How to Improve Brand Awareness of Your Hotel
Brand awareness is essential, it’s the result of promoting your hotel and making potential customers aware of your location, the services you offer and the benefits of booking with your venue. It’s how you measure whether people are engaging with your hotel and making bookings. When you ask yourself, “Do people know about my hotel?” your brand awareness strategy is what will give you your answer.
To create brand awareness, you need a dedicated strategy. It needs to involve taking the positives of both the services and experiences your hotel offers, and your company as a whole, and making sure your target audience is not only aware of them but thinks of them first when they desire that type of location or hotel stay.
Whether you’re using social media, offline formats such as magazines or flyers, your website or other tactics, the more focused and relevant your marketing is, the better you will perform and the more people will be aware of your hotel brand.
Increasing the awareness of your brand is vital, especially with more people looking online to make their booking choices and purchasing decisions. Whether your customers are typically day-trippers looking to eat in your restaurant, newlyweds honeymooning in your suites, families enjoying local attractions, or other types of guest – if they’re not aware of the services you offer as well as the rooms you provide, they will not book them or visit you.
So, what should you be doing to generate increased brand awareness in your hospitality venue? How can you attract more customers when there’s a wealth of choice and competition from independent accommodation businesses as well as other hotels? What are the best ways to manage your budget and get a maximum return on investment for your advertising and marketing campaigns?
Create a Strong Brand Image for Your Hospitality Venue
This may sound like an obvious and frankly basic place to start; but creating service packages and highlighting aspects of your venue that are appealing, encourage consumer discussion and enthusiasm – and can be successfully marketed is the cornerstone of building the brand image of your hotel or restaurant.
You cannot build a successful brand unless you have confidence and expert knowledge of the types of services, experiences and highlights that make your hotel the place to visit. If you don’t fully understand the goals and vision of your marketing, then you can’t expect your customers to understand or care either.
Firstly, you must take a long, hard, analytical look at your hotel – how is it better than your competitors? Does it have a unique selling point (USP)? What makes it stand out? Why should consumers trust in your processes, experiential offers, and room standards?
Then you need to turn this thinking on to your business as a whole:
- What makes you the venue to go to?
- How can you give your customers a superior experience?
- Why should consumers spend their money with you?
- What do you have that your customers need?
Once you have answered these questions, you have the beginnings of an actionable plan – these are the areas you should push and promote, this is the core of your brand identity.
A brand is not just the logo or name you give your hotel – it is the whole experience, enticing your audience with the whole experience they can expect at your establishment, selling it to them, and managing their expectations afterwards.
Using Social Media
The importance of social media and its ability to connect with your target audience should not be underestimated.
Having a social media presence is vital to getting brand recognition, building relationships, and ensuring that your customer service is running at optimal speed.
People trust customer experience, and word of mouth. This means of building a reputation is no longer limited to small audiences who have directly interacted as a customer.
Guests can now connect globally to discover what sort of offerings a hotel has available, how well they perform in real-world conditions, and what sort of experience the business gave them overall.
Across Social Media, over 1,000,000 travel-related hashtags are searched weekly.
Examining your customer data and locating the channels where they are most popular is the smart course of action; there’s no point setting up a campaign on one specific platform if the majority of your audience uses another.
The social media channels you use for your business are the mouthpiece of your company, they are often the first interaction a potential customer has with your brand.
Ensuring that they are updated regularly with appropriate content and managed correctly will give the first impression you want to give; after all, every piece of content you post on your pages will be someone’s first engagement with your company and you have a very short window of time to make a good first impression.
Maintaining a professional appearance and a bespoke voice will most likely engender trust because your audience becomes familiar with who they are speaking to, and associate these standards with your brand.
Optimise Your Website
Your website is an important focal point of your brand awareness campaign. You aren’t restricted by character counts or posting limits, and you can fully express what your company is about, the rooms you provide, optional extras you sell, what restaurant cuisines you have available, etc.
When a potential customer visits your hotel website, it should be immediately recognisable as your brand. It should also be quick loading, responsive, and easy to use. You don’t want to get a reputation as a brand who overcomplicates their processes or doesn’t provide guests with the information they need to make their decisions.
