Staying true vs. selling out

September 5, 2019 | by hi-gloss

Have you ever compared a person’s online profile photo or food pictured on a menu to the in-person or real-life version? Well, your hospitality customers are always comparing their experience versus what your brand thinks it is creating. How do you maintain a consistent and inspiring brand experience while selling out? Yes, you read that right. Selling out is not a bad thing, it just means that hotel rooms are filled, restaurants and bars are buzzing with steady business. The challenge is selling out without diluting the soul of your brand, it is a tricky balance to strike. Let’s dive in.

Creating an Inspiring Brand

Starting with your brand’s persona, define how it should be born into a market of consumers who will constantly scrutinize and amplify – through social media – the experiences you intend to create. The focus should be to create an irresistible and inspiring brand. This goes beyond just stunning architectural designs, unique amenities, and mind-blowing ongoing programming. All those are important, but what is your hotel brand’s place in this world? Creating an inspiring brand takes into consideration the interests on its customer base. Inspired clients will often lead to loyal ones; never underestimate or take for granted the value of someone falling in love with your brand. Your goal is to create within your brand’s DNA, not just to hop on a cool trend within the social good space. Stay true to your brand’s persona while aligning your experiences with the customers who identify with what you stand for.

Telling Your Story

Unique distribution channel(s) is a must in this current mode of social media interactions and digital content consumption. Put the time in to research how your audience interacts with your brand and create authentic storytelling models and distribution methods to follow-up with viral and organic earned media. The best gift you can receive from your consumers is that of both positive and low star ratings; you no longer have to hire a focus group, it’s all out in the open. Now, what you do with this data is up to your team. Working across disciplines – from the finance department to your content marketing group – everyone needs to play a part in what story should be told. Once “what story should we tell?” has been decided, then leave it up to the skilled content creators to build something unique based on your brand’s messaging; this could be a microsite, digital magazine, social media campaigns, or a combination of any of these and more.

How to Stay True to Your  Brand

Selling out rooms and seats at the various amenities offered is the goal of every hotel business. The challenge is staying on-brand with every aspect of your operation. Promising in media (digital or traditional) and advertising yet not delivering, will always hurt you. Once your customers start talking about and sharing their experiences with friends and family, you will have to be ready for the impact. You will not please everyone – that is never the goal – however, you should certainly stay within the lines of your brand persona and give consumers the experiences you intended to create. Always staying on-brand without dilution. The need to fill rooms and drive traffic to your hotel can sometime force terrible decisions. Everything from poor marketing practices to cheapening your brand’s persona; it creates a diluted experience. This is why passing every decision through the filter of your brand mantra is important to this process of staying true.

Connecting with Your Demographic

Personalization in the age of digital marketing and analytics, makes it relatively easy to know and understand your demographic. Measuring interactions will help you shape outcomes based on customer experiences. Whether you use an opt-in method or not, you can collect and visualize the data for a true picture of your brand champions or haters. Once you truly understand your customer base, this will make a world of difference when it comes to how you craft your brand experiences and content creation for storytelling.

Direct Booking vs. OTA

Whether you are using a combination of direct booking and OTAs (Online Travel Agents) to drive sales, consider how you want your brand represented on each channel. The look and feel on your digital assets (website(s), etc.) versus that of your sales channel partners can affect brand perception. There should be consistency in messaging and presentation of content. Allowing direct bookings from within your own channel alongside your storytelling content can help to boost customer confidence to booking that reservation. Storytelling and content creation should strike a healthy necessary balance between sales and brand authenticity. On your direct channel, you get to control the narrative; use this is a competitive advantage.

However you go about developing your hotel brand, staying true to your brand’s persona, mantra, and customer experiences through great storytelling and content creation is a must.

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