Five Top Secrets for Successful Hotel Branding
By Jim Holthouser Senior Vice President Brand Management, Embassy Suites Hotels | January 08, 2012
Co-authored by John Lee, Vice President, Brand Marketing, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Worldwide
Creating and sustaining a brand is integral to successful marketing for all companies. Branding allows companies to establish a unique, differentiated identity for their products, while making them relevant to the desired consumer. Successful branding contributes to awareness, loyalty, affinity and in turn, a company's bottom line.
While creating a brand is a challenging process for all industries, in the hotel industry, branding presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Taking a brand identity from written text on a piece of paper and bringing it to life for consumers every day is even more complex when the offering is located in cities all over the country, a region or even the world, each with their own local cultures and personalities and many with different owners and management companies.
The sheer size of the domestic hotel industry – over two hundred brands boasting 51,000+ properties and over 4.8 million rooms (according to STR's census and chain-scale segments listing) – makes it even more important for hoteliers to find ways to make their offering stand out among the competition.
At Embassy Suites Hotels we developed a clear identity for the brand early on, and we bring it to life in every one of our 200+ properties located throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America. We recognize that a strong brand doesn't exist only in a marketing presentation or at company's headquarters, but rather lives and breathes in our properties, employees and guests. On the road to developing and sustaining our brand, we've learned a few things along the way.
- Know who your brand is and be comfortable with who your brand is not
An excellent exercise for any brand is to establish who they
are NOT. At Embassy Suites Hotels, we embrace that we are a full-service
brand and do not try to be a luxury or lifestyle brand, but instead strive
to own the full-service sector. To do this we've established brand pillars
that differentiate us from our competition. Embassy Suites is the nation's
largest brand of upscale, all-suite hotels. We require all of our properties
to have at least 80% two-room suites (as of recently, owners can choose to
develop 20% of their guest rooms as one-room suites).