5 Ways to Make Your Hotel Distinctive and Different

Today, Paul Russell of the Luxury Academy looks at how hotels can stand out to their guests.

In a crowded market, how can a hotel be distinctive and different? One answer is to involve and connect with guests to surprise and delight them, and make a hotel more than the sum of its parts.
Tell the story: When we flock to buildings where someone notable lived or worked, what draws us? If we can find out all we ever wanted to know from books and online, and take a virtual tour from the comfort of an armchair, why do the miles? Part of the answer is that we want to immerse ourselves in a story, to feel a sense of involvement and place that no amount of virtual touring or reading can bring. For a building to be more than the sum of its constituent parts, it needs a story. It needn’t be a roll call of famous names and great deeds. Tell your guests who runs it, why this location, what makes it special, and keep the story alive.
Be local: If there’s one place that’s different from any other, it’s where we are right now: local. This is the place where small businesses, artists and artisans, food and wine producers carve out a unique trade; weaving themselves into the fabric of the area and adding to its richness. Independent hotels are already a part of that story, but it’s not always visible. Bring the local indoors – local exhibitions, for example, or a celebration of local food – as a way of engaging and connecting guests with both the hotel and where it is. On such connections, layer by layer, loyalties are built.
We’re all individuals: The age of the brand is far from over, but there’s an observable move away from the branded experience and towards the surprising, unique, and authentic. It’s a change that’s at least partly powered by the younger consumer. Luxury demographics are changing. The affluent young are on the move, seeking experiences that resonate with the world they live in, a world that is vibrant, mobile, in more or less continuous communication, and less likely to set much store by conformity than any generation before. Welcome to the Age of the Individual. Boutique hotels are successfully riding this wave, and in greater numbers, by folding in luxury standards with vision and voice, authenticity and individuality.
Be word and pitch-perfect: As any storyteller will confirm, every character in the story has a part to play in moving the story along and making it believable. In this case, the characters are the team, from front-of-house to housekeeping. To avoid any disconnect between what the hotel says about itself and how the staff interact with guests and each other, it’s vital to make sure everyone knows what the story is. Make sure the staff are as familiar with the hotel’s culture and story as possible. Ensure everyone is familiar with the website or brochure, and explain why it’s being presented in that way rather than another way, comparisons between one hotel’s voice and story and another may be helpful.
Be consistent: Another old rule from the manual: once you have your story, stick to it. It may be necessary to adapt it, add to it, and introduce new characters, but if the story is to be in the least credible it has to have a true and consistent core. That doesn’t mean setting it in stone, but a vision is a vision: let it preside, and the rest will follow.

For more information, please visit http://www.luxuryacademy.co.uk

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