10 Ways for Every Hospitality Operator to Boost Their Image
Every day I am amazed at just how little attention is paid by some hospitality operators to how their businesses are portrayed.
Often it's the small details that let down the whole enterprise - the out of date brochure with photographs taken years ago, the badly written A-board or the old fashioned sign (probably broken).
Research indicates that you have about 20 seconds to make a first impression. In that time your prospect has had a chance to view your product and weigh up in his or her mind whether or not it meets their expectations.
Address these 10 aspects of your business and you will certainly be on the way to boosting your image:
Colour is energy and it affects our mood and influences our behaviour.
Angela Wright is a colour psychologist and she used to run a hotel 'We quickly learned how to use colour. Blue never works in a restaurant. A little bit of red in the bar worked well. Green seemed to work pretty much anywhere. Too much yellow in a bedroom and you'd have bad-tempered guests'.
In looking at how colour is used in print or decoration it is not enough to just refer to blue or red, since there is no such thing as a universally attractive colour. It is the variations in each colour that are important since two variations of the same colour can have completely different effects. Our response is not to one colour but to colours in combination. Choose a palette of colours and stick to it.
Nearly everyone has a digital camera and thinks that they can save money by taking their own images. But photography is an art and great photos will repay your investment for years to come.
Just look on any of the third party hotel internet sites (Booking.com, LateRooms.com etc) and you will see hotels trying to boost weekend occupancy by showing images of their conference rooms. Bizarre!
If your business is already running then the name is usually OK unless it had terrible reputation and you are changing markets. Who can say that VW made the right decision to stick with the Skoda name?
Remember that your reputation comes from how you run your business, not from the name. Who would have thought that a hotel called 'Holiday Inn' would become one of the most successful brands in the corporate market? However do make sure that you avoid any negative connotations.
To have a coherent image your typography must have a unique personality. Although it may seem simple to 'just choose a typeface' there are so many options for getting it wrong that you will soon recognise a page layout that has been set up by an expert. Have a graphic designer give you a sample design template to use as a standard and then make sure that this is followed each time you produce a piece of print.
A logotype is set of words in a determined type font. Legibility is imperative, as is its use on signs, letters and T-shirts. Logos need to be distinctive but also durable. You can use recognised typefaces or design something entirely new and individual. Whatever you use, it needs to express your positioning and your personality. The colours you use will also be an expression of the palette that you chose to represent your hotel.
Your use of certain types of paper is an expression of what you are trying to achieve with your target market. For instance, using a piece of flimsy 80gsm paper will not be a very good advertisement for a gourmet dinner at $100 per person. Look at the competition and see where you fit. Brochures that are 12 pages and have tissue paper interleaves might give a misleading impression about your great value budget hotel!
Every hotel has to develop its own personality and the words you use reflect this. Whenever you write text keep the copy simple and direct. Humour is always interesting but can be a little aggravating if you try too hard. Quirky works well if it is done well, but only if it reflects you and your business.
But do be careful. I received a mailing from Virgin Media (a cable company) that said '...it's a doddle for one of our nice engineer types to pop round and make it happen.' Oh that it were true!
The outside is what prospects see first so, if it puts them off, they will never know what the inside is like.
There are many different types of signage material. Plastic suits fast food outlets and traditional wooden signs suit pubs and country house hotels. Keep the wording simple and to the point and make sure that these words are readable from the road and well lit at night.
Once clients or guests are inside you don't want to destroy the image that they have already built up about your venue. This is where your colour palette comes in and needs to guide every decision you make about the soft furnishings that you use.
Ensure you constantly check out the atmosphere to make sure that it is warm enough, smells good and is not too noisy.
Consistency in communication builds value. For instance, your recruitment adverts need to have the same style as your promotions. Any and every communication from you needs to be instantly recognisable as being from you, either in the consistent use of your colour or the way that the words are laid out.
Make considered choices about all these 10 aspects and your business will definitely prosper.