Forming Lasting Connections: Transforming Your Hotel Brand into a Friend
By Mary Gendron Senior Vice President / Managing Director, Mower | June 16, 2019
Who and what do travelers trust when they are thinking about vacation planning, a quick getaway or a bucket list trip? The current universe of resources is legion. Friends. Family. Social media. Trusted travel advisors. Online review Sstes. Digital advertising. Sunday travel sections. Travel magazines. Influencers. Page one paid search results. Paid social .. Inflight magazines.
Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising Survey, conducted periodically, consistently reports that the highest percentage of influential information comes from family and friends. Yet almost 70% of consumers will trust the opinion of a total stranger – via an online review – more than paid messaging, such as advertising.
What should this tell us? A hotel or resort can truly gain a competitive advantage if it can engender trust in the marketplace. Trust is absolutely key.
Several years ago, we, at Mower, decided to take this idea of trust and really examine it. We commissioned University of Buffalo to conduct a study about the idea of friendship and the results were compelling, leading to an operating philosophy that has guided us ever since: Brand as Friend®.
Interestingly the study revealed nine scientifically proven drivers of friendship that ladder up to three primary tenets:
- Caring, Listening, Surprise = Affection
- Story, Style, Connecting = Relevance
- Honesty, Advising, Loyalty = Trust
It's a given that to be effective in the marketplace, brands should have a core message and vision. Mower decided to adopt Brand as Friend as a way for us to help bring this mission and vision to life, not just for our clients, but for ourselves as well. In recent years, we've upped the charge to the idea of being fierce friends. It's an evolution of the original concept. Let's take a look at the genesis of the study. You may be able to apply It to your own situation.