When potential guests first interact with your hotel’s brand, they develop an impression within seven seconds or less. Your brand identity is the personality that defines your hotel in your guest's eyes. This includes your visual design, unique selling point, brand values, value propositions, and how your brand interacts with customers.
Crafting a strong brand identity builds trust with your customers. Similar to human relationships, customer-to-brand relationships take time to build. With positive interactions, you can show potential guests that your hotel brand has credibility, reliability and empathy.
Do You Need A Brand Guide?
Research says 77% of consumers buy brands that share their values. Hence, it’s no doubt your hotel branding can only benefit from having a structured set of guidelines.
Brand consistency is essential for your hotel to grow brand recognition and enhance customer loyalty. In fact, businesses with consistent branding tend to gain an increased revenue of 33%. Most brand guides include best practices and things to avoid; ensuring that all communication your brand sends out is polished and professional. And by simply implementing a brand guide, you can narrow your brand design to a particular look and feel; empowering you to make quick and deliberate decisions when it comes to design.
Utilize your brand’s values and mission statement to inform your decisions on the guidelines. Aligning your guidelines with your brand identity will help you better understand your overall brand, communicate your mission, and reflect on what matters most to your business. Not only will it help you and your team, but it can also boost your bookings.
6 Key Aspects to Include in Your Brand Guide
Your brand guide is the ultimate rulebook for everything you create. It’s also a toolkit to help you present a consistent, cohesive brand to the world. Specifically, your brand style guide keeps all your business communications—both internal and external—on brand. Moreover, it makes work much easier when you expand your team or hire outside professionals. A strong brand guide will tie together your logo, typography, photography, and colour palette into a cohesive brand story that clearly communicates your mission.
A strong brand style guide will include the following aspects:
Logos are the most recognizable element of your brand, making them an integral part of your brand identity. With that in mind, your brand guide needs to specify and show all approved versions of your logo, details of the colours, how it’s used, where it should be placed, and the spacing/size requirements.
Be as specific as possible about the proportions and alignment of its shape and text elements, down to the pixel. As a result, the brand will present a consistent face to the world. You might also want to include a list of design do’s and don’ts and specify which logo treatments to avoid because they don’t fit with the brand identity. Including a few best practices for your logo treatment helps designers understand how to deliver your brand’s visual messaging.
2. Tone of Voice
When your brand has a distinct personality, you tend to create a stronger emotional connection with your audience. The tone of voice is crucial in creating consistent messaging across all of your marketing efforts and shapes how your audience perceives you. Define your ideal tone of voice in a few words and include examples of communication that match your desired tone. In addition, each rule should reflect an understanding of the intended audience and the reason for the communication.
Every brand should have a set of brand colours that they use when developing their visual presence. Brand colours are quite a powerful way to tie your content together, increase brand awareness, and establish your brand presence. Outline your primary and secondary colours. The fewer colours you have, the easier it will be to keep things consistent for a stronger and more immersive brand experience. Moreover, the brand guide can specify the proper use of primary colours across all materials and secondary colours as accents if the primary colours aren’t enough to visually achieve what you’re looking for.
Does your hotel use specific graphics or are there particular styles of photography that you prefer to use? You need to establish from the beginning a consistent imagery style. Include a section in your brand guide on imagery—what to use and what to avoid. As a result, you will ensure that all of the images used in your marketing feel consistent and on-brand.
Specify which colours and backgrounds are best, what the ideal photography styles are, and how to use photographs in combination with the other visual elements of your brand. Moreover, ensure that all photos stay on-brand by outlining how they should be scaled, composed, and cropped. This section of the guide will usually feature the distinction between what is considered appropriate images for the brand and what is not.
As part of your visual branding, you’ll need to select a brand font for titles, subtitles, body text, quotes, and highlighted text. Whether you’re creating your own typography or using a pre-made font, make a clear choice about which typefaces represent your brand.
Your brand guide should outline the font families, desired size, spacing, and weight as well as their relation to each other. With examples, you can demonstrate correct line spacing, how to add text to images and how different fonts should behave in a hierarchy of titles, body text, and captions. Afterwards, you can apply these rules across different marketing channels, including web and print content, emails, internal communication, or social media. Outlining these stylistic decisions removes the guesswork for designers and ensures that all communications will look consistent and clean.
Iconography can appear in many places throughout your brand messaging, from your email marketing templates to your room service menus. It should be both easy to understand and consistent with your brand’s many other design elements to create a unified look across all communications. Specifying a set of icons for your brand also acts as a universal visual language. This makes for a perfect tool in an industry filled with international speakers since no translation is required.
Pro Tip: It’s important to make sure all the necessary tools are available to your marketing team. Along with your brand guidelines, include links to download fonts, templates, logos and other assets. Including downloadable assets within your brand guide will save you and your business time and stress. And this way, everything can be found in one place and your team will always know where to look when they need access to any of your marketing assets.
Next Steps In Maintaining A Strong Brand Guide
Finally, develop a plan to promote and strengthen your brand identity. Continuous messaging on all channels is key to establishing your hotel’s brand presence. Once you finish designing and creating your brand guidelines, integrate them throughout your business. This includes your website, social media accounts, email marketing, signage, and even product packaging. Ensure that your branding is portrayed consistently anywhere your hotel has a presence.
Don’t let your new brand guidelines sit around and collect dust, either. Not only should everyone on your team have access to it, but they should be using it as a reference for all marketing communications moving forward. It’s also a good idea to request and utilize your team’s feedback whenever possible so you can make necessary changes to the guidelines as the brand grows. Remember: it is meant to be a living document and a strong set of guidelines should always be evolving and changing with your brand.
The goal of the whole branding process is to carve out a clear, distinct voice and image for your hotel and to commit to it in every aspect of your messaging. Before making any marketing decisions, always ask, “Is this in line with our brand strategy? Does it match our brand identity and enhance the narrative we started with?”.