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Brand matters: How independent hotels can stay relevant



Today’s AP Voice is written by Marketing Director, Vigneswaran Rajagopal.


In the 1970s, people on over average were exposed to about 500 advertisements per day. This may come as a shock, but many marketing experts estimate that today we are exposed to at least 4,000 advertisements per day. When I heard about this stat, I challenged the AP team to remember all the adverts we had seen that day and we did not come anywhere close to remembering 4,000, which suggests that most brands we encountered went straight into our subconscious.


In its Hotels 2020 report, global accountancy firm Grant Thornton reports that 48 percent of guests do not visit a hotel’s website before arriving at the hotel. Their purchasing decision to stay at a hotel is largely influenced by price and reviews posted on comparison websites. On the corporate front, many business travellers arrive at a hotel that has not been booked by them, meaning that they’ve had no engagement or visibility of the brand before they checked in. The frequent use of online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Booking.com is restricting brand recognition, and frankly, hotels are becoming less and less visible.


In this context, how does an independent hotel stay front of mind and relevant? How do they ensure that their brand is strong enough to compete not just with other hotel brands but in fact, with all the other brands that are fighting for space within a consumer’s consciousness?

These are five questions we urge all independent hotels to ask themselves to help ensure maximum engagement with their brand:


Which types of guests are you targeting? “For a 30-year-old booking a vacation, the brand won’t even cross their mind. But I think your more seasoned business traveller does care,” predicts Alvin Wade, National leader of hospitality & tourism, Grant Thornton US. You need to have a clear sense of who your ideal guests are so that you can craft the right messages to attract them.


What experiences are your guests looking for? Do corporate travellers like the centrality of your location? Do leisure travellers like that you’re a stone’s throw away from a hidden,

off-the-beaten-track beach? Do you offer an experience that advocates sustainable and

eco-friendly travel? When you’ve segmented your audience, you can then identify what makes travellers more likely to want to stay at your hotel.


What content/information is your audience looking for? Maybe your leisure travelers are wanting details about the best restaurants in town or the most perfect locations to practice photography. Perhaps the corporate traveler who just checked in is interested in where she can entertain clients or is looking for a place to relax after long day. Are your guests more likely to want punchy bits of information through videos and apps or are they the type to flick through a monthly magazine or newsletter for recommendations? It’s not enough to know who your audience is. You have to know what they are looking for and how do they want to find the answer.


What are your brand’s core principles and are you consistently communicating these? Often we see clients changing their brand because they feel it’s become stale or hasn’t gotten traction and is still unknown. But one reoccurring issue we see is clients being inconsistent with their brand or being too generic. If your hotel’s offering is luxury and class, then everything from the building’s facade and the decor of your hotel to the uniforms worn by your staff and the finishing touches in the rooms should echo that. Today’s guests notice details and they are quick to perceive any lack of consistency and authenticity by a brand.


Amistad Partners’ mission is to help our partners build direct relationships with their clients to ensure brand loyalty and repeat bookings. We support clients with sales and marketing, and we also have a number of brand consultants through our AP Gigs service who can advise our partner hotels on how to best activate their brands to reach their target audience. So do get in touch with us to discuss how we can help elevate your brand.

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