Developing standards for your hotel’s brand is arguably one of the most difficult parts of growing the business. Without a doubt, a major part of the problem is that new companies don’t take the time to clearly define what their brand actually stands for specifically.
Is your brand’s value proposition something like a comfortable night’s stay at a fair price? Or is it something more along the lines of luxury accommodations, exclusivity, and room-serviced Dom Perignon after midnight?
Well, why not both, some hotel brands say? And therein lies the problem – because a hotel can’t appeal to every single market segment and demographic at once.
Choices have to be made as to what values and messages you’re trying to express to consumers in the hopes of attracting and retaining their business.
So, to clear the air about what hotel brand standards mean, we’ll go over the essentials to give you an idea of how they apply to hotel technology brand standards as well.
What are brand standards?
In marketing-speak, a brand is what your target consumers believe – and more importantly, what they feel – about your company overall. It doesn’t have to be a physical product because service-focused companies also have branding aspects.
We know that’s a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo from a layman’s perspective, so let’s give you a quick hypothetical example to put meat on the bones.
Let’s say that you order a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets at McDonald’s, but the restaurant serves them to you crammed in a container meant for French fries instead. Sure, the tell-tale red sleeve is just as ergonomic because you can still eat the nuggets one by one, right?
Well, the answer is no because we all expect McDonald’s nuggets to come in the same iconic box with those beautiful golden arches emblazoned across the top – not a pouch for fries with nuggets shoved inside.
Thus, a significant standard for McDonald’s brand is fulfilling customers’ expectations with a consistent quality of food that literally looks the same no matter which location you visit.
Why do we have brand standards?
So, the next question is this: why do brand standards count in the first place? The answer is that brand standards are your north star when consumer behaviors shift, and their expectations change along with them.
The idea is to give every customer a consistent experience whether they visit one of your hotels on the west coast or the east coast. Indeed, your brand standards ensure that they will have a similar experience across the board at any location.
How do you create brand standards?
Still, you might be wondering how to create brand standards, and there isn’t a simple answer aside from this: you have to know what your customers want in the first place and tailor your brand standards accordingly.
For example, do you want your brand to appeal to travelers looking for a bargain on a short, two-night stay? Or do you want to narrow down your focus to travelers looking for extended stays over several weeks?
Do you want convenience to be a value proposition? Or will you join the self-service trend in many hotels across the country?
All of these questions are perfectly legitimate, so the most efficient way to start creating brand standards is to ask as many questions as possible about what your target consumers want.
How do you maintain brand standards?
Developing brand standards is one thing, but maintaining those standards several years down the road is another aspect entirely. That’s because consumer attitudes, spending habits, and sense of style all change over time, yet many new hotel brands don’t appreciate this fact, especially when upgrading technologies.
So, one way to maintain brand standards is to put them in writing and audit accordingly at each location you operate. You may even want to consider making these brand standards part of your contractual arrangement with franchisees, which many brands already have in place.
Similarly, you have to hold hotel managers and franchisees accountable to the brand standards because one negative experience can make guests think twice about recommending your hotel over a competitor’s hotel.
In other words, the best way to maintain brand standards is to care about your guests at a personal level and offer service genuinely and with authenticity because you can’t force consumers to perceive your brand the way you want them to see it.
You have to earn their loyalty by following through on what you promise them and going above and beyond what they anticipated.
What are hotel brand standards?
Overall, that’s a simple definition of what brand standards are and why they’re important, so how do brand standards apply to the hotel industry?
Honestly, brand standards are a significant part of the formula for financial success at any hotel, especially now that travelers are once again booking stays after a year-long hiatus.
The tricky part is identifying which standards work and which you can either do away with or retool.
For example, the design of a hotel itself and the room dimensions can be a brand standard if you want to get down to the finest details of a guest’s experience. A subtle way some major brands have done this is to specify a standard for the placement of electrical outlets.
In other words, it’s not an accident that the electrical outlet next to the bed is just in the right position and at the right height to place your smartphone next to the table lamp while you charge the device.
What are hotel technology brand standards?
Along those lines, when it comes to hotel technology products, it’s all about integrating services to enhance a guest’s experience.
You may choose to promote that your hotel has free WiFi, but will guests be able to connect to the network from any room? Suppose you only invested money in a single 5 GHz router in the lobby that automatically serves IPs to every device. In that case, your WiFi will be slow and unusable in the real world, the world of a guest’s experience.
Another quick example of a hotel technology brand standard is the ability to check-in and check out via a smartphone application. But is it beneficial to all guests if you only build an app for iPhone and not Android? We think no is the answer, and things like this give hotel technology a bad name.
A last example of a hotel technology brand standard is the specific hospitality TV a hotel chain chooses to use for its guest experience. There are many to choose from, and every brand has its own standard specific of TVs and models.
Ultimately, the groundwork you lay early on when you develop your brand will inform you how to integrate technology into guest services without compromising your brand’s values. If you do it right, your technology can be a boon for your brand like you never expected.
Do you have any questions about hotel tech brand standards or hotel tech products? Reach out to our team of experts directly. We’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.