Digital Tools of Marketing Strategies in Hotel Branding

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of Hotel and Restaurant Business and Business Organization, Mykolayiv National Agrarian University, Mykolayiv, Ukraine

2 Department of Management, International Humanitarian University, Odessa, Ukraine.

3 Department of Economic Cybernetics, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

4 Department of Technology of Processing, Standardization and Certification of Livestock Products, Mykolayiv National Agrarian University, Mykolayiv, Ukraine

5 Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourist Business, Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts, Kyiv, Ukraine.

10.22059/jitm.2023.90726

Abstract

The condition of the hotel's competitiveness is a strong brand. The introduction of digital marketing in the strategy of hotel branding creates new opportunities for hotels when interacting with guests through digital channels. The purpose of this study is to develop theoretical and practical measures to improve the effectiveness of marketing strategies in hotel branding using digital tools.
To achieve the goal of the study was conducted research on targeted branding some of the largest hotel chains. The results of the analysis showed that in the process of branding at each stage the corresponding goals have achieved by means of advertising, marketing, public relations management, personnel selection, corporate culture.This study substantiates the main tools of the strategy of the Digital Marketing and Sales. The brands need to constantly monitor changes in market positions and audience sentiment using all the features and channels. The priorities should be implemented by performing key tasks, in particular such astimely measurements as far as brand experience has a positive effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Keywords


Introduction

The pandemic has caused significant transformations in both consumer demand and supply chains in all areas, especially in the hospitality sector.

In conditions of high competition, the best hotel chains in the world are constantly working to improve their product, improve hospitality to meet the needs and anticipate the wishes of guests.

Positioning hotel services as quality goods is possible only if you build a strong brand.

Hussain et al. (2021) demonstrated that the experience of customer cooperation with the brand in the field of the hospitality has a positive effect on customer brand involvement, emotional commitment to the brand and customer satisfaction.

For the traveler, you need to choose a hotel brand for your ideal vacation or business trip.

Yousaf et al. (2021) argue that consumer involvement in the brand is conceptually different on three levels, namely: cognitive (comment), affective (share) and conative (like). If the brand acquires an image of high quality, then consumers expect to receive the same quality in all structural objects. Changing standardization and different marketing policies reduce the value of the brand. For example, Marriott standards have become a kind of "nickname" in hotel branding, which successfully helps companies to enter into new management contracts in different regions of the world.

Pina, R. & Dias, Á. (2021) argue that brand experience has a positive impact on a brand of consumer-based brand. The sensory and emotional experiences indicate a greater influence in all dimensions of brand equity. The multigroup analysis also shows that intellectual experience evokes positive brand behavior in consumers.

The marketing can best stimulate the transformation of the hotel business, which is necessary to meet the dynamic consumer demand (Bondarenko et al., 2020). The means of transformational changes in the hotel business are the introduction of clever marketing strategies at each stage of demand formation:

  • in advertising, offering products;
  • in customer service, establishing channels of interaction;
  • in the process of forming the experience of the consumer of the hotel product of work at the point of sale;
  • in the formation and direction of customer impressions, using special tools of branding strategies.

New tools allow better automation of media and marketing decisions, allowing hotel companies to use their data and find growth opportunities (Bondarenko et al., 2020; Ivashchenko et al., 2020; Bondarenko et al., 2021). Thanks to this transformation, the hotel business can achieve results by building the organizational agility and resilience needed to be prepared for the uncertain future.

It has already become imperative for brands to have a strong presence in e-commerce, this trend is growing, and more and more digital brands are present in the online space (Danylyshyn et al., 2020; Babenko et al., 2019; Kuznetsov et al., 2019a; 2019b).

Cheung et al.(2021) show that the representation of hospitality brands in social networks plays a significant role in shaping the positive emotions of travelers, and later their intention to jointly create value and visit places, hotels and more.

Therefore, it is important to understand efficiency means of communication in stimulating favorable consumer assessments and their behavioral intentions.

In particular, the issues of the importance of implementation are brought up digital tools of hotel branding marketing strategies in awakening the emotions of travelers, which includes its connection with the intention to visit the hotel and jointly create the value of the brand.

The aim of the study - development of theoretical and practical measures to increase the effectiveness of marketing strategies in hotel branding by means of digital tools. The basis of the study are the process of introduction of digital tools in the implementation of marketing strategies in hotel branding is entrusted.

Literature Review 

Research Lee, S. & Kim, D.-Y. (2021) confirmed the effect of branded tourism in luxury hotels, pointing to a clearer link between perception, emotions and behavioral intentions.

The brand is intangible asset of the company, which specially designed and systematically maintained by the brand owner that forms the image of the future of the company and its product, helps to increase business reputation and loyalty on the part of consumers.

In modern scientific research there are marketing, economic and legal approaches to the definition and understanding of the brand, which follows from the approaches to its study and the purposes of further use of information about it (Sander et al., 2021; Huang & Xu, 2021; Bondarenko et al., 2021; Hetman et al., 2019).

In itself, the word "brand" is abstract, generalizing. The brand has designed to evoke certain emotions of the target audience. The physical components of brand development are the development of corporate identity with all its elements, the development of a logo, slogan and more. In the practice of marketing, the brand has integral components:

  • brand-name - the name of the brand;
  • brand-image - image, unique brand value;
  • brand-loyalty - the same consumers, or a group of loyal consumers of the brand.

Figure 1 shows the main characteristics of the brand.

Brand

Brand Essence

Brand Attributes

Brand Name

Brand Image

Brand Power

Brand Identity

Brand Value

Brand development Index

Brand Loyalty

Figure 1. The main characteristics of the brand

The visual components of the brand can be: logo, color combination, specific font.

