Hotel brand development for millennials

Revolutionizing the hospitality industry, millennials are craving unique experiences. Boutique hotels, renowned for their intimate atmosphere and personalized luxury, continue to captivate the world with their customizable offerings. Increasingly, travelers seeking intimacy, grandeur, and a one-of-a-kind experience are choosing the boutique hotel experience for their journeys. Millennials, too, are disrupting the industry by demanding unique experiences while traveling and being highly discerning about where they spend their time and money. As travel becomes more about the experience, these travelers are searching for culturally immersive and intimate encounters that allow them to share their journey on social media. Boutique hotels have emerged to meet this demand, seamlessly blending these experiences with the comforts of everyday life and convenience.

Due to their popularity, boutique hotels must now find ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. Establishing a strong brand and effectively conveying brand messages is crucial in creating a niche within the market. Here are strategic steps that hotels can take to cultivate a robust brand among potential customers.

Step 1: Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
As a boutique hotel, ascertain the key aspects of your property and services that set you apart from competitors. For example, a uniquely-renovated property in the heart of Paris can provide a taste of Parisian culture while offering the comforts of a home away from home. Highlighting this differentiation will allow guests to experience a unique culture without compromising on comfort. Incorporate this key feature into your property's branding. It is important to consider where you want your brand to be positioned in the future when making branding decisions. Identifying your future goals will ensure that all marketing decisions align with your ideal end-game.

Step 2: Define your target customer
Envision your ideal customer and tailor your brand accordingly. Are you targeting backpackers or luxury travelers? Would you like to attract millennials or corporate clients? Keeping your customers in mind will help create an experience centered around your target audience. Additionally, consider the geographical location. Will your brand cater to local customers or have a global reach?

Step 3: Develop Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is the process of establishing your brand in the minds of your customers. It differentiates your brand from competitors and creates recognition and awareness among your target audience. Effective brand positioning relies on four pillars: energized differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge. Start by highlighting your brand's unique offerings and differentiating it from competitors. Then, recognize your customer's needs and demonstrate how your offerings cater to them. Build esteem by staying true to your brand and delivering on your promises. Finally, foster knowledge about your brand by effectively communicating your messages and building awareness.

Step 4: Craft your Identity
Your brand identity encompasses all the elements used to portray the desired image of your hotel to consumers. It relies heavily on a clear and defined brand positioning statement that reflects your brand's promise. A brand promise extends from your brand's positioning and is realized through the delivery of the brand experience to your target audience. Throughout the years, hotel chains and individual properties have leveraged a strong brand identity to communicate their unique experiences. For example, W hotels have shaken up the traditional perception of hospitality with their ultra-chic lounges, design-led architecture, and vibrant colors, specifically targeting millennials. When introducing Zabeel House, a division catering to millennials seeking local experiences, Jumeirah Group, known for their opulent offerings, captured a trendy and urban feel for their newest venture. Aman luxury resorts provide another exceptional example of building a loyal customer base solely through brand positioning. Renowned for their ultra-premium service, luxury amenities, and high-profile clientele in the world's most exotic locations, Aman has cultivated a cult following by remaining unbranded and exclusively focusing on providing unparalleled experiences.

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