Why Online Brand Image is So Important in Hospitality

Having a strong brand image is essential for any business, especially in the hospitality industry.  It can be the difference between success and failure. Hotels need to make sure that they are creating an attractive and memorable image that will draw potential customers.

In this article, we’ll examine why a hotel’s brand image is so important and how hotels can create an effective branding strategy that will stand out to potential customers. We’ll also look at how hotels can use digital marketing tools and techniques to strengthen their brand image, allowing them to reach a larger and more diverse audience.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how important brand image is for hotels, and be equipped with some tips on how to create an effective branding strategy. ​

Why a hotel’s brand image is important

In today’s highly competitive hospitality landscape, a strong brand image is essential to attract new customers and retain loyal ones too. This is something that can only be achieved through careful cultivation of how you, as a hotelier, present yourself on digital channels.

The modern hotel traveler wants more than a comfortable room to stay in –– they want an experience that is unique and tailored to their needs. To make sure your guests have the best experience possible, they use online platforms to search for and book rooms quickly and easily.

As the travel industry becomes increasingly competitive, your company’s story is what will make you stand out from the sea of other options. Crafting, managing and marketing a credible narrative for your business has never been more critical. Hotel branding should not only aid guests in selecting one hotel over another but also generate unique experiences that will lure them back time after time.

In the modern world of technology, customers constantly interact with hotels through various platforms and channels beyond simply arriving or leaving a hotel. For this reason, it is essential that every platform has an identical representation of the hotel –– building customer trust as they experience their journey.

Benefits of an effective brand image

A strong, positive brand image can provide several benefits for you as a hotelier, including:

  • Increased customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Increased market share as customers is more likely to switch to a brand they feel positively about than one they have a neutral or negative perception of.
  • You will get the enhanced ability to charge premium prices.
  • Reduced marketing costs as customers are more likely to buy products that carry the hotel’s name and logo without needing much (if any) additional advertising or promotion.
  • You will be more able to attract high-quality employees who want to be associated with a successful brand.

Building your hotel brand image online

Creating a strong and cohesive brand image online is essential for hoteliers looking to remain competitive. With the right tools, you can effectively reach your target audience and establish a presence in the digital space. We’re going to look at a few areas that are particularly important when building your brand image.

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Use social media platforms

Social media has become an indispensable tool in hotel marketing plans. This is because the average user spends over two and a half hours daily on social media. Ensure that your platform of choice (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) is consistently updated and accurately reflects your brand image.

With social media you should be connecting with travellers and engaging them in meaningful conversations, which helps to nurture relationships. Use social media to showcase your hotel’s services, promote promotions and build relationships with customers and influencers alike.

Create a content strategy

Content is still king when it comes to digital marketing and hotel branding. Developing a content strategy with curated, relevant information allows you to tell your story and engage with customers in the most effective way possible. Content is a great way to share knowledge and expertise, as well as generate interest in your hotel services. Your blog posts should provide information that is useful and relevant to the intended audience.

Craft an engaging and unique story

A great brand story can immediately capture the attention of your target audience, making them more interested in what you offer as a hotel. It should be captivating enough to make them want to learn more and ultimately book with you. Your story can include the history of your hotel, the local culture, or a unique service that you offer.

Establish an authoritative website

Your website should be up-to-date and aesthetically pleasing, as this will give customers an idea of what to expect from your hotel. Your website should also be optimised to meet the needs of your target audience. This means that it should be easy to navigate, have relevant content and reflect your brand’s personality in its design.

Invest in search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is essential for helping customers find your website when they are searching online. By optimising your content with keywords, customers will be able to easily access your brand no matter where they are.

Utilise email marketing

Email campaigns are a great way to keep existing customers informed about promotions and other offers at the hotel. They should be tailored to individual interests, so that they don’t feel like just another generic message. For example, you could create emails based on customer preferences or past bookings.

