international business background from École hôtelière de Lausanne and operational experience in luxury hospitality management. Working in consulting over the past five years Anil acquired a strong acumen for strategic business problems. While at PwC his focus lied in particular on hotel and real estate clients ranging from boutique to big international hotel operators, owners and developers. As a co-founder Anil also successfully set up and established YHS Global, what today is a known industry event for leading hospitality schools.
Entrepreneurial at heart Anil actively nurtures a strong sense for the aesthetics in all aspects of life. He is an adamant believer in the power of design and creativity when it comes to unleashing business growth. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.