The holidays are coming

You know that as soon as you’ve finished your last piece of Christmas turkey and settled down to the Bond film, enticing holidays will be the first thing you see in the ad breaks.

In the middle of winter, what could be more desirable than a holiday in a hot country, unless of course you’ve more a snowboarding fan.

But beyond advertising at the right time of year to generate awareness, how do holiday companies and hotels make their brand appear more desirable than their competitors?

Every week new boutique hotels, apartments and hideaways peak out of The Guardian Travel section or the Mr & Mrs Smith website, luring us to one off quirky wooden gypsy caravans or beautiful luxury hotels with individually styled rooms.

We read the reviews, and perhaps visit the hotel companies’ beautifully designed websites. These are important in creating desire, with many common elements that prick our interest including:

  • Beautifully shot, big format photography
  • Lots of white space allowing the images to appear more dramatic
  • 360 videos to immerse you, exploring the hotel and rooms further
  • Mouth-watering food and drink menus listed to whet your appetite
  • Snappy and well written articles on the surrounding countryside, city lights or attractions to visit
  • BBC style, simple and intuitive navigation allowing you to get lost in the site

Having a good looking, user-friendly website definitely ticks some boxes but in a sea of beautiful pictures how do you make your brand more desirable than others and standout?

According to findings from an annual brand survey that has researched more than 60,000 consumers since it started, there are three key attributes that a brand should have to create desire and impact:

  • Have a viable and authentic ambition that truly energies your business and stakeholders
  • Ensure you make a substantial difference to people’s lives and continue to re-evaluate what you offer to people’s changing needs
  • Create a personality that makes the right people connect with you

 (Source: Clear.)

However, even if you do all this to create desire and impact and standout from the competition, there’s another major problem hotels (and any other brands) have in that we, the people, are very fickle.  We don’t do brand loyalty, despite what some marketing companies might tell you.

According to “How brands grow – what marketers don’t know” by Professor Byron Sharp and reviewed here , although most marketers want to develop a deep relationship with customers to encourage long term loyalty and sales, the reality is that we don’t. And of the few brands that do have brand loyal customers, these people aren’t commercially that important. It’s the 80 per cent of infrequent, brand fickle, buyers that make up most of a brands’ sales. Not the often quoted 20 per cent of brand loyal fans.

In terms of PR, social and brand communications then the strategy is clear. Hotels and other brands need a base level of activity that regularly and consistently demonstrates the three attributes needed to create desire. But because of the fickle nature of people, key standout campaigns are required at regular points throughout the brands’ lifecycle to boost awareness to the mass fickle market and keep sales growing.

So what have you got planned beyond Christmas advertising for your hotel brand in 2014?