Erjansola et al. (2021) argue that brand logos are a fundamental part of corporate visual identity, the logo becomes part of the brand. The authors conducted research on the possibility of evaluating the new logo, the development of its perception, visual identity. The authors show how the new logo meets the initial resistance before it becomes a source of positive brand associations, and how it has fixed in the corporate style of the organization. The authors argue that the evaluation of logos covers three dimensions: 1) congruent or incompatible with the tendency of the individual to change; 2) congruent or such that are inconsistent with the visual preferences of the individual; 3) those based on the visual design of the logo or on its ability to express identity.

Vinitha, V.U, Kumar, D.S & Purani, K. (2021) investigate the role of visual brand identity in the transfer of brand image in today's marketing environment. Although research related to the elements of brand identity has investigated the influence of its individual elements, such as logo, brand name, slogans, their holistic impact has not been fully explored. The study's findings suggest that a brand's biomorphic visual identity influences marketing results mediated by perceptions of resilience and perceptions of authority, and both have a positive effect on consumers' brand preference and purchasing intentions. The results also show that visual biomorphic elements have a greater impact than verbal ones on consumer response. Hollebeek et al. (2021). researched Logically Informed Brand Value (LIBV), focused on customer logic, which reflects the customer's assessment of the value obtained as a result of interactive, collaborative or joint activities for actors associated with the brand. The authors have developed a model of personalization of resources and institutionalization - attraction and exchange, which combine LIBV. The authors proved that LIBV generates altered bond strength and altered network cohesion. Reitsamer, BF & Brunner-Sperdin, A. (2021) explore aspects of brand trust, their relationship to consumer loyalty, based on the theory of brand signaling and the theory of commitment. The authors investigated whether safe places influence the formation of consumer commitment, their further Words of mouth marketing (WOM) and intention to return. The authors argue that brand reputation is a key precursor to consumer commitment. In addition, according to brand signaling theory, reliable brands have a particularly strong direct impact on WOM consumers.

In order to create and promote a hotel brand in the hotel, it is important for many stakeholders to work together to create brands, in the context of creating a unique mega-brand with a strong brand identity, and to understand how a brand manager can integrate such co-created values ​​into a coherent brand identity. (Tjandra et al., 2021). The brand in the modern sense is a complex organism, a strategic tool of the company, so it needs a certain management system (Dykha et al., 2020). Barros-Arrieta, D., García-Cali, E. (2021) recognize that corporate brand management involves not only external actions but also an internal approach that includes employees. The research conceptualizes internal branding as a multifunctional process that focuses on internal brand management through brand-oriented human resource management, internal brand communication and brand leadership, in order to achieve brand results among employees (brand understanding, brand identification, brand identity, brand identity). Thus, there is a real opportunity to generate brand capital in front of external stakeholders.

Grimm, MS & Wagner, R. (2021) investigated the causes and consequences of expanding the range and proposed a measurement scale for the concept of internal brand image. The authors investigated the concept of the internal brand and proposed its design. The authors quantified the relevance of the domestic brand and proposed a reflexive method of measuring the design of the domestic brand. The results of this study suggest that expanding the range is a strategic measure in brand management. The branding is the process of developing and developing a brand, its identity. Hajdas, M. & Kłeczek, R. (2021) conducted research on targeted branding. The authors explain how goal branding is done in practice. The study argues that research into brand goals should include new theoretical categories: consumer empowerment and practice transformation.

In the process of branding, associations, images and expectations have formed, verbal and visual features of the brand - external identity, as well as its values ​​- internal identity have created.

The purpose of branding is to form an existing concept of brand management for the successful operation of the company. The ratio of the components of branding has presented in the diagram (Figure 2).

 

Figure 2. The scheme of the ratio of the components of branding

Pontes, N. & Pontes, V. (2021) investigated the extent to which associations of competing brands have transferred from the parent category to the extension category and how this affects the evaluation of extensions. The authors demonstrated the effect of overflow of rivalry associations, so that the success (failure) of the previous expansion by a competing brand leads to a more (less) favorable assessment of brand expansion. This effect has constrained by the relative strength of the competitor's brand. A stronger rollover effect has observed when the expansion of the market leader brand is introduced after a previous successful expansion by the applicant brand.

Zhang, J. & Lim, JS (2021) in their study argue that competing brands must actively respond to the crisis to separate themselves from the crisis-stricken brand. The authors argue that strengthening the strategy leads to similar positive indirect effects on brand attitudes and buying intentions through the evaluation of messages, regardless of whether the strategy has applied by market leaders or applicants. In contrast, a differentiation strategy has a more positive indirect effect on brand attitudes and buying intentions through the evaluation of messages when a competitor in the market uses a strategy rather than a leader.

Frasquet-Deltoro et al. (2021) argue that multichannel in trade has expanded the ability to provide a unique brand experience using a variety of offline and online channels and points of contact. The authors investigated the complex process of scale development, which made it possible to offer a scale of experience of individual brands. The scale proposed by the authors consists of 19 items, grouped into eight dimensions: sensory, affective, intellectual, behavioral, lifestyle, pragmatic, relational and social. The researchers argue that the proposed scale expands the existing scope of building a brand experience, including aspects of experience that help increase the number of digital media and channels. The authors prove that the brand experience with the use of all opportunities and channels has a positive effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Kim, EH., Yoo, D. & Doh, SJ. (2021) explore parasocial interaction (PSI) through social media and its impact and brand loyalty. The authors investigated the consistent mediating role of PSI and consumer engagement, as well as the moderating effect of self-construction in the formation of brand loyalty on the pages of Facebook fans. The study found that consumers with high interdependent self-constructiveness, regardless of their level of perceived interactivity and openness, have a high level of PSI, consumer engagement and brand loyalty. The positive impact of perceived interactivity and openness on brand loyalty confirms the consistent mediating role of PSI and consumer engagement. Such findings are useful for the implementation of brand marketing in optimizing activities for brand loyalty. Under the brand marketing in the field of hotel and tourism business, scientists have invited to understand the technology of creation and promotion of branded travel services, activities to form a long-term preference for them.