Photography is key

Using high-quality photography to showcase your hotel’s best features can be the difference between customers booking with you or elsewhere. Investing in professional photography means that potential guests have an accurate representation of what they can

Engaging influencers

Another way to build a strong online presence is to partner with influencers that align with the company’s brand. Influencer marketing can be an effective tool for increasing visibility and generating more leads for your hotel. By leveraging the power of these influential individuals, you can expand your hotel’s reach and gain access to new audiences.

Creating a website

A website goes beyond simply giving potential guests information about getting to the hotel, the services offered, and room prices. Through smart design and creative storytelling, you can enhance your guest experience, engage customers with personalised experiences, increase visibility and reach more people through search engine optimization (SEO).

Optimising content, ensuring it’s up-to-date, responsive, and keeping up to speed with industry trends can provide great returns. Of course, digital marketing doesn’t always have to break the bank, but with a well-designed website made strategically by experts who understand hotels, you’re more likely to reap lasting rewards.

Expand your visual content 

Videos can have an immense impact on a website. By including videos of your hotel, you can heighten the customer experience and create a lasting impression. As customers scroll through your site, they’ll be able to get a feel for what it would actually be like to stay at your hotel.

In addition, such visuals offer your hotel the chance to strengthen their opinion and create a lasting impression; this is why incorporating good visual marketing into your output should be given priority.

Monitor your online reviews

The power of online reviews is hard to ignore. With most customers looking for online recommendations and reviews before making any purchase, it’s essential that hotels make monitoring customer feedback a priority. Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews on your social media platforms, websites and other third-party sites such as TripAdvisor. Doing so will not only give your hotel greater visibility, but also help boost your brand image.

Bad reviews, negative comments, and other online negativity can challenge any company trying to maintain a good brand image. So, you should always have a responsive customer service team that can quickly address complaints and resolve disputes.

By taking the time to build and strengthen your hotel brand image, you will be able to increase customer loyalty and ultimately, revenues. As customers begin to recognise your unique offerings and view your hotel as a reliable source of quality experiences, they will be more likely to book with you again in the future. The right branding strategy can make all the difference in ensuring your hotel stands out from the competition and drives customer loyalty. Investing in the right tools, tactics, and strategies will help you create a strong reputation that appeals to customers both online and offline.

Tips for managing brand image for your hotel

  • Develop a distinct brand that radiates throughout your hotel, providing guests with an immersive and unified experience.
  • Keep your website polished and current to ensure guests get the best impression of your hotel. Ensure it reflects who you are so they know just what to expect when booking with you.
  • Invest in visuals that convey the quality of your products and services by using top-notch photos for website content and other marketing initiatives.
  • Maintain a strong social media presence, and make sure all content is consistent with your brand image.
  • Train all staff members on how to represent the brand accurately and appropriately.
  • A customer’s bad experience in a hotel often reflects poorly on the brand. This is especially true if the issue is not addressed quickly and publicly. So, ensure a system to address customer service issues immediately and communicate with customers about the steps to rectify the situation.
  • Hotels should take proactive measures to prevent safety concerns from arising in the first place. This includes conducting regular safety inspections, training employees on how to handle emergencies, and providing guests with information on where they can find emergency exits and other safety features of the hotel.
  • Don’t be defensive if a bad review is shared online about your hotel. Acknowledge your mistakes and own up to them. People are likely to sympathise with you if you’re humble and apologetic.

In today’s digital world, a hotel’s brand image is essential for success. By creating a distinct brand that reflects your unique offerings and investing in visuals to give an accurate representation of the hotel, you can create a positive impression among customers and encourage loyalty. Additionally, maintaining a strong online presence and monitoring customer reviews will help increase visibility and boost your brand image.

Lastly, addressing customer service issues quickly and responding to negative reviews in an appropriate manner will help you maintain a good reputation among customers. With the right strategies in place, you can create a strong brand image that will make your hotel stand out from the competition.

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About the author

Kendra, the Marketing Content Manager at Preno, brings her expertise in Marketing and Communications to help hoteliers stay ahead of the curve. With a deep passion for the industry, she is committed to providing valuable insights and strategies for success.

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