Usually, businesses stick with their brand, and they have to. If you are an established business, your customers associate your company or business with certain characteristics. These characteristics are collectively known as branding. Especially in the hotel industry, rebranding is a last-minute resort. Before, we explain the aspects to keep in mind before you rebrand your hotel, let us first understand the concept.
Hotel Rebranding - Introduction
When you rebrand your hotel, you change the entire look and feel of the property, and when you do that the "Brand Personality" of the hotel also changes. Brand Personality is all the characteristics a person associates with a brand.
For example, the Taj Group Of Hotels is associated with luxury, sophistication and class. Zostel is associated with fun, youthfulness and affordability. Hotel rebranding takes place when the hotelier wants to change as per the demand of their guests.
Reasons For Rebranding Your Hotel
Even though a risky move, there are many situations in which rebranding is feasible, and even recommended. Especially if your hotel is new, or not generating enough revenue and bookings, hotel rebranding might help you. If your property is in a “nothing to lose” situation, then you should rebrand your hotel if the risk and reward ratio is in your favour.
For example, you have a beach resort in North Goa. Due to some reason, guests don't book your property enough to make your business profitable. You wonder - “Why is it not working out”.
Then you realise - “What is the difference between my resort and my competitors?”. Then an idea comes to your mind - “Let’s make my resort based on a Mediterranean theme!” You then change the entire look and feel of the resort. The Voila! Your resort is now among the most unique and sought-after not only in your locality but in all of Goa as well.
Factors In Hotel Rebranding
Hotel rebranding is an interplay of various factors. Merely changing the look and feel is not enough. You need to take care of several formalities, legalities and strategies before you undertake your rebranding exercise. In the hotel rebranding process, you need to keep these factors in mind before you have decisions.
1. Brand Identity
Brand Identity involves everything that represents your brand. Name, logo, design and the elements that distinguish you from other brands are part of your brand identity. You will need to change everything if you are planning to rebrand, your logo, social media look, business card design, email design and so on.
Your customers, actual and potential, will not readily accept your hotel rebranding unless it is exceptionally good. When you rebrand your hotel, there can be a complete change in branding - from the name, design and logo, or a partial change i.e only in a few elements like the design and feel of the property.
2. Brand Vision
Dreams are beautiful. With the right vision, your dreams have a higher chance of coming true. This is where your brand vision comes into play. “Why do you want to rebrand your hotel?”, “How will it change your situation?” “Will it make your business profitable?”
After answering these questions, you will finally have a goal and target in mind. You will know exactly whom to target and how. This will make your hotel a profit-generating machine.
3. New Strategies
Now that the hotelier is changing the branding as well, you need to change your strategies accordingly. Your target audience will change, depending on how drastic the hotel rebranding is. Each market segment is different.
For example, if you were a beach resort before, and now you want to be a theme-based hotel, you will need to identify the audience that will give your theme-based hotel a try. For example, the younger crowd is more into experimenting and looking out for new experiences. When you rebrand your hotel, new strategies need to be adopted.
Now let us come to the least exciting part. Yes, there might be a name you have already thought of and want to use for your hotel. However, the last thing you want is to discover that the name was already taken by another hotel, and a civil case is awaiting you because you used that competitor's property.
That’s why you need to be careful when dealing with the legalities of branding. Ensure that you are not plagiarizing anything - be it the name, logo or design. And the moment you finalize your name and logo, you need to get it registered and trademarked.
In case any issue does happen, you need to have a legal team ready with all the documentation and proof. In that case, wish you all the best!
Aspects Of Hotel Rebranding
Before they begin the exercise of hotel rebranding, here are a few aspects you need to keep in mind. As aspects are essential pillars of your hotel strategy overall. Without taking care of these aspects, your hotel rebranding will lead to failure.
Even small mistakes can accumulate and lead to a disaster. Here are the 8 aspects you need to follow when you start to rebrand your hotel:
1. Target Audience
You are rebranding your hotel for a reason i.e to target a market segment. Who is that market segment? What do they want? What are its characteristics? How will you target them? These are the few questions every hotelier needs to ask themselves during the hotel rebranding process.
For this, you need to create a hotel guest persona. Hotel guest persona is a general outline of the market segment - their demographics, behaviour and more. With its help, you will formulate marketing strategies much more accurately and make their rebranding efforts more effective.
