2019 is a big year for Dana. We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary! For 24 of those years, we’ve focused on the travel and hospitality industry. Working with travel brands is our passion. Along our journey, we’ve mapped out the essentials of travel brand marketing. Join us on a quick tour of five Dana branding tenets.
- Understand your competitive landscape. Where does your brand fit? Here’s your chance to claim a benefit your competitors haven’t taken—or if they have, demonstrate your brand’s superiority. Once you determine areas where your brand can shine, find the one or two that are unique, believable, deliverable and desirable. Avoid competitive comparisons by staying away from “on par” positions. If “mid-priced family-friendly resort” is your position, own that space. Lastly, don’t overpromise. Take a position that you can realistically deliver.
- Know your major. It’s tempting to be all things to all people, but nobody’s satisfied with that position. Dig into the nitty-gritty and discover the one, maybe two, key benefits your brand can bring to the table. Think of it like selecting a major and minor in college. For Airlie, a Virginia conference center transitioning to resort destination, making the major “farm” and the minor “legacy” was a natural. Once you nail your major/minor, express it as a brand promise—aka the “elevator pitch” that captures your brand so succinctly it could be said in seconds. (Or the time it takes for the elevator doors to close.)
- Build your foundation. Brand pillars are the foundation of your brand and tell your target audience how you deliver on your brand promise. Usually numbering four to six, brand pillars are the base for messaging and touchpoints. For smarTours, its six brand pillars (top sights, curated tours, top guides, peace of mind, smart pricing and smart-sized groups) articulated the tour company’s main strengths and reinforced its brand position as a smart travel choice. These pillars resurface again and again in smarTours’ marketing materials.
- Find your touchpoints. Brand pillars naturally lead to brand touchpoints—the services, amenities, benefits and style of your brand that touch each guest or customer experience and create the core of your brand story. The mint on the pillow, the pitcher of cucumber water at the front desk, the signature item on the menu, the tongue-in-cheek wording on a confirmation email…each and every one is a touchpoint where your customers learn who you are as a brand. If your brand is luxury, your touchpoints should exemplify luxury. Express a more whimsical brand with quirky touches. For Hilton Wilmington-Christiana, brand touchpoints became a way to differentiate the hotel from the typical chain hotel. Elevated food and beverage, a sense of community, personalized service and a high level of security and consistency were four touchpoints that reflected both the expected and unexpected aspects of the guest’s interaction with the brand.
- Now…go live your brand story. The work of branding lives in the day-to-day. It’s woven into every Facebook post, Instagram, email or banner ad. It animates your staff, your brand ambassadors on the front line. It becomes part of the furniture…literally! It’s all part of that big, glorious, important story that is your brand.
Let’s take a brand journey together. If you need a guide to help bring your travel brand marketing to life, contact Lynn Kaniper at 609-466-9187 ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.