If you have started a travel or hospitality business with a serious intention to grow it sustainably, then you need to have a solid foundation that will support the growth.
The quality of your services and products is the first level. The next is how you treat your customers i.e. customer support and relationship.
These two levels are interlaced with another fundamental element – your brand.
Through your brand, you tell the story about who you are as a business, how you should be perceived, and what your values, mission and purpose are.
It is a component that ultimately differentiates you from your competitors. Strong brands lead to sustainable business growth, which is what you should aim for.
Whether you run a travel or hospitality business, every strong brand starts with precise brand guidelines, which you consistently follow and implement.
What are the Brand Guidelines?
Brand guidelines are a set of rules about how your brand should be represented. They can guide your team, employees, partners, and your customers and audience.
Brand guidelines are a reference point for how your business should be presented both visually and verbally. They combine all the elements of your brand – colours, logo, tone of voice, values, message – into a meaningful whole.
We can differentiate two main parts of Brand guidelines:
- Brand Identity: personality, mission, core values, tone of voice, ideal customer persona profile(s)
- Brand Assets: logo, brand colour palette, typography, patterns, illustrations, photography
By defining Brand Guidelines for your travel or hospitality business, you are setting lasting rules and standards on how to use brand’s assets and visuals so you can present and build a brand identity that your customers will recognise and identify with.
Why are they important?
Brand Guidelines are not a nice-to-have, fancy document that you look at once and then store away safely. They are essential if you want to build a strong and trustworthy brand – especially if other people will be responsible for creating content and communicating with your audience.
Keep reading to learn the main reasons why you should invest time into creating solid brand guidelines for your hospitality business:
To build a strong brand identity, you have to have long-term consistency. If you don’t have a precise set of guidelines, it’s easy to start veering off track.
The side-effects of that are not just an inconsistent look and feel. By having inconsistent communication with your audience, you are very likely to confuse them and break the connection.
By creating guidelines, you define a set of rules on how to communicate your brand in different situations.
When you have that, you know exactly how to show up in front of your audience, communicate your message, and present your offer.
Brand Guidelines are here to ensure you are constantly staying consistent across all channels and touchpoints – both online and offline.
By having a consistent presence, you are building brand recognition, which then leads to strong brand identity.
What I mean by this is that your audience will recognise you before they even read your brand name.
Take Starbucks for example. Just seeing the green mermaid is enough to know what brand it is, you don’t need to read anything.
Or Virgin Group – just their famous sharp V – or bright red uniform – is enough for people to identify the brand.
Apple is the classic example – you know you’re watching an Apple ad just from the details, such as how the type appears, and the style of the messaging. This is all because of detailed brand discipline. You can see a great example of how strict brand guidelines Apple uses for its affiliate program here.
Your audience can learn about your brand from different channels.
They can find your website, follow you on social media, read an article about your business in a travel/hospitality magazine, receive your brochure or other print material, and so on.
No matter where they first hear about you, they will check your brand out on other channels as well.
To effectively present your brand to your audience and leave a good first impression, you need to have a cohesive brand presence.
A cohesive presence not only boosts brand recognition, but also helps you to build trust. It gives the impression of your brand as professional and authoritative.
A cohesive presence also means the message you are sending to your audience on multiple platforms is aligned and synchronised, which increases its effectiveness.
At the same time, it is emphasising the authenticity of your brand, which will differentiate you from your competitors.
To achieve a cohesive presence on all touchpoints, you need to have brand guidelines in place. By following the guidelines whenever you are creating content assets, you are ensuring they all have the same look and feel, and all feel part of the same world.
Finally, brand guidelines will avoid confusion not only for your audience, but for your employees as well.
It’s normal to expect that, as your business grows, your team will grow too. It’s likely you will know your brand guidelines by heart, but you can’t expect for your team members to know them as well, especially new ones.
We are all different, and if there are no certain rules or standards, we will perceive a brand in our own way.
At the same time, explaining to each new team member your brand, its identity, mission, values can be a time-consuming task, and you still won’t be certain they will understand you completely.
If each new team member starts adding some elements to the brand on their own, you will be left with a lot of clutter.
But when you have thorough brand guidelines, there is no room for any confusion or improvisations.
When each team member is provided with the guidelines they have to follow strictly, not only you are saving a lot of time explaining what your brand stands for, but you can also be assured that your brand won’t be altered.
Have a question about Branding?
We’d love to hear from you! Whether you need help to set up your brand for success, create brand guidelines for your hospitality business, improve your current branding or just learn more about it, we are here for you. Contact us at any time or even better, schedule a free 30-minute discovery call and let’s take your brand to the next level!
Stay safe and stay healthy,
Until next time,