Kim, MY. & Moon, S. (2021) explored how distance between countries plays a role in determining a brand's popularity on social media. Based on the provisions of the theory of cultural discounts, the authors developed hypotheses about how cultural, socio-economic and brand-related variables affect the popularity of the online brand. The empirical analysis shows that the popularity of an online brand has influenced by the cultural characteristics of the country, cultural distance and interaction, including cultural distance and each of the three factors (economic prosperity measured by GDP per capita, accessibility of social media measured by Internet penetration, and the level of the brand's global status, as measured by the global nature of the brand). The authors combine and describe three groups of countries in international brand management: (1) the individualistic cultures with low uncertainty, (2) the high masculinity, the short-term orientation cultures, and (3) the collectivist cultures of high uncertainty. The identified patterns are important for brand decision-making: the choice of countries for brand derivation, development and implementation of a globalization strategy for optimal product offering. You can create a hotel brand in any field, and the hotel brand is not only hotel services, but also the area, country, resort. For example, the "Sunny Beach" and the "Golden Sands" in Bulgaria, the "Bukovel" in the Carpathians. The main task of brand marketing organization of the tourism industry, including hotel business is the formation and further development of the consumer's positive associations associated with its brand. As a tool for the development of the hotel business, brand marketing is primarily an investment that has implemented to obtain high economic results. The ideal environment for its development is the Internet space, which gathers the target audience of any product and service, which can be filtered in different ways (the process of "targeting").

The main integrated marketing communications include: advertising, direct marketing, public relations, promotion of services, event marketing, philanthropy, participation in exhibitions, etc.

Methodology

The theoretical basis of the study were the scientific works of domestic and foreign researchers in the field of theory and practice of brand management, brand capital management, brand management and brand marketing. In the course of the research materials and publications in periodicals and books, data of state statistics and databases of international organizations were used. In addition, the results of marketing research conducted by the authors were used.

The study used general scientific methods, such as systematization, comparative analysis, synthesis, used methods of empirical research. A questionnaire was conducted, the results of which were processed by statistical methods. In particular, the tools of correlation analysis and methods of analysis of relationships of qualitative characteristics were used.

Results

Marketing strategies of modern hotels

The hotels use different strategies to successfully sell hotel services. There are the following types of marketing strategies for hotels and hotel chains (Fig. 3).

 

Figure 3. The types of marketing strategies for the hotel business

The commodity strategies in the hotel business - a set of strategic decisions that will determine the range, nomenclature and methods of selling products and services of collective accommodation.

The basis of this strategy is the quality of the hotel product.

The creation and implementation of product strategies of the hotel should be aimed at identifying and meeting the expectations and requests of potential consumers.

Starting to build a strategy, you need to know the answers to the question: Who are we? What product do we offer? What is its uniqueness compared to competitors? Who are our target audience groups?

  1. The strategy of innovators

The digital transformation in the field of hospitality is no longer just a trend, but a necessity. The main trends in the field of hospitality in 2021 are as follows (Fig. 4).

 

Figure 4. The technological trends in the field of hospitality in 2021

The business process automation changes customer service capabilities. The basis is the achievements in the field of artificial intelligence of hotels and the creation of new opportunities for interaction with guests in digital format. Artificial intelligence creates an environment without language barriers, which further improves the experience of travel.

The mobile applications have become very widespread, combining all aspects of hotel activities: from reports on the implementation of hotel services and program loyalty.

In the context of post-war security measures, hotels introduce contactless technologies and self-service services to reduce contact with the person and provide guests with confidence in the safety of staying in the hotel for health. The contactless check-in is available to minimize contact in public areas of the hotel. The hotel rooms also become contactless: the room key in the mobile application, the electronic key. Implementing the system HospiX interface server provides automation of management processes, which leads to increased economic efficiency. Complementing the standard services of the communication platform, the HospiX provides the ability to integrate additional modules, such as "alarm clock", voice mail, individual fax for hotel guests, module for accounting for the cost of telephone calls. The interface has designed for hotels and hotel chains, where standard Property Management System (PMS) have already installed.

In the field of hospitality, personalized offers have been most widely used in e-commerce, sales of travel and hotel products online, as well as individual sales of travel products and services for VIP-clients. Properly selected product offers increase the conversion of sites and marketing campaigns up to 60%. Building a recommendation system for the tourism industry includes analysis of both internal business data and external customer data (geolocation, behavior on social networks, the interests of friends, etc.). Based on this information, the optimal product offerings have formed - individual or group, the optimal channels of marketing communication are selected, as well as their schedule.

For maximum effectiveness of the recommendation system, it must continuously learn and take into account the reaction of customers to the proposals - negative, positive or neutral in each channel and at a certain time.

  1. The branding - competitive advantages- a comprehensive action plan aimed at gaining a stable and profitable position of the hotel in the market, to maintain and increase market share in relation to competitors on the basis of providing unique value to consumers. An example of the use of this strategy are chain hotels (Table 1).

 Table 1. The characteristics of some of the largest hotel chains

Hilton ($ 7.8 billion) - Hilton Worldwide (USA)

number fund more than one million units.

