I’ll let you into a secret that most marketers won’t tell you…
Guests don’t care about your hotel brand. Sorry!
It’s true, your logo, strapline and messages mean little to them. They don’t buy from you because of your brand values or see you differently to other hotels.
People are Fickle When Buying
They make purchases on a whim, and decisions based on how they’re feeling at the time. It’s about emotion, and not brand loyalty.
Dispelling Marketing Myths
This hard to handle truth is from scientific research carried out by Professor Byron Sharp and his team, featured in the book – “How Brands Grow” (2010).
He wanted to examine long-held marketing assumptions with the same depth that a scientist or academic would investigate a hypothesis.
Pareto Principle Exploded
Since the 1980s marketers have followed the Pareto Principle, and its 80/20 rule. The idea was that 20% of your loyal customers provided 80% of your sales; a universally held belief.
Sharp’s large-scale research exploded this myth. He found that 20% of a brand’s loyal customers provided only 50% of its sales at most and often much less…
New Custom Rules
Simply put: across sectors and different business sizes, new customers contributed more to long term sales and (unfortunately) “loyal” customers were not that loyal. For example, 72% of Coke buyers also buy Pepsi and Coke views a loyal customer as someone who buys its product just once a year.
The reality is – attracting new customers is more cost effective to your business and, in the long term, investing in purchase frequency is a financial waste.
All Brands Are the Same
Sharp’s analysis further illuminated that all brands lose customers at a similar rate, regardless of size.
But, brands with larger customer bases were not affected by the loss as much as smaller brands in terms of their bottom line.
Sharp called his unearthed truth, “Double Jeopardy”, and cited it as the key reason that any organisation needs to gain market penetration and grow its brand.
In Search of a USP
Other research findings showed that consumers don’t see brand difference. Hospitality and travel is a sector where this is particularly true; polygamist consumers buy emotionally and impulsively.
To a consumer, one four-star hotel is indistinguishable from another…both have rooms, dining, conference space and wedding facilities. There isn’t a unique selling point between them. So clearly, they need distinctiveness (in a good way!).
For any brand, standing out is tough. Why? It’s thought we could see up to 700 brands a day. In the 80s, we saw much (much) fewer and might’ve acted after seeing something three times. Now, its seven to 20 times. So… marketing needs to be consistent, constant and memorable.
Creativity, Disruptiveness and Great Advertising
Recently Kantar Millward Brown surveyed 3.6 million consumer interviews, about 122,000 brands in 51 markets, over a 12-year period and found that – brands perceived as creative but not disruptive grew their brand values by an average of 69%. So so – but a decade is quite a while…
However, brands that combined creativity, disruption and “great advertising” boosted their average brand values by a staggering 265%.
Marketing Reality for Hotels
To ensure new customers make their emotional purchase, a hotel needs to be “top of mind” and “physically available”.
In terms of physical availability, the brand needs to make the purchase journey as simple as possible for new customers so there is no excuse not to buy. With the above in
mind, your hotels needs:
• Constant marketing – continuously reaching existing customers and prospects
• A simple purchase journey – ensuring your brand is easy to buy and has clear benefits
• Get noticed – by creating memorable and distinctive brand assets
• Be consistent - respecting existing brand associations; if your logo is memorable don’t change it, simply refresh and rebuild memory structures with your customers
• Stay competitive – in a competitive market it’s important to keep your brand fresh and interesting