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Interview with Peter Hales, Managing Director, on Brand Management
How do you establish your brand personality? Should you base your brand on the hotel style or vice versa?
Whether you are creating a new brand or refreshing an old one, the first consideration is the same. Look at your building and location, who is the target market? Are you planning to invest in hotel to increase room rates or occupancy? If so, your target market may change.
The personality of the brand is then built on the basis that you want to over deliver the expectations of the target guests.
When selecting a brand that is already established the same initial considerations are key. In addition to this, the pre-existing brand personality becomes a factor.
Once you have established your brand personality, how do you incorporate this into the everyday running of the hotel? (Staff, customer experience etc.)
It’s all about the team, they bring a brand to life and make it real for the guests so you need to consider how the personality of the hotel is brought to life through every interaction with your guests. Set what is expected of staff and clearly communicate how they should interact with guests. Give your staff the empowerment to be able to react and, through constant observation, try to catch them doing the right thing and reinforce this behaviour through appreciation and recognition.
How do you measure the success of your brand management?
From guest feedback, every guest is now a critic with a global reach in seconds through Trip Advisor and other review sites. There is also the option to have a post stay guest questionnaire which gives a detailed and structured view on how the hotel/brand is delivered including the personality.
We use a program called Trust You which gathers guest feedback from all sites and tracks sentiment. Constantly reviewing this feedback, calling the guest for further insight and picking up on trends will help you decide what actions need to be taken to further build that personality.
If you could give three tips to improve brand management, what would they be?
- Set your expectations through clear standards of behaviour and by sharing great examples of others bringing the personality to life.
- Communicate to your staff what is required of them, coach the team and recognise and reward great performance.
- Listen to the guest and keep asking them whether you are on the right track and where you can improve.
What are the most common mistakes you see when it comes to brand management?
It is your staff that will bring the brand to life, and it is the nature of business these people (at every level) will move on at some point. It is important not to underestimate the impact this will have on the team, especially if it is the senior leader who leaves.
When people leave, make the remaining staff aware of what impact this may have on the hotel and its brand.
It is equally important to share the focus and personality of the brand with new staff when they join the team.
Communication is key.
Do you have any real life example of brand management done well?
There are some great examples of brands being brought to life in the hotel industry, companies like Citizen M are doing a great job. They have an imaginative recruitment process (holding casting days for new recruits when they launch a new hotel) and continue to set staff expectations appropriately so the whole team is on brand.
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