6400 real estate in 119 countries and 18 hotel brands:

- the embodiment of luxury - Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts;

- innovative and democratic Tru by Hilton;

- a collection of resorts in the most beautiful places in the world - Hilton Grand Vacations.

- In 1959, with the opening of the San Francisco Airport Hilton, the company was the first to implement the concept of hotels at the airport. This has attracted the attention of business travelers

- Hilton Honors loyalty program offers customers not only credit points in hotels, but also credit lines for booking flights and rail travel with partner companies.

Hyatt ($ 3.4 billion) - Hyatt Hotels Corporation (USA)

more than 850 real estate in 60 countries. It has 20 luxury and premium brands, including Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Miraval, Hyatt Regency, Andaz, Hyatt Place, Alila, Hyatt Centric, Thompson Hotels and others.

- original architecture, location in picturesque, unique places, interior of each hotel - in the appropriate national style;

- the highest level of service, exquisite cuisine, luxury spas, well-designed spaces for business meetings and conferences, etc .; impeccable concierge service;

- The World of Hyatt loyalty program provides upgrades, free nights, American Airlines bonus miles, and more.

Sheraton ($ 3.4 billion) - Starwood Hotels & Resorts (USA)

is part of the world's largest international hotel chain Marriott International and is the brand with the widest geographical coverage - 400 regions in 70 countries.

The company manages more than 440 hotels with a number of rooms exceeding 155,000 units.

- The hotel chain pays much attention to the comfort of business travelers. There are convenient public areas for business meetings and corporate events, technological workplaces, soundproof booths for video conferencing and much more;

- also in priority - families. The Kids Stay Free program works for them, babysitting services and all necessary facilities are provided;

- Sheraton Club members receive special privileges as well as additional bonuses in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Holiday Inn ($ 2.9 billion) - InterContinental Hotel Group (UK)

owns, manages and provides franchises to 5,964 hotels in more than 100 countries, and also occupies one of the leading positions in the number of rooms - 886,036 keys. IHG owns luxury and premium brands such as Six Senses, Regent Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, EVEN Hotels, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites, Atwell Suites, and mid-range - Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, VOCO and Avid Hotels.

- the network attracts customers with a wide range of services and consistent quality of hospitality, regardless of the hotel class;

- offers hotels for long stays and apart-hotels;

- The IHG Rewards Club incentive program provides participants with free nights, car rental bonuses, restaurant visits and entertainment.

In conditions of fierce competition for regular customers, the participation of the hotel industry can sometimes be solved by only one factor - the recognition of its brand. For this reason, the most pressing problem today is the development of measures that would distinguish the company from the total number of enterprises engaged in the hotel business.

In this sense, it is advisable to use brand strategies to maintain influence and strengthen the brand. These include the following basic strategies:

1) the corporate brand strategy - the promotion of products and services under a single brand and the creation of conditions for its stable position in the market, which greatly facilitates the process of innovation and saves money.

The figure 5 shows the brands Hilton Worldwide.

The Brands Hilton Worldwide include: the luxury brands (luxury); the elite brands (upper upscale); the premium brands (upscale); the comfort brands (midscale / select service); the micro hotels.

2) the strategy of an individual brand - the creation and promotion of their individual brand, name, image - which belong to one hotel chain. This approach allows you to segment the market in detail, taking into account the requirements of target audience groups.

 

Figure 5. The Brands Hilton Worldwide

 

The strategy of an individual brand has successfully used by an international hotel operator - Marriott International (Fig. 6).

 

Luxury offers bespoke and superb amenities and services.

Premium offers sophisticated and thoughtful amenities and services.

Select offers smart and easy amenities and services, with our longer stay brands offering amenities that mirror the comforts of home.

Figure 6. The Brands Portfolio Marriott International

The Marriott International brands portfolio offers the most compelling range of brands and hotels in hospitality (Figure 7).

 

Figure 7. The Brands Marriott International

The brands have categorized by style of offering - Classic and Distinctive. The classic brands offer time-honored hospitality for the modern traveler, and Distinctive brands offer memorable experiences with a unique perspective - each of which group into three quality tiers: Luxury, Premium, and Select. The luxury offers bespoke and superb amenities and services.

The classic Luxury hotel brands include JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis.

The distinctive Luxury hotel brands include W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, EDITION, and Bulgari. The premium offers sophisticated and thoughtful amenities and services.

The classic Premium hotel brands include Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Delta Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, and Marriott Vacation Club.

Distinctive Premium hotel brands include Westin, Renaissance, Le Méridien, Autograph Collection, Gaylord Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, and Design Hotels.

The select offers smart and easy amenities and services, with longer stay brands offering amenities that mirror the comforts of home.

The classic Select hotel brands include Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield by Marriott, SpringHill Suites, Four Points, TownePlace Suites, and Protea Hotels.

The distinctive Select hotel brands include Aloft, AC Hotels by Marriott, Element, and Moxy.

3) The "umbrella" brand strategy - a combination of corporate and individual brand. "Umbrella" is usually the name of the company. This strategy has used by the hotel corporation Hayatt Hotels Corporation. The figure 8 shows the corporation's brands.

 

Figure 8. The Brands Hyatt Hotels Corporation

The branding is the process of creating (developing) a brand. When creating a brand, specialists build associative ties with the company's product. Create a mental projection of a service or product. The main stages of branding have presented in Figure 9.

 

Figure 9. The main tasks of each stage of branding

 The branding process has considered as stages of achieving goals through advertising, marketing, public relations management, recruitment, corporate culture.