2. Keep Your Staff In Loop
Your staff are your biggest assets. You need to keep them in the loop before making any major decisions. Especially in a service-oriented industry such as hospitality, your staff can make or break your business.
You should treat your staff as a stakeholder in your company because the decisions you make affect your life as well. Before you go for something as major as hotel rebranding, you need to consider them.
Hoteliers should host a meeting with the staff and have a frank discussion with them about hotel rebranding. Ask them their opinions on it, how they feel about it, do they have any suggestions for names or strategies. Allow them to express an opinion, even if you may disagree with them.
3. Inform The Audience Early
Imagine you love a music artist. He is into hip-hop music. Suddenly, on Instagram, they announce that he will be getting into rock music. You will surely be annoyed at him for changing his music genre out of nowhere.
This applies to hotels as well. You may want to change your look and feel. However, you need to ask yourself - For whom are you changing your look and feel? For yourself or your customers?
You are rebranding your hotel for your guests, so you need to take their feelings into consideration. Even if you are confident in your decision, you need to inculcate that confidence in your customers too.
The best way to do so is to inform them long before you rebrand official. You can creatively use social media for teasing your new logo. You can also do a poll asking which logo design they like better.
4. Go Step By Step
Hotel rebranding is exciting, and you want to implement all the ideas you made formulated over a time period. However, as you cannot jump over stairs to reach the top floor quickly, you cannot rush into rebranding, because it can lead to accidents. For example, you need to first change what you know is not working. Like in the Mediterranean Themed Resort in Goa, you will not change the theme and name overnight. The first start with including some of the theme’s influence into the property, like using white and blue, and some Mediterranean-influenced decorations.
If it works well, you can then convert your resort into a fully Mediterranean based, like names and the entire look and feel. However, remember that you have to find the right equilibrium, for example, the guests may like some Mediterranean influence but will not be a huge fan of the theme itself. So mix, match experiment and find the perfect style.
5. Make Use Of Brand Managers
There is no harm in taking the help of experts in the field, especially for something as risky as rebranding. Any goof-up or blunder can finish your hotel for good. This is why you need good brand managers and experts to help you with the hotel rebranding process.
Rebranding takes a lot of time, however with external help, you will be able to complete the rebranding process much quicker and in a more organized manner. Without external help, hotel rebranding is chaotic.
6. Revenue Managers - The Key To Your Success
Revenue management is an integral part of your hotel. Without it, you will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to run your business and make it profitable. Revenue managers not only look at pricing, but they also look at other factors such as revenue stream, forecast demand, inventory management and yield management.
When you rebrand your hotel, you change these aspects to a great degree. It is the hotel revenue managers who will give you proper advice regarding whether or not it is a good strategy from a revenue perspective. That’s why you should work with revenue management experts.
7. Work On Your Budgeting
The budget is the heart and soul of any business. The hospitality industry is no exception to it. Your hotel rebranding will be a disaster if your budget is not in place. Without a budget, you will not be able to regulate what are you spending, how much are you spending, and how often are you spending on something.
This is especially essential for hotel rebranding. Without it, you will not able to understand the view costs of rebranding your hotel. Especially, if you go for an exotic theme, you will have to incur higher costs as well, especially if you will more amenities and expensive decorations and furniture. So plan accordingly.
8. Last But Not Least - A Legal Team
Hotel rebranding seems like all fun and some work, until you realise that there is a lot of work, and most importantly legal work. Whether it is your logo, new brand name, design, tagline etc, it is considered intellectual property and is protected by law.
Any mistake in legalities and you will have to meet a lawyer in court, with the risk of paying for civil damages. A better alternative to this? Meeting up with a legal team before you finalize your rebranding to get an expert legal opinion on intellectual property and the legal formalities of registration and trademarking. If an issue does arise, that legal team will help you in that case too!
By taking care of these aspects, you will be able to rebrand your hotel efficiently to make the most of it. Sometimes, you should play safe and sometimes, you need to take risks. A hotelier should know whether they should go for complete rebranding or they should tweak a few things here and there to improve the look and feel of the hotel.
Read our blogs to know more about the hospitality industry to understand the various hotel concepts, trends and problems (and how you can solve them).