You’ve probably heard about branding and how important it is for corporations. But, as a hotelier, have you ever thought of your hotel as a brand?

Or maybe you already know how important it is to have a coherent image among clients and employees. That’s basically what we are talking about here. For the next few minutes you will find all you want to know about hotel and hospitality branding.

What is hotel branding?

Hotel and hospitality branding is not much different from a typical corporate branding. However, it has important differences that are mostly related to the sector a hotel operates in compared to other businesses. And by this, we mean aspects related to the target audience, messaging and visual identity among other things.

First, let’s start with the definition of corporate branding: it refers to the way a corporation presents itself in public and how it appears to its own employees and stakeholders. In the same way, a brand is a reflection of all the individuals related to it. 

In the hotel industry, as any other sector, branding is a really important aspect to take into account. It requires communicating your brand values, mission and ideas in a successful way to shape the impression consumers have of your brand.

Do you know the key to achieve this? Consistency. However, being consistent depends on defining a very clear philosophy and sticking to it. This will represent the values, mission, vision and identity that will resonate with people -from employees to customers-.

Building a hotel brand identity

hotel brand identity

Hotel brand is mostly about brand identity. In the hotel and hospitality world, competition is incredibly high so this is vitally important. Contrary to popular belief, competition in the hospitality industry is not only determined by proximity and price: Identity plays a key part in it as well.

Brand identity reflects what you stand for as a business, your mission and who you serve. It is the image, ideas and associations that come to people’s minds when they think of your hotel.

That’s why identity is not just your logo. Instead, it’s defined by:

  • Your visual identity
  • Brand voice
  • Messaging
  • The customer experience that you are able to deliver

Let’s see what each one means.

Visual identity

Definitely a big part of a brand’s identity, but often mistaken as the sole part of corporate identity. It includes aspects like the logo, brand colors, typography, images, etc, that need to be consistent in order to create a unified imagery.

In the hotel and hospitality industry, visual identity needs to represent what your hotel stands for and what you want to provide your guests in a visual way. Are you a luxury hotel? Maybe you should opt for clean and minimalistic lines, simple images and colors related to the values you want to portray. Or are you a family-focused hotel instead? Maybe the imagery should be more bright and kid-friendly.

Makes sense, right?

visual identity

Brand voice

Brand voice refers to the personality created for the brand. way brands communicate with their audience – either being guests, employees, suppliers or media agents -. Each brand has a different personality and that needs to be reflected in the way it communicates. That’s why this communication should be consistent regardless of the recipient and channel chosen.

There’s a difference between brand voice and brand tone. While brand voice refers to this personality we’ve talked about, brand tone is related to the emotions applied when communicating with the audience. Let’s see an example.

Imagine you are opening a new hotel building in a different location. The tone chosen to deliver this message is probably of excitement and gratitude, while still maintaining the personality of your brand in the message.

Messaging

Brand messaging, according to Hubspot, is “the culmination of language, design, events, and philanthropic efforts that tell the story of who your brand is”. While brand voice refers to the personality of your brand, brand messaging specifies how the messages are going to be delivered.

You need to determine what the core message that you want to deliver in your hotel brand is. What makes your hotel different? What are the main themes of your hotel brand and how do they apply in your message? Does your hotel have a slogan?

Customer experience

customer satisfaction

Delivering a customer experience that is unique to your brand is something that all businesses should do, including hotels.

In fact, in the hotel industry, customer experience is incredibly important. Hotels always strive to give the best guest hospitality to increase loyalty and drive clients to stay at the hotels again in the future.

The question is, what can you do to achieve this?

Things like personalization, offering special services or even having a simple and easy booking process, for instance, is something that impacts guest satisfaction and helps improve it. But most importantly, these kinds of actions need to be true to your hotel brand.

Branding in a nutshell: 7 steps to get hotel branding right

So, what are the steps for creating a strong hotel branding?

  1. Outline your hotel’s mission, vision, values and objectives. Aka, what you stand for and your brand goals, it’s the first step in developing a consistent brand image.
  2. Definite your target audience. It answers the question: who do you stand for? Knowing your potential guests is the first step for attracting them.
  3. Highlight your unique selling point (USP). This way, your marketing team can promote your value proposition to reach the right customers.
  4. Define your brand voice and messaging. You can create a chart that describes each trait of your brand or try to define it in a few words.
  5. Create a visual identity. Logo, colors, font, images… 
  6. Establish your hotel branding guidelines and style guide. These documents are the ones that guarantee total consistency when using your branding materials.
  7. Audit your brand. Make sure you measure and understand how your corporate identity is doing and how you can improve results.

In short, your brand identity should be unique to your hotel and what it stands for. By managing the different aspects of your hotel brand identity, you will be able to build a strong brand and position it.

Why is branding important in the hotel industry?

Hotel branding is crucial because it helps build customer loyalty, position the brand against competitors and represent the brand values and mission to your audience and stakeholders.

What are the key aspects to build a strong hotel brand identity?

To shape your own hotel brand identity, you need to build a visual identity, brand voice, messaging and create a customer experience that is true to your values and goals.