Hotels with a Renewed Branding Focus
Maybe you’ve noticed more hotels giving their image a facelift. Hotel rebranding is not a new concept, but some new trends are emerging.
Who is rebranding?
This September, the Best Western announced it would become Best Western Hotels & Resorts, have a new main logo, and introduce a new hotel brand that will live under the hotel portfolio called GLō. According to the hotel in a recent interview with Skift, this rebrand is an attempt to give today’s travelers more of what they want. Their new hotel line, GLō, will appeal to those looking for a suburban lifestyle hotel that’s within their budget. Another BW hotel that was previously announced, Vīb, targets urban millennials. Now, BW has seven brands to appeal to varying audiences “while still delivering on the brand’s core principles.”
This niche hotel brands trend is also something the Sheraton is exploring. Starwood Hotels, Sheraton’s parent company, is now encouraging local Sheraton hotel owners and managers to promote the local aspect of the hotel with Sheraton 2020. This is a drastic shift from hotels having to adhere to strict branding guidelines. The design of hotels will vary, depending on what local guests need or want.
Why rebrand a hotel?
Both of these major hotel chains identified issues, their audience(s), solutions, and goals that drove their rebranding efforts.
Deciding whether or not to take the steps necessary to successfully rebrand your hotel takes a lot of thought and resources. First, you need to ask why you’re going through a rebrand in the first place. Are you:
- Looking to reach a new audience?
- Wanting to change your brand perception from outdated to modern?
- Wishing to better serve your existing client base?
- Addressing issues with innovative solutions?
Think about what really needs to change at your hotel. Sometimes rebranding may be a part of the solution to your problem, but sometimes it might not be. You’re not just changing your logo for the sake of changing it. You’re trying to implement true change in your hotel. What outcome are you hoping for and whom are your trying to please?
How do you rebrand a hotel?
If you determine that rebranding is a fitting solution for your hotel, you need to determine how you are going to do it. How will you reposition your hotel successfully?
Get to know your audience
Start by researching your audience. You need to know what they’re looking for in order to deliver it to them. Perhaps your audience is meeting planners who are looking for a carefree planning experience. Or your customers may be millennials looking for experiential travel. You need to find out what will motivate travelers to stay with you. Then use your audience insights to craft your new brand.
Please all stakeholders
In addition to your customers, you’ll also have to please your internal audience—the executives, managers, and hotel staff. A rebrand is only going to work if all stakeholders are on board and ready to work as a team.
Create your action team
Find motivated individuals to take on essential roles throughout the rebranding process. Maybe even consider adding some new perspective to your team by choosing a few staff members that have close, personal interaction with customers. Rebranding is an opportunity to think outside of the box, and bringing new faces in can help you do this. Finally, document your plan of action and designate point people to follow through.
Keep staff on the same page
Throughout the process, maintaining good internal communication is crucial. You don’t want to leave hotel staff feeling uncertain. You’ll need them to continue to operate your hotel leading up to the rebrand. Plus, you want them to be your brand advocates once the new brand launches. Get them excited and communicate any new talking points so they know their roles inside and out.
What marketing pieces do I need to rebrand a hotel?
The marketing and communications materials you’ll need will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your rebrand. Post-launch, it’s important to mitigate customer and staff confusion. You also want your rebrand messaging to come through in all of your marketing collateral. Consider the following for your rebrand:
- New logo
- New/updated website
- New website content/blog posts to raise your rank in search results
- Update information on TripAdvisor, OTA sites, Google My Business, and other local search sites
- Search and display ads to help get the word out
- Email to customers who are currently receiving email communications
- Message to Facebook fans and social profile updates
- Networking with area businesses
- Any traditional advertising you believe will complement your digital efforts
Outside of marketing, you may also need to plan for:
- New hotel interior/exterior design to match your new brand image
- New hotel signs and print materials
- New technology, such as keyless entry
- Updates to internal practices and policies
- Updates to new hire training materials
- New staff for any new positions created as a result of the rebrand
In your plan, you’ll also want to evaluate what you can manage internally, and what you’ll need an outside resource to assist you with.
How will I know if my hotel rebrand was a success?
Even after rebranding, you’ll have to continue to evaluate your efforts. The hotel industry is constantly changing, and those who keep up are in tune with their customers and are always looking for ways to improve.
After launching your new hotel brand, you can use common hotel performance metrics to monitor your success. Or, you may want to email pre- and post-customer surveys if you wish to get customers’ views on how business is going before and after your branding.
Always monitor online reviews and guest comments regarding their stay. Ask your staff if guests are providing them with feedback as well.
Ultimately, you want to make sure you please the audience you rebranded your hotel for in the first place. And keeping guests satisfied takes constant effort—even long after your rebrand.