The Branding tools are quite diverse

  1. Creating a brand architecture that represents the structure of the brand, including the brand portfolio, roles in the portfolio, its structure and graphics.
  2. Creating brand identification. When creating a brand it is necessary to determine the set of qualities with which it will be associated in the audience. The essence of the created image should clearly give an understanding of the main advantages of the brand.
  3. The creation of communication programs: advertising, sponsorship programs, PR-promotions, web design (site creation process), SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - search engine optimization of the site for user requests.

The web design - a field of design aimed at designing, developing and designing web interfaces for applications and websites. In addition to the artistic component, the web design includes the processing of the logical structure of web pages, ease of use of the site or program (usability).

The SEO promotion is a set of measures designed to make a particular page of the site most relevant to one of the search queries. Investing in search engine optimization is one of the main ways to promote your site in the TOP search engine rankings. All this has reflected in the brand book.

The Brand Wheel is a tool for understanding the essence of a company, its identity. In a way, this is the quintessence of branding strategy. Usually the wheels of the brand have 5 components. These are: attributes, advantages, values, individuality and essence.

The promotion of the hotel by the Internet covers the following elements of the system:

  • media and contextual advertising;
  • search engine marketing and SEO;
  • promotion on social networks: SMO and SMM;
  • direct marketing using e-mail, RSS;
  • Internet branding, etc.

In addition to traditional methods of promotion in the hotel industry, it is advisable to use more modern and innovative technologies. Such topical innovations include, for example, "sensory branding", which involves a controlled impact on all 5 senses of the consumer (hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell) and the formation of the sixth sense - "brand sense". The particular attention has paid to the impact on the subconscious of consumers.When achieving a positive perception of the brand of the hotel industry, the next step is to turn it into a brand.

The process of forming a system of brand-oriented marketing communications can be represented by successive stages, namely: the brand positioning; formation of brand strategy; the development of a brand idea; search for a brand idea; the brand testing.

Marketing and sales and sales strategies have implemented in modern conditions for the most partusing sales channels such as the Internet and online communications. One of the main sales channels for the hotel business is primarily the website of the institution, which contains all the information about the pricing policy, appearance and interior of the institution, a list of hotel services, contacts for feedback from potential consumers to the hotel. The use of retail principles in the hotel business (a large variety of goods and services that can be purchased in one place) - becomes a very successful tool for implementing a hotel product. The successful retail strategy has currently based on income not so much on the attributes of the hotel room (room area, balcony, window view and certain amenities), but on additional services that allow you to make your stay in the hotel as personalized as possible. The latest trend is the maximum attraction of travelers to the system, which allows you to choose different services. For example, you can allow a guest to order additional room cleaning for a fee or to refuse it in exchange for a discount or bonus. Other services that hotels may offer at an additional cost include concierge services, babysitting, pet care, room flowers, luxury sheets or premium toiletries.

The communication strategy is the interaction of the brand with the consumer, which has aimed at solving specific business problems of the hospitality facility. It is important for the communication strategy to have a brand book that has updated as needed. This is a document used by the marketing and sales department. It describes the features of the hotel positioning, target audience, brand concept and visual representation. The development of tools and content creation should comply with the basic provisions and stages of implementation of the communication strategy.

The innovative Saber SynXis Platform has designed to simplify the hotel business and facilitate the implementation of the intellectual retail model. Following the general trend of personalization in retail, Saber has laid in its platform advanced functionality for working with guest profiles. Automatic data exchange within a single platform provides a holistic view of each guest, including the history of his stay, hotel costs and special personal benefits. This allows you to offer him a personalized service at every stage of interaction. The SynXis Platform uses cloud technology, has a wide range of flexible settings and is suitable for hotels of any type: from economy to luxury. The most importantly, it allows hotels to earn more revenue and focus entirely on what really matters - their customers.

The digital tools of hotel branding

The digital or digital marketing - a set of tools for communication with the consumer, which have carried out through digital channels, the use of links to electronic resources and QR-codes. Specific features of Digital Marketing have presented in Figure 10.

L2 presented the results of the Digital IQ Index® study, based on a study of the digital competencies of 66 hotel brands in the luxury and upper price segments. After analyzing their sites, presence in distribution channels, visibility in search engines, interaction with the audience on social networks, as well as activity from mobile phones and tablets, L2 experts identified brands that succeed by doing their best to attract guests that depend on modern digital technologies.

W Hotels. The W Hotels Marriott International brand has more than 55 hotels in more than 25 countries and territories. In 2020 this year, the brand expanded its territory in southwest China with the debut of W Chengdu. The main advantage of W Hotels is the content presented on the site, which users share both on the pages of the site and on the general site of the hotel group. The site also retransmits user-defined content from social networks. At the moment, the Starwood app and the W Hotels iPhone app give guests the ability to order lunch in the room, create music playlists and share them on social media.

 

Figure 10. The components of digital marketing

Westin Hotels & Resorts. The Westin Hotels & Resorts, a high-end Marriott International brand acquired in 2016 through Starwood Hotels & Resorts, operates more than 220 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories. As of June 30, 2020, the Westin brand has 226 apartments with 82,608 rooms in several countries, as well as 58 hotels with 15,741 planned rooms. In early 2021, the brand debuted at Westin Monterrey Valle in Monterrey, Mexico, and at Westin Resort & Spa Ubud, Bali.

Westin Hotels uses the Starwood platform to search and compare rooms, based on priority assumptions. The guests are actively taking advantage of the online booking of tables in the restaurant. In the online stores of the hotel chain you can buy branded products with the hotel logo (bathrobes, towels, cosmetics, mattresses, pillows, bed linen and other souvenirs).

The brands regularly post Run WESTIN Concierge training tips on all available channels that send guests and organize various events to support technicians who lead a healthy lifestyle and are active in sports.

