In an earlier Recoleta blog, we touched on the issue of how hotels represent themselves. In the cases given, we looked at how hotels consider their staff’s uniforms in the way that they present the brand. With many companies placing an emphasis on the way that the way they market themselves as brands through the contact they have with visitors even more so than the way they promote themselves through different media channels.
Customer Impressions as Part of Branding
For the luxury hotel market, there are specialist organisations who train staff in etiquette and behavioural traits, known in the trade as part of their ‘soft skills’. This impression is holds a great deal of impact for hotels, we all know that they live on reputation, and a lot of this is word of mouth. After all, we’re more likely to trust a friend or colleague who has favourable comments to make about a hotel than a traditional advertising campaign, towards which we tend to hold more cynicism. This interesting piece from Inquirer.net looks a little at some of the reasons that typical advertising and marketing methods are being treated with more cynicism and why other kinds of endorsement, PR in particular have grown more trusted. With this in mind, getting details of customer’s first hand experience right, is a sensible investment for hotels. An impression of refinement and quality can be relayed by satisfied customers many times over. Adverts might lie, but the customer is always right.
Away from the immediate customer experience as a channel of marketing, the visual language of hotel marketing is more varied than you’d think. As we might expect, the typical sun, sea and sand approach is the go to option for many hotel and holiday chains, such as Thompson’s and Jet2holidays with their seemingly Vampire Weekend inspired soundtrack. But brands in different areas of the market have used different methods to extol their virtues and different channels as well.
Some Hotel Marketing Campaigns in Focus
As highlighted in this piece different campaign focuses have been showcased by different tones and styles of marketing campaign from a variety of hotel chains. The Little Things Project was a campaign from Hilton, who encouraged engagement with customers on social platforms to discuss the ‘little details’ of their hotel stays, including complementary cookies on arrival at the hotel.
In this article we can see Holiday Inn’s stunt of turning their breakfasts into emojis. Not only is this a very accessible campaign, but it is designed to highlight the included breakfast options, showcasing the value they offer for the price of a stay. They know this is a channel and a message that their demographic will respond to. A different message from the Hilton group, who focus on small details which can make holidays, perhaps in order to try and distance themselves from their corporate image in an industry in which the personal touch of the boutique hotel is growing business and the larger players are having to rethink their image.
Marketing a hotel is more than just creating a good impression then, but about building a very particular one. We can discern plenty about a hotel from the way it tries to present itself, and a hotel or guest house needs to focus not just on awareness, but on the brand of their hotel, their audience and what messages they’re going to be persuaded by.