Sophie Welch, Journey’s hotel marketing & PR director, talks about the benefits of creating a sub-brand for your hotel restaurant in order to develop a unique identity to appeal to a wider audience and boost your bottom line.
Creating a guest experience is a key component in the hospitality industry and, for hotels, that doesn’t mean they are limited to simply offering an overnight stay with a couple of bolt-on extras.
By sub-branding your restaurant, it shows your audience that you are proud of your product, and enables you to target that audience accordingly.
Subtitling your story
By creating a brand, you are creating a set of promises for your audience, telling them what they should and, also, what they should not expect. A brand is also a way of telling the story of a business, creating engagement and buy in from your audience.
By extension, to create a sub-brand your business requires a strong overarching brand, which has developed loyalty amongst your customers. The sub-brands utilise the equity of the core brand, resulting in customers, guests and visitors buying into the brand first and foremost, and the restaurant or spa second.
A case of separate identity
However, relying on an overarching brand does not mean your restaurant can’t create its own separate identity. While for many hotels, their brand identity may well be what initially leads people into their restaurant, think about what else your restaurant offers. If you have a well-known head chef, your sub-brand would rely as much on their identity as the identity of your hotel.
For many hotels, it is important to create a separate identity for their restaurant in order to target one of their key audiences – non-residents. By creating that identity, you leave behind the image of it simply being a hotel facility, and develop its existence as an offering in its own right. Devising a separate identity elevates the experience, creating a desirable destination and a specific focus on your restaurant.
It’s not the journey, it’s the destination
To create that desirable destination, it’s important to also create an experience – a freedom that sub-branding allows you. For example, if your hotel has more than one restaurant, perhaps an a la carte and a brasserie, sub-branding gives you the opportunity to position your offer and, therefore, target the right audience.
Offering a more low-key experience, your brasserie may be the perfect option for families, or corporate and business travellers who are perhaps dining alone and would rather avoid the formalities of a 2 AA rosette restaurant.
Similarly, for those people that appreciate good food, it is important to position your fine dining restaurant appropriately so its values resonate with that audience.
Hotels situated in city centres often find that a large proportion of their target audience may live within several miles of the venue, so, approaching them with accommodation offers is unrealistic. Why would someone pay to stay at your hotel when it would be cheaper to pay for a taxi home at the end of a night?
However, the silver lining is that your restaurant may be exactly the type of place they would travel into town to visit and spend their money in.
Making the most of what you’ve got
Sub-branding is all about highlighting exactly what your hotel can offer. It is not designed to step on the toes of your hotel as a hotel, but simply run contentedly alongside it and complement your accommodation offer.
If you have gone to the trouble of developing services such as a bar, restaurant or spa, it follows that you should want to make them viable and profitable areas of your business. So to do that, you need to make each revenue stream appealing. Taking each part of your business and making it sing could work wonders and open up your business to whole new audiences.