Branding is challenging for many independent hotels, but it’s not impossible. Just because you don’t have a large budget or multi-person marketing team doesn’t mean that you can’t cultivate a signature independent hotel brand that’s loved by travelers. Here are a few simple branding tips to help you generate awareness, online and offline, for your hotel:
Craft your hotel’s online identity
A strong brand identity will help your independent hotel standout in crowed online communities, like Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor. When engaging online, use content that tells a unique story about your hotel and the guest experience. For example, if you cater to the business community, speak about aiding their productivity with powerful Wi-Fi and comfortable meeting spaces, as well as being a short distance from restaurants and bars that are great for networking and entertaining. The better the story you are able to tell about your hotel and the guest experience, the stronger its brand identity will grow over time.
Put your brand in your guests’ hands
After guests check-out, keeping your hotel top-of-mind can be a difficult task. One clever way to keep them thinking about your property is with branded products they can use at home. Independent hotels can use online vendors to order well-designed and useful items, like coffee mugs, water bottles, hats, t-shirts and tote bags, in small quantities and then sell them to departing guests. The goal of selling branded products is to increase awareness for your independent hotel, but the small bump in revenue is also a nice benefit.
Build your brand team
Every successful brand has a following of consumers who advocate on its behalf. Independent hotels should lean on their most loyal guests and community partners for support in developing its brand. For example, when guests check-out, invite them to share their experiences on social media so others can learn about your hotel. Ask returning guests for a photo and quote about why they love your hotel and use it in your marketing materials. Lastly, offer to cross promote neighboring businesses with your hotel and ask them to do the same in return. With guests and partners serving as your brand team, the word about your hotel’s reputation will spread fast and far.