What Is All the Buzz Over Soft Branding?
September 18, 2017 9:00 AM
Have you been hearing the term soft branding thrown around in the news, but not sure what it is and what all the fuss is all about? Don’t worry you have come to the right place.
With concerns over fewer people having enough disposable income to go on frequent holidays, many independent and boutique hotels are considering joining forces with large hotel brands. With soft branding, they get to still retain creative control, but to also have the benefits of having the support of a larger chain.
Here is what you should know about soft branding:
Larger Loyalty Program
Your guests will love the larger loyalty program you will be able to offer them when you are part of a larger chain, especially one that is multinational in reach. Because there are more hotels in more diverse places all connected, it is a lot easier for guests to build up a lot of rewards. Plus planning trips become a lot easier for them if they have a lot of hotel options to choose from.
The hotel also benefits from a larger network of referrals. By being connected to other well-known hotels, more people will know about you and will come check you out.
Having the backing of a successful corporate giant can give you a sense of security. They can provide you with a lot more resources than would be available on your own. Take for instance how expensive it can be for a mom and pop hotel to afford to list your hotel with an online travel agency like Expedia. As part of a chain, you won’t have that trouble. Your vendors will also have more confidence in doing business with you because you are backed by a big brand.
National and international brands already have a recognizable household name backed by large marketing and advertising campaigns. Small mom and pop hotels don’t have a lot of money to spend on branding and marketing and advertising so being able to utilize resources of chain could be a real boom to your business. You will get the recognition you want without having to break the bank to get it.
Luckily with soft branding you don’t have to give up your freedom and individuality in order to gain all these extra resources. You will still be able to make your own choices and still maintain your own personality and sense of style. Keeping what makes you, you is so important.
Softens the Corporate Look
This can also help the chain as well. By having hotels that have different looks and offer unique experiences will soften the boring corporate look. Your guests will love that when they travel to Arizona that they will get a uniquely local experience that is different from what they would get at a hotel in the chain in New York.
Another benefit of a large chain is that their management team has access to more high tech solutions and business platforms that can streamline hotel operations like a sophisticated online reservation system that makes it easier to keep track of room bookings so you are not stuck with a lot of empty rooms at any point in time.
It is not just the independent or boutique hotels that can benefit from this arrangement. Large chains have a tendency to adopt a corporate look that lacks personality and warmth. Staff at a boutique hotel are more likely to be more attentive to customers and more dedicated to giving them a unique experience during their stay. The big chains can learn a lot of from them and their brand will get a boost from being associated with them.
Not everyone in the hotel business is thrilled by this movement towards soft branding. Proponents of it feel like it is a good compromise where you get the best of both worlds, while the critics worry that you will end up sacrificing too much of your individuality for just a little bit more security.
However, if your hotel is in a lot of financial danger, perhaps barely skirting bankruptcy, then there really isn’t a reason to not go for it, and your hotel can at least retain its individuality instead of just being simply being bought up by a chain. On the other hand, some boutique hotels are forming their own associations with a built-in infrastructure to help support each other in various ways so soft branding isn’t necessary to not only survive but thrive.
If you are not sure soft branding is right for you, but you know you definitely want to ramp things up at your hotel, consider hiring a hotel management consultant. An experienced consultant can help you with improve upon all aspects of hotel management. Whether you are interested in a complete overhaul or are looking for help on just a certain issue, a hotel management consultant can handle it all.
Not all consultants are equal though so make sure you do your research before deciding if this is the right path for you. Look for a consulting company with a good reputation in the hotel industry. You want someone who has some high profile successes. This will give you confidence that they can back up all the claims they make. Besides experience, make sure you pick someone who will be committed to you and give you the attention you deserve.
Consider looking into MBB Management, a hospitality management company that specializes in franchise consulting, hotel management and restaurant consulting.
MBB Management specializes in bringing you the best tools and expert advisors to provide a solid path to success for your hotel, restaurant or franchise. Consultants can aid you in hiring personnel as well as increasing efficiency and quality and boosting up sales.
MBB specializes in helping with hotel inventory revenue maximization, hotel project management, hotel rebranding or reflagging, hotel banquet service management and the hiring of emergency personnel. They will also provide comprehensive revenue management as well as help you conduct feasibility studies.
For more information about how MBB management can help your hotel thrive, make a consultation appointment today.