Over the past year, we have seen major changes in major international hotel groups with mergers, acquisitions and new brands. I can not wonder how much the brand landscape can continue to grow in this way as the customer seeks a more personal and original experience.
The big global hotel operators have dozens of logos on their websites, each tuned in a different way to a different audience, for a new market: a younger audience, a more mature audience, the discerning traveler, the emerging world, world domination Local Spirit, the Business Road Warrior, fitness and lifestyle junkie, boutique, social, couples, groups, families, millennials and generation Z. You get the idea. If a brand does not quite fit the newest person, another brand comes along that shakes the market.
To put it bluntly, international hotel chains have for many, many years built up fantastic platforms and infrastructure that give each of their brands a voice. They've built loyalty initiatives with tens of millions of guests connected to a dynamic CRM tool. Points, miles, and upgrades make them heard. They have built boxes in every major city and at every airport. They have technology budgets to bring their eyes to the water and develop proprietary systems to gain competitive advantage. They have cool open-plan offices with hundreds of people analyzing statistics and social listening. It is a successful formula.
For hotel owners and operators, the question arises to what extent the scale development of hotel brands with monolithic systems is the answer of choice for the customer. It clearly works for some, as global examples show, but they could also be discovered differently than driving on the highway of the mark.
At Roomzzz, we do not build a global institution or strive for global dominance, at least not yet. Roomzzz Aparthotels was born in the UK 12 years ago without a big benchmark. There was a vision of guest experiences, great design and service, with intuition for the unfulfilled opportunity. We have a great family history and have developed our story for a purpose. The brand has evolved from an honest and sincere spirit of adventure. So, what will it take to attract attention and stand out from the crowd?
Brands talk big or small. A brand is not just one hundred hotels in ten different countries with a standard manual that is five volumes thick. Your independent, standalone property can find ways to communicate in words and images to really differentiate yourself from the crowd and develop an identity that brings the customer to them.
A brand is probably the most complex decision, if not the most expensive, decision you need to consider for a new hotel or a repositioned property. Joining a large brand network involves significant costs to access the large audiences that the groups maintain. Alternatively, developing your own brand or identity could be a game changer, and there are many examples that stand on their own two feet in the wonderful world of hospitality, with a unique approach that makes them what they are and measurable Achieve success.
The point here is that you need to find your track. What do you do? What do you do that nobody else does? More importantly, what do your guests want to say and remember about you? Let us focus on standards and experience. Develop a message and a story that makes sense. Then the company needs to find as many ways as possible to tell that story, keep it up to date, and develop the momentum and consistency that drives the brand. You may want to talk about the service you provide – what makes it different?
Perhaps you would like to talk about the facilities you offer and the benefits that your customer has? And what about price, location, package or standards? Who do you want to reach and what should they learn about you? The best experience is combined with the phase of the customer center. from booking to arrival, throughout the stay and beyond. Let your standards, your brand, your team and your marketing unite the whole and you are one step ahead of the others.
If you want to stand out from the crowd in 2019, you need to connect to your audience. Do you have a real purpose for what you do and how you communicate. Create a compelling story that will love and feel the guests they can experience. Big brands make a lot of noise, but it's not necessarily the volume everyone hears. Today's consumers want to hear a song, a good melody, a fantastic chorus. Your brand has the opportunity to sing your own tune in the digital, connected world of today and to hear it in a very different way than the white noise and the blur of other brands. Make sure your marketing is consistent across the variety of channels available: digital, print, TV, radio, social, PR, B2B sales.
One last thing. Speak the conversation. You believe you have done your part, built your business, marketed well in the world and have a very original, genuine and engaging experience! What makes the difference and brings you the attention and success you deserve? In this transparent, agile and data-rich world in which we live today, customer sentiment is a true distinction. The most important way to tell what you are doing is to get your customers to shout about it.
Nothing is more valuable than guests highlighting your brand and USPs on social media and review pages. Reputation is powerful. Work hard, celebrate success, and take your team on a journey so that it is as important to you as it should be. So you stand out from the crowd and really find your own space in which success is assured.
By Robert Alley, Chief Operating Officer at Roomzzz Apart hotels