For anyone who plays a role in the corporate branding of hospitality and leisure, be that a single venue or a portfolio that spans the globe, this article will prompt taking a moment to check if your asset still resonates with your target audience.
Is your brand relevant? What does 2020 mean to your strategies and budgets?
Subtle shifts in the zeitgeist for today’s consumers will quickly gain momentum and failing to keep up can be costly to larger corporate hospitality brands. Little tweets about a brand discovery can evoke a backlash against a brand if the consensus is that you’ve missed the mark.
What’s important to consumers as we move towards the twenties?
- Low and No Trends gaining momentum
- Health and Wellbeing remains high priority
Small mentions become customer expectations at a much faster pace in today’s market, compared to even two or three years ago.
Low and No Trends
This sees us moving away from overindulgence. Drinking alcohol is less fashionable for younger audiences today, with alcohol consumption dropping since the first time since recordings began.
Healthy choices in foods are moving us away from meat towards plant-based diets. Dry January and Veganuary are two telling signs that the future has arrived. As a brand, you’ll need to build this into the food and beverage offering. Craft beers and small batched ales from local breweries to cater for those who do drink; it may be drinking less but also drinking better.
Cocktails or Mocktails, Meat or Veg? It’s not abstinence. It’s mindful, it’s moderate, it’s choice and a voice. What is on offer speaks volumes about our brands. To encourage consumer loyalty, provide choices and the experiences they want, or risk that they will leave to find brands that ‘get them’, and are more aligned with their values to support their choices.
Health and Wellbeing
More likely to be in the gym than at the bar, guests are already making healthier choices, seeking experiences that bring a positive impact on their health. To satisfy the lifestyle choice and make this work in a commercial sense, you’ll need to meet the needs of the business experientially.
Juice bars exploring interesting blends, mocktails, nonalcoholic treats, lighter options and super foods offered as standard, amidst a menu that can be easily adapted for customer preferences. Let’s face it, if people don’t want an element of the dish, a substitution will help to save food waste.
Maybe offering yoga on screen, as an in-room option. Mindful moments, mood music and a way of controlling the ambience in the guest room, could all be considered good for health and a more conscious experience, rather than watching TV.
Working towards sustainability has to go beyond persuading guests to use the towels again! Slippers that will never be used, leaflets that are never read, sewing kits that will be taken yet never used are all wasteful. It’s only sensible to question if these objects serve a real purpose. Less is more; today’s consumers value experiences over objects. Straws and other single use plastics place a black mark against a brand.
Limit food waste by allowing swaps, or a pick and mix menu. Sourcing food locally is good for the local economy and is deemed as carbon neutral and sustainable, as food doesn’t need to travel so far. On demand ordering of in-season produce also helps avoid waste. Creative cookery and portion control have never been more important to consumers.
Lighting is one area where great advances have already been made, with LED bringing down running costs and energy consumption, but that’s just one small part of the whole sustainable topic. What about where the light fittings have been made? Did they travel by land, air or sea to reach the venue?
Perhaps consider, who actually benefits from the purchases you make to run a hotel. Is it the locality? Your staff? Or a worthy cause?
Are people that work for you treated well? Do your suppliers share your values and treat their staff well too? Do machines or people make the products you’ve chosen? It’s becoming clear that today’s consumers are happy to spend money on a good story. If their purchase helps someone, they feel good about it, which is worth more to them than owning an object. People are becoming more important than property (with the exception of mobile phones!).
This is the buzzword of the new decade.
To engage with consumers, your brand needs to be experiential, but what exactly is experiential? It’s having a story to tell that resonates. It’s a mood that’s been created by the brand; it’s doing what’s right ahead of time and by choice – not as a result of legislation or public outcry.
Story telling in rooms; why the room aids sleep, wellbeing and the environment. Showing regional pride, historical facts and unique interiors, cleverly put together to evoke a sense of relaxation, excitement and surprise.
Brand values are clearly displayed and for one step further, you could offer to meet the makers if you use locally sourced food. Causes that you care about, such as every object that has not traveled by sea or air. Every light fitting is UK made, handmade. Carpets are recycled plastic; the wood is sustainable. Being proud of your supply chain really highlights to consumers that you make ethical choices.
Anyone supporting and working with your company will need to be on board with your brand guidelines, ethos and culture. Designing and presenting a hospitality property, you’ll have no doubt have been faced with a shifting budget. Sometimes less is more. Strategic planners and brand interior designers are working more closely within the hospitality sectors; interconnecting goals and guidelines. Storytelling has therefore become a big part of creating a brand persona. Your brand story isn’t what you’ve done historically; it’s now.
Where are you sourcing the product from now, and what does that say about the brand? Food sourced locally; what’s the story about that? Who are the people and brands involved in producing it, and what are their credentials?
It certainly makes you think, doesn’t it?
What impact does the venue have on us? Our wellbeing, our health, our freedom of choice, our impact on the planet and humanity? They are all very big topics that have far reaching implications on every part of the expenditure. The food and beverage offering, the bedding, cleaning materials, staffing, technology, energy consumption…. Every little decision shouts about your brand.
Positive Examples of Ethical Sourcing in the Hospitality Sector:
Whitbread Plc have a ‘Force for Good’ policy, enabling people to live and work well. They have raised over £15 million for Great Ormand Street Hospital and trained over 1,600 cotton farmers in Pakistan on the latest techniques for sustainable agriculture.
Travelodge runs a Green Programme and is making a positive effort to reduce their carbon footprint. From lighting to considering modular buildings, every decision is considered to lower the impact on the environment.
These are often seen as budget brands, yet they have made the decision to invest in ethical topics in recent years. They have forecasted and acted upon the importance that the visibility of environmental impact will have on consumer choice and brand loyalty.
As a lighting supplier here at the LightingCompany.co.uk, we’ve known both specifiers and the end users want to know about our values, our credentials and why you should shop with us, read on.
Explore our story, and meet the suppliers.