For example, in one of the hotels in New York, a vending fitness machine was installed, which provided guests with branded sportswear and footwear. In order to receive a "sports" tax from the hotel, you need to post on Twitter the message "I want to run with @Westin", then specify your gender, clothing size and get a special promo code for the vending machine.

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. In 2021, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts illustrates a new vision of the brand. There are currently 446 Sheraton hotels in 74 countries, making it the most famous Marriott International brand. In 2021, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts will continue its reconstruction. The brand has expected to launch new guest programs. The renovation of 40 additional hotels is scheduled for 2022. Marriott Bonvoy publishes adapted elite status requirements for 2021.

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts effectively uses e-mail marketing for the benefit of the hotel, sending its future guests after booking several e-mails with information about interesting services and offers of the hotel. Thus, the hotel not only builds communication with the guest before his arrival at the hotel, but also increases sales of additional services.

In addition, the brand has created a special Facebook application "Sheraton Social Hour", dedicated to the tasting of premium wines, which are held in all hotels in the chain. All custom content related to this topic is combined with the common hashtag #socialhour and has presented on the Facebook page under the tab of the same name. The social presence of the brand enhances the active use of retargeting on Facebook and paid promotion of posts on Instagram.

St. Regis. The combining classic sophistication with modern sensibility, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., strives to provide an exceptional experience in more than 45 luxury hotels and resorts at the best addresses in the world. St. Regis has the highest experience in its category of using mobile technologies, and for the convenience of users, hotel network sites use cookies (small text files) to store the history of previous queries (city, country and date of last search).

For more information and new discoveries, guests have invited to visit stregis.com or Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. St. Regisparticipates in the global tourism program Marriott International from Marriott Bonvoy. The program offers participants an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive impressions of Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unsurpassed benefits, including free nights and recognition of Elite status. To register for free or get more information about the program, you have invited to visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

The hotels of St. Regis in 19% of cases appear in the top 10 search queries on TripAdvisor. Each property contains an average of 556 photos of travelers on TripAdvisor (compared to an average of 379 photos). In addition, the brand constantly cares about its online reputation, responding to 67% of negative reviews.

Le Meridien. Le Meridien is an international hotel brand, now owned and operated by Marriott International. Le Meridien's investments are largely focused on the study of high-tech design, focused on the concept of culture, cuisine and coordinates. The brand has grown by 25% in the Asia-Pacific region and North America, and almost half of its assets in the Middle East and Europe have been renovated in the last 3 years. Today, there are 100 Le Meridien hotels in 37 countries, and another 30 are expected over the next four years.

Le Meridien's local websites include information on local events and local transport, as well as easy-to-view image galleries. The average ranking of network objects on Expedia.com is 85%. The mobile website uses the Starwood platform to provide interesting information in the local language and help guests navigate new places.

The hotel brands are honing their strategy on social media to be ahead of everyone. The ranking of social networks by popularity among users in 2021 is presented in Figure 11.

 

Figure 11. Rating of social networks by popularity among users in 2021, million people.

The most noticeable trend is the comparison of content with the platform, rather than sharing the same content through channels.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a luxury brand of the international network hotels and resorts owned by Hilton Worldwide. However, the quality that really sets Hilton apart is their ability to make dreams come true for both employees and guests. They do this by studying the history of their property and showing genuine interest in the people they hire. By publishing messages about real people, the hotel chain demonstrates (rather than tells) the value of its company to travelers, who are then satisfied with their choice to stay in luxurious and charity rooms. For example, Hilton found that the worldview of travel and human relations has changed. A recent Instagram post revealed the touching story of a former Hilton employee who became a shelter, whose path is now publicly marked by the brand. The video, posted on their feed and Stories, received at least 28 times as many comments. It also had the largest number of viewers among any other video content. The Hilton Luxury Association will strengthen brand loyalty among its followers.

In general, the set of Hilton social media accounts has the following characteristics that make them truly unique and attractive:

Instagram: Hilton's Instagram page is not just another real estate account - it's a news department. This smart umbrella, representing all Hilton hotels around the world, serves as the venue for company celebrations, glamorous hotel photos and a special type of human-centered storytelling.

Twitter: While there are some similarities with their other user on Instagram, Twitter Hilton also publishes reports on the latest travel industry software, new partnerships with brands in business articles that present an interesting look at the modern traveler.

Facebook: With more than 120,000 likes, Hilton's Facebook home does a great job with topics similar to the ones we see in their other accounts, but on this platform they reveal more detailed information. By posting longer unique videos on Facebook on these common topics, they bring integrity to their entire social media package, while maintaining respect for the social media marketing strategies that work best, from platform to platform.

LinkedIn: Their page has almost 900,000 subscribers and contains history, news and content that their B2B audience and business travelers like the most.

YouTube: Although they are less likely to publish original content on this platform than others, Hilton does a great job of showing commercials that have been broadcast elsewhere, as well as fresh commercials such as the engaging series "Vacation Time" and "The World is Right Here."

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Four Seasons has a clearly defined strategic direction of its marketing in social networks: luxury and wealth. This is what they have been known for in the industry and it works just as well as the foundation for their marketing. At their core, they are a chain of luxury hotels with impeccable customer service and a deep understanding of how to integrate the latest software and technology into their daily practice.

The brand has the most subscribers (approaching a million on some platforms) than almost any other hotel chain on all social media channels. The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts social networking package has everything a potential guest could wish for, from professionally composed photos to shameless models of puppies and kittens.

