How Hotel & Vacation Brands Build Brand Awareness in a Digital World
People that are traveling have multiple options when it comes to choosing a hotel to book. According to a 2018 study by Cornell University, it was found that the brand of an independent hotel or vacation rental, as well as chain or franchise hotels, was a more reliable indicator of the online reputation of a hotel rather than star classification or chain scale. In order to keep their reputation high among guests, hotels must set realistic expectations and deliver on the services expected by guests. They need to let guests know what they can expect in the way of amenities and services when they arrive at the property. Happy guests are excellent brand advocates that promote and market the hotel through the sharing of their enjoyable experience at the hotel. They share their experience by writing online reviews and posting photos from the hotel, and the amenities surrounding the hotel, on social media and their blogs. If the hotel falls short in the guest experience arena, they need to carefully respond to the situation to brand the hotel as being responsive and concerned about the guest experience. Hotels can also use positive feedback in sales and marketing campaigns that showcase what makes guests happy and how this sets the property apart from the competition. Effective hotel and vacation brands know how to build loyalty and increase revenue for bigger profits.
Hotel & Vacation Resort Brand Building Advantages
Here are a few of the advantages to hotel and vacation resort brand building:
- Capitalize on branded experiences to beat the competition – When guests book a room at a hotel, they expect more than simply staying in their room and going to the pool. Hotels of all sizes are jumping on the branded experience bandwagon. An example includes Wyndham Hotel Group using their loyalty program to send loyalty members on one-of-a-kind branded experiences such as a street food tour in Mexico City and a Shanghai cooking class. These exclusive loyalty perks brand the hotel chain as one that values and rewards its loyal guests with experiences, they can’t get anywhere else.
- Customers can easily understand what your brand represents – Resort brand building includes creating a tagline that tells guests everything they need to know about what the hotel offers them. Renaissance Hotels tell guests to “Relax. You’re at Renaissance.” while Homewood Suites advises guests to “Make Yourself at Home.” Lakeshore Hotels invite guests by letting them know “We love having you here.” Each of these branding taglines are well defined and show what guests can expect in terms of how they will be welcomed at the hotel.
- Get customers to represent your brand – Social media has made the sharing of photos and experiences an everyday occurrence. Forward-thinking hotel and vacation resort brand-building efforts give guests branded experiences and photo opportunities that they want to share with others while reliving their experience at the hotel property.
- Give brand advocates a reason to be brand advocates – The digital team at hotels and resorts is not a separate operation from the marketing staff. These teams should work together to identify exclusive branded experiences available at the property as well as finding ways to educate brand advocates about what they can expect to receive. Once the branding promise is delivered to brand advocates, they will want to share their positive experience with others.
- Branding is more than products and services – Hotel and vacation resort brand building involves all aspects of a hotel property. From products and customer services to the hotel tagline and sales and social media, successful branding takes the elements of a hotel and puts them together to form a customer experience that is not confused with or mistaken for, any other hotel chains or properties.
Hotel Photo Management & Distribution Couldn’t be Any Easier
Hotel photo management was easy to manage in the past. Guests in search of a hotel to book would simply look at the website of the hotel to see photos and information about the property. The photos mainly focused on the hotel and not any of the surrounding areas or attractions. Hotel photo management and distribution industry has changed over the years as OTAs such as Expedia, Priceline and TripAdvisor provide information and travel deals to those looking to book a trip. Hotel management has embraced these websites by sharing high-quality images to thousands of websites using content management and distribution system.
Look for software that will automatically update all the OTAs with your curated images, added meta tags and room types. Choose software that will provide you with a visual content score to tells you HOW well your hotels or vacation rentals are presenting visually on the OTAs. Once you have software in place to curate all of your images, you can have this software deliver the same images back to your brand site or booking engine.
Michael Pardo is the Senior Vice President of IcePortal, a Shiji Group company.