Industry Update
Opinion Article21 October 2019

Positioning Your Hotel Property with Personality

When travelers have a handful of hotels to choose from, how can you stand out as the obvious choice? Instead of competing on price, hotels that see the power of perceived value are choosing another route: personality.

By Samantha Hardcastle, Founder of Amore Social and Co-Founder of The Storied Experience

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In today's experience-focused world, a hotel's personality is one of its greatest assets. A charismatic brand is going to pull guests in, while guests will scroll right past one that comes off as vanilla. This is because people are starting to see their choice of hotel as an expression of their own personality. When they pick the 5-star luxury resort with giraffes sticking their heads in the window at breakfast, it might say to their social media followers "I'm chic but I'm also free-spirited."

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Playing up a unique personality is a low-cost way for hotels and hospitality properties to differentiate themselves and attract a certain type of guest. A property's personality shines through everything, online and offline, including:

  • Word choice & tone of voice
  • Colors, shapes & patterns
  • Photography & art style
  • Clothing & grooming
  • Décor & sensory details
  • Experiences & offerings

Every single detail matters. And one way hotels can make sure their brand has a strong and coherent personality is by using brand archetypes. Archetypes have been around for over a century and are psychology-backed identities that businesses use to shape their brand and take on compelling characteristics that attract a property's perfect guests.

Archetypes not only humanize and harmonize your story and overarching experience; they also establish consistency and act as a filter to gauge whether any particular decision is on-brand or off-brand. When used strategically, they create desire and emotional connection within your ideal customer.

Creating an emotional connection is extremely important: Harvard Business Review has found that customers who feel "emotionally connected" to a brand are on average 52% more valuable than even those who feel HIGHLY satisfied. And not only do they spend more, they're also 3x more likely to recommend your experience.

The 9 archetypes for experience-driven hotel brands are:

  • The Joyful: Vivacious & playful entertainer
  • The Explorer: Worldly & daring wanderer
  • The Sage: Inquisitive & wise truth-seeker
  • The Romantic: Intimate & sensual nurturer
  • The Genuine: Down-to-earth & authentic neighbor
  • The Creative: Expressive & freethinking artist
  • The Spellbound: Spiritual & powerful dreamer
  • The Innocent: Carefree & nostalgic optimist
  • The Rebel: Wild & edgy disrupter

Although this is just a brief overview of each archetype's essence, they are the jumping off point for creating a hotel brand that speaks to the emotions and desires of today's modern traveler. And when you can combine a few of the archetypes together, you go from having a cliché or one-dimensional experience to having a brand and experience that people are magnetized to.

One thing you and your team can do today is sit down and evaluate the level of personality throughout the entire guest experience - from the moment they discover your property to the moment they leave it. And ask:

  • Is our personality consistent throughout the entire experience?
  • Where is our brand sounding or looking too much like our competitors?
  • Are we coming off at all nondescript? How can we liven things up?

Exploring these archetypes on a deeper level will help you and your team develop a one-of-a-kind personality and brand that people can't help but talk about.

Samantha Hardcastle

Samantha Hardcastle has been creating compelling stories for hospitality brands over the last decade. She’s dialed in to lifestyle trends and traveler behavior so that she can help brands innovate and align with guests’ desires. Her eye for what makes a property distinct allows her to conceptualize a captivating experience that attracts high-value guests.

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    Samantha Hardcastle
    Founder of Amore Social and Co-Founder of The Storied Experience
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