With computing technology evolving faster than the very devices that house it, almost every industry has witnessed rapid growth online. Customers are taking to their mobile devices in larger numbers as the cloud platform continues to witness unprecedented growth globally. Hospitality in particular has been at the forefront of this growth – the rise of cloud technology has enabled independent hoteliers to build and promote their brand around the world.
Here are four simple steps that will help your property build its brand –
Every accommodation provider needs to present itself as a brand in order to survive in today’s highly competitive online marketplace. The first step to doing so is giving your hotel a unique theme. As surprising as it may sound, a simple and attractive logo can go a long way in boosting your property’s appeal – don’t skimp on this, it doesn’t take much time and needs little investment. Try to incorporate your property’s color theme in the logo, uniforms, vehicles, and all other public places. Although it’s hard to quantify its impact, subliminal cues like this will reinforce your hotel’s brand in the guest’s mind – developing association between the color scheme and your property. By giving the establishment an identity, it becomes easier for guests to remember the hotel and recognize it again.
2. Social Media
It’s no longer enough to just have a social media presence – being active and constantly engaging your guests is a critical part of the process. With their mobile devices and uninterrupted internet connectivity, today’s guests love to exhibit details about their trips on their social media channels. This is great advertising for properties, especially considering the fact that people are more likely to make a booking based on the recommendation of a friend.
Come up with strategies that encourage guests to keep snapping pictures at different parts of your property to ensure a constant flow of media on your channels – it’s not very hard to do, millennials love to share their experiences!
One of the most important aspects of building a brand is your hotel website. While properties do devote a significant portion of their resources to boosting their reach and driving traffic to the sites, the website design usually has room for improvement. It shows when a hotel has taken the trouble to set up a well-designed website. Remember, a large part of the branding process relies on connecting with guests at the cognitive level – a clean, visually appealing website creates a much better impression than a default template!
Site optimization and structuring is also important. Guests must be able to navigate between pages and find what they’re looking for with ease – if the pages aren’t well organized and take too long to load, they’re just going to complete the booking on an OTA.
A report from the International Telecommunication Union estimated 7 billion mobile devices by the end of 2015 – a trend that has been gaining momentum with every quarter. Smartphones have effectively replaced tour guides and the hotel concierge service. Guests today can book their room, arrange transportation and even unlock the door from their mobile device! Within these dynamics, it’s unthinkable for hotels to ignore mobile compatibility – ensure that your hotel’s website, booking engine and all other channels are well optimized for mobile devices.
Branding seems to be taking centre-stage in the industry today as soft brands, OTAs, hotel chains and now even independent hotels begin to spend more money on this avenue. Building a brand is an ongoing process and can take years to establish. But with competition in hospitality intensifying every year, it provides hotels with a secure long-term strategy to attract guests.