When you look at your site, you need to ask yourself – does it have the information your customer needs? Such as:
- Check-in and Out Times
- Accessibility Options for Disabled Customers
- Map and Local Transportation (such as buses, trains and taxis)
- Customer Service Contact Information
- Links to review sites or apps to allow your audience to see what others have thought of your product or service
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ) that answer questions in an easy to understand manner (without being condescending) and fully answer the customer’s query.
You want your guests to have a smooth experience that leads them from initial interest to booking, without forcing unnecessary delays or leaving the website. The more difficult you make it for a customer to complete their journey, the more likely it is that they’ll simply leave with a bad impression of your company, which will damage your brand image.
Competitions and Referral Programs
Competitions and referral programs are another way you can increase your brand awareness. They may cost a small amount to set up and maintain, but when handled correctly, can bring potential customers and increased sales to you as more people hear about who you are and get involved with your content.
Running these schemes can create dialogue, if you combine these elements with social media usage, you can reach a much larger audience; and with the use of a bespoke hashtag, you can generate a ‘buzz’ about your brand. It is also possible for the information to go ‘viral’ and reach an enormous range of potential customers.
Your campaigns do need to be closely monitored though, some individuals may try to piggy-back onto the brand, or alter the campaign out of mischief – and left unattended, this could cause ill will and a negative response to the brand.
It is especially important in a situation where a promotion is hijacked for the business to remain professional and approachable; explaining the situation, and possibly offering the original as an alternative could increase trust and respect in the brand as consumers see that your business is friendly and approachable, yet still reliable. This not only helps to keep your reputation from being tarnished, but it also shows potential guests that you’re a brand to be trusted and talked about positively, further increasing your brand awareness with customers.
By giving away a small amount, either regularly (as with a referral program) or infrequently (such as competitions), you could potentially encourage a larger amount of traffic to your site, and potentially increase sales as more people get involved and spread the word about your hotel.
Marketing PR – Get Yourself Seen
A good marketing strategy is essential for your hotel You need to make sure that it is your venue that customers are researching and booking with and that their experience is good enough that they leave positive feedback or reviews afterwards.
Marketing PR differs slightly from the general product-related push of ‘Marketing’ (although it tends to fall under the same umbrella) – this technique is focused not so much on the sales of the item, but rather the reputation of the company and other related aspects.
You want your customers to trust your company, you want to become a leading authority, where the name of your hotel is synonymous with positive experiences – this not only increases the awareness of your brand but improves the quality of that awareness, the more positive actions you’re taking and positive responses you’re getting, the more those attributes will be associated with your hotel.
Getting Involved – Other Businesses and Events
No company exists in isolation – from manufacturers and suppliers, to tech support and hardware, every company relies on other companies to function. Making use of these connections is another way you can boost your brand awareness, which can lead to better connections with suppliers and opportunities for your hotel to save money or offer new experiences.
Look to complimentary companies and see if they are open to working together, for example – if your hotel offers a selection of pillow upgrades, working with a manufacturer to promote your brand will highlight your company to their customers.
Reciprocal promotions can lead to an increased awareness in customer bases that you may not be able to appeal to alone.
What to Take Away from This List
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways you can increase your brand awareness, and how you choose to structure your strategy will depend on what you want to achieve, the time period in which you’re aiming to undertake it, and how much budget you’ve set aside for the task.
Increasing awareness of your brand is vital to stand out in an already crowded industry; how you conduct yourselves and the standards you hold yourself to will become the face of your brand.
Creating a strong brand and then increasing awareness will only work if you keep a consistent and professional approach. It has to be remembered, that once you put something out – there’s no getting it back again.
Leave the impression you want by ensuring your online presence showcases your hotel at it’s very best, offers value in all of its interactions, and shows customers that you really understand their needs.
If you need help with your Brand Awareness strategy, and the digital tasks related to its upkeep, our Experts are here to help. With decades of industry experience, in both marketing and working directly in hospitality, we know what you need to get ahead.
Contact us today and discover what we can do for your brand image.