They are also very good at consistently releasing large amounts of content on social networks, which is probably why they managed to maintain such a high audience, despite the sharing of duplicate content on all platforms. For example, they post something in their feed at least once a day on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Instagram: The brand tries to attract the attention of the world audience without being too universal. Because well-being is important to their affluent customer base, they ran a campaign on the eve of World Health Day that showcased the values ​​of their brand with live IG videos and photos describing the many ways Four Seasons guests can live happier and healthier lives just staying in their properties.

Twitter: If you write on Twitter or mention their account, you will always get an answer. They have 268,000 subscribers, and they still have time to respond the same day. This is a smart marketing strategy for hotels on social networks, but also an active demonstration of their exceptional quality of customer service. If customers can't count on the brand to help them online, how can they count on them personally during their stay?

Facebook: There is no doubt about it - Four Seasons have been fully using their Facebook page since its creation in 2009. They integrated their Pinterest and Instagram into the platform. They even actively use their “Jobs” section to hire new, talented employees and showcase their biggest ticket in their services menu (wedding venues and related services) in a separate section so guests can get inspiration for their important day as they look for places to booking ceremonies and / or receptions.

LinkedIn: Because Four Seasons strongly believes that guests and fans can reach their full potential, it's understandable why their LinkedIn page has tips for passing job interviews. They also showcase the experience of their employees - everyone, from their pastry chef to their director of people and culture, shares stories and wisdom. Despite the fact that they publish many messages on all channels, this series is exclusive to LinkedIn.

YouTube: Their YouTube is definitely the best example of hotel marketing on social media. They have many more playlists than any other brand, on topics such as private storytelling, conscious life, unique travel experiences that are almost exclusively available to Four Seasons guests.

Thus, the strategy of social networks for hotels is a powerful tool in the hospitality industry.

Stages of content strategy:

  1. Set goals for each channel. Here we are talking about brand recognition and customer satisfaction. This will help you focus on each channel. Simply cross-publishing content will not work: what works on Linkedin will not work on Instagram.
  2. Examine your target audience and what they want to see. Think less about what you want to show and more about what your target audience hopes to see when they open their apps. What would pleasantly surprise them? What information are they really looking for?
  3. Create a content plan and stick to it. Come up with a new post every few days. Make sure you plan and create posts a few weeks in advance.
  4. Create content that looks professional. In any business, but especially in the field of hospitality, professionally designed content is crucial. If you sell an experience, sell it as if people are looking at it with their own eyes. 2 out of 5 millennials say that images of hotels on social networks affect their bookings.
  5. Don't forget the call to action. It's nice to have an audience that has impressed with your content, but in the end you will want them to take action. Give them a push in the right direction by adding a call to action after each message.

Here's how to impress your future guests before they enter your establishment:

  1. Actively interact with your subscribers.
  2. Use storytelling.
  3. Don't avoid influential marketing.
  4. Make an impression.

The video content is a tool that helps guests send messages in a convenient format. Users spend 1 billion hours a day watching videos. 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube in just one minute.

The availability of video in the media is a significant competitive advantage. This type of content helps to close 2 functions in marketing at once:

  • Informing guests with visual and audio images.
  • Satisfy the emotional experience of the guest, including performing an entertaining function.

The experts also recommend using guest videos as a source of video content. By monitoring on social media, you will be able to receive several interesting videos from guests every week. Be sure to write in a personal message to get permission from the guest to use the content. In working with hotels and sanatoriums, we noticed that often feedback posts receive the most coverage by the end of the month on social networks. This is because users initially rate your content as promotional. The guest content is an independent, objective opinion that is trusted.

It's important to remember that even very interesting videos need to be promoted in different sources, because by posting them only on your YouTube channel, you risk getting only a few dozen views.

What to do with the video:

  1. We place in all social networks of hotel or sanatorium.
  2. Place in target groups on social networks. For example, if you have a video interview with a caregiver at a hotel who talks about how you can entertain children of all ages, you can add it to groups for moms. If you made a video with the chief doctor of the sanatorium on how to increase immunity in winter, you can place it in groups for a healthy lifestyle, and in groups in individual cities. We take into account whether this or that region is a target for your object.
  3. Add to the blog or news on the website of the hotel / resort with a short text description.
  4. We send in thematic mailings. For example, you have a video of guests riding on tubing tracks. Add it to the newsletter with the announcement of the opening of the ski slope / tubing trails.
  5. Post on the YouTube channel, using paid promotion. The main functions of advertising promotion on this platform are information and image. The guests learn about your objects, form brands that you associate with yourself. All these are strong arguments in deciding on a place to rest.

Thus, the video marketing is one of the most dynamic trends. Show your staff, interiors, entertainment, form strong associations and bring benefits to the target audience.

PR and communications have become a mandatory tool in 2021.

2020 has become a growth point for a tool like PR. This is due to the fact that it was necessary to build a communication strategy, when guests were waiting for a refund, when they were outraged by restrictions on non-working pools, and so on. A separate stage is the period when hotels and sanatoriums did not work. Many objects left the information field, losing a lot in the issuance of social networks, and guests forgot about the object, which is no longer found in advertising, did not send mailings and did not publish materials in the target media. When the period of quarantine began, many hotels and resorts drew attention to the ineffectiveness of advertising as the only tool used. Hotels that tracked the search interest of guests, and built not just an advertising campaign, but a communication strategy, knew what to tell guests. The attention of your target audience is very expensive and difficult to win. PR gives you the opportunity to purposefully and systematically influence the "pain points" of guests, paying attention to you, forming opinions and influencing the decision to buy.

What PR tools did the experts recommend paying attention to in 2021:

  1. The work with target media, sharpened not just for image publications in the media and glossy magazines, but focused on search queries. This requires the use and knowledge of SEO. Queries "Where to celebrate the New Year" since October showed steady growth. This is a great material idea for a country hotel that knows its benefits. We write an article with an overview of different places, including your object, publish on resources that are of interest to search engines. And we get target readers.
  2. The email marketing. We write a strategy, configure a promo code to track sales, conduct analytics. As a result of just a few months of work, it will be obvious to you that your guests want to receive information, for example, about children's recreation or opportunities for corporate events. We strengthen what works and support other areas.
  3. The communication strategy in social networks. The communications specialist should be involved in the development of the content plan and in resolving conflicts with guests.
  4. Competitions, prizes, nominations, online presentations, online events. Yes, this is also the task of the PR department. Determine whether participation in a competition is necessary, prepare presentation materials. Now we are not talking about offline events, which have dictated by the requirements of the time. But we are seeing a growing interest in online tours, online presentations of your services. And this is also the task of a PR specialist.
  5. Working with feedback is another important function of a communications specialist. Write the right reactions to negative feedback to explain your position not only to the person who wrote the complaint, but also to your guests who will read it. Another method of working on the results of negative feedback is the preparation of information materials. For example, you noticed that in the last few months there have been many reviews about the insufficient level of cuisine in your facility. Yes, the chef is already working on this, and the PR service should work on this topic. Remember that PR will not make a poor quality product good. Only after improving the quality of the product, it is necessary to prepare thematic information materials "5 dishes in the hotel restaurant", which you should definitely try "," How to preserve the useful properties in vegetable dishes: a comment from a hotel nutritionist ", etc.

Advertising as a tool to quickly and effectively attract guests:

  1. The strategy of advertising campaigns is increasingly based not on search queries, but on behavioral factors and self-learning algorithms. This is due to several reasons:
  • Search advertising is becoming less and less manageable. Paid impressions do not guarantee that your ad will appear in a particular position, making it impossible to control your settings through delivery. At a high rate, traffic is often extremely low.
  • Search conversion for hotels is less and less different from search search conversion (banner, audience).
  • The predominance of behavioral advertising over search will grow.
  1. The share of personalized advertising is growing. Targeting is becoming thinner and the offer more individual. Given the specifics of hotel marketing, the lion's share of sales are regular guests. Therefore, the active development of CRM-advertising. Building complex algorithms for personalized advertising for a specific client through CRM.
  2. The automatic targeting algorithms are taking up more and more space in advertising budgets. But this is not true for all advertisers.

Advertising itself is an increasingly complex tool. The brand, in addition to advertising, must work on the brand and communicate with guests. The ideal option is: PR-activities + SEO-optimization + contextual advertising.

Classic SEO, as many understand it, no longer works. But SEO-optimization with more clear principles of work enters the arena.

This is one of the tools that is changing a lot. Today, SEO is a method of working with a measurable result and an action plan.

SMM: what hotels to look for in social networks.

The 2019 made adjustments to the work of social networks. It is no longer possible to see the number of likes on Instagram. The facebook has started testing such a feature. In the first place the quality of content, not the influence of the opinion of one group of users on another. Search advertising doesn't work for everyone. In highly competitive topics, such as wedding services, events, New Year's holidays, most advertisers go from search. In 2020, this trend has become more noticeable.

Advertising systems have made a qualitative leap. Your browser knows more about you than you do. Now there is no doubt that your portrait will be clearly identified. The growth of search engine intelligence and awareness of the portrait of the buyer leads to more immersion of employees of the advertising department in matters of analytics. Knowing who is sitting behind the monitor, we can decide for ourselves whether he should see the advertisement.

Messengers are especially important. WhatsApp becomes an official channel of communication on important business issues in various fields of activity. In messengers documents are coordinated. The influence of operational communication channels will expand. The guests cannot wait. The answer is needed here and now.

The most effective PR tools for hotels and resorts:

  • Email marketing. Segments the base, according to your business tasks, and work with guests. In order for users to open emails, the database must be personal, the topics of the emails relevant, and the texts and suggestions inside interesting. Again, back to the communication strategy. She is also present there.
  • Publications in target media. Note that working in regional media can give good coverage to the target audience.
  • Blogging on the hotel website. Be useful to your guests, become experts in the field of impressions, leisure and business trips. The blog will lead you users from search engines. Even one post a week will be a plus for promotion.
  • Participation in ratings and nominations. PR is very closely related to other marketing tools.

The trends in marketing are not a dogma and will not work the same way on different objects. The main task of the hotel or resort - to create a strategy of digital marketing and sales. The brands need to constantly monitor changes in market positions and audience sentiment. After all, timely measurements not only allow you to make sure that you are doing everything right, but also help to notice your own growth points in time, be the first among competitors to pick up trends, put them in a new strategy and become a market leader.

Conclusion

This study examines the main aspects improving the effectiveness of marketing strategies in hotel branding by means of digital tools.

It is proved that implementation digital tools of hotel branding marketing strategies has a positive effect on awakening the emotions of travelers, forms experience of clients' cooperation with the brand, emotional commitment of clients to the brand. The studies have shown thata positive effect on consumers' intention to return appears if they feel attachment to the brand in advance.

The analysis revealed that branding tools have changed significantly in recent times. Being at the initial stage of becoming part of marketing, branding has gradually become an essential tool for management, positioning and achieving long-term financial success.

Therefore, the strategies in the field of services have implemented with varying degrees of value, ranging from one-time use of the service to partnerships to attract consumers.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflict of interest regarding the publication of this work. In addition, the ethical issues including plagiarism, informed consent, misconduct, data fabrication and, or falsification, double publication and, or submission, and redundancy have been completely witnessed by the authors.

Funding

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article

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