Contemplating a hotel rebrand in 2022

Based on the current narrative amongst scientific pundits, it’s looking like this summer will finally see us pulling of the pandemic with a steady, and hopefully lasting, recovery taking effect. That said, travel behaviors have been irreversibly shifted and thus it’s the time to think about rebranding and how to adapt your business for the decade ahead.

The pandemic put life on pause. We looked inward; we reflected on what’s actually of value. Many of us realized that life is short, and anything can happen at any time that will throw a wrench in it all.

Without getting too existential, what we see on the horizon for the post-pandemic is a new traveler mindset around experiences, personal transformation and maximizing one’s time while abroad. Because, as 2020 proved, it may just be your last trip for a while, so make the most of it.

A good term to serve as a rallying cry for this movement is ‘purposeful travel’ and you had better start thinking about how your brand can fit into the picture.

Compounding this are a series of problems, namely the labor crunch that prevents many currently lean teams from executing on new services to enact a more experiential guest journey. Then there’s all the bills that are coming due soon from loan forbearance promises, which may prevent your hotel from assigning a proper capex budget towards new amenities or upgrades that will innovate the brand in this direction. Thirdly, our marketing campaigns have mostly been suppressed during this multi-year ordeal, meaning that guests aren’t properly informed on a brand’s distinctive qualities.

Basically, it’s the Wild West and it will take a very intelligent team to find a way to deepen a hotel’s ability to serve the purposeful travel funnel without breaking the bank. What we would stress, though, is that in this vacuum of travel sector advertising, there are a myriad opportunities for early entrants to reengage guests in a meaningful way. Then for capex improvements, consider spacing it out as part of a continuous roadmap where filling this rebranded sense of purpose can have widespread applicability in wellness, onsite activities, partnering with attractions, F&B, all manner of technological integrations or anything else that will bestow guests with unique experiences.

Overall, the pandemic has been a ‘great reset’ on so many levels. We’re weathering the storm, but once the sunny skies have confidently reemerged, a rebrand will become all the more needed to propel the underlying asset’s value and command higher rates for the next few years.

For this, it would definitely help to conduct a feasibility study to see how your core demographics have changed as well as how you can better appeal to the evolving group and corporate segments. Rest assured, now is the time to start thinking about a rebrand as travel will inevitably come back and having a vision will ensure you meet the